Tiger Woods of the United States reacts after playing a shot during the Dubai Desert Classic golf tournament at the Emirates Golf Club in Dubai on February 2, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / NEZAR BALOUT
Tiger Woods’ struggles on the golf course continued as he slumped to a birdie-free round of five-over par 77 in the opening round of the EPGA Dubai Desert Classic on Thursday.
Woods, 41, was among the morning groups to tee off, and from his first hooked drive on the 10th hole, which led to a bogey, it was a relentless but futile search for the former world number one.
The American world No666 made the turn at three-over par after hitting his third shot into the water on the par-5 18th, and even though he seemed to be hitting the ball much better on his back nine (the front nine of the Majlis course), he missed four birdie chances and made two further bogeys.
“Well, I didn’t hit the ball very well. I left there probably about 16 putts short. I just couldn’t get the speed of these things, and consequently, it added up to a pretty high number,” said 14-times major winner Woods.
There were a couple of shots during the round where he walked gingerly after hitting, but Woods said he wasn’t in any pain.
“No, I wasn’t in pain at all. I was just trying to hit shots and I wasn’t doing a very good job,” he added.
“At the end, I finally hit some good ones but damage had already been done. On top of that, I could have hung in there, I could have shot something near even par if I would have made some putts, but I made nothing.”
Spain’s Sergio Garcia led the tournament at the halfway stage of the opening round with a seven-under par 65 effort, with Chile’s Felipe Aguilar and South African George Coetzee in second place with six-under par 66 each.