IF you were looking forward to watching the world’s top two Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods in the final two rounds of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship this weekend, then forget it.
Both have already crashed out, Woods all because of a two-shot penalty imposed after he finished on Friday.
In a miserable start to his season, world number one McIlroy slumped to back-to-back 75s in his first tournament since signing a mega-million equipment deal with Nike. He ended up only joint 98th in a field of 126.
The 23-year-old even abandoned one of their putters to go back to an old faithful for the second round, but the result was the same
McIlroy’s next event is the Accenture Match Play in Arizona starting February 20.
Birdies at the eighth and ninth, where he chipped-in after nearly going in the water off the tee, hinted at a possible fightback, but he bogeyed the long 10th and 14th.
On his decision to change putters he commented: “I just felt like the greens that I’ve been practising on are a lot faster than these.
“The Nike putter is great on that, but getting to here it’s just a weight issue more than anything else.
“I can feel the head of the one I used today a little bit better, but the change was to no avail.
“I’ve got a few weeks off now to work at it and try and get my game in decent shape for the US.
“I knew it was going to be a tough week with everything going on, but I was just looking forward to getting to the golf course and getting back to what I do and what I’m comfortable with.
“It just didn’t work out like that. I hit the ball really well last week in practice in Dubai and just sort of gradually got worse this week for some reason.
“But I’m going to spend the weekend here and practise and work at it with Michael (coach Michael Bannon) a little bit.
“It’s very disappointing. You really want to get off to a nice start at the start of the season, but I’ve got to realise that it is only the start of the season. As long as I feel like my game is in good shape heading into Augusta (the US Masters on April 11-14) that’s all I’m worried about.”