Golf

Woods disappoints in Dubai

Tiger Woods felt the pain, figuratively at least, after the former world No. 1 failed to make a single birdie in recording a miserable five-over 77 on the opening day of the Dubai Desert Classic yesterday.

The creaking American, now ranked 666th after his long injury layoff, trailed Spain's early leader Sergio Garcia by 12 shots.

There were only three players below Woods on the leaderboard among the morning starters.

"I was just trying to hit shots and I wasn't doing a very good job," said Woods.

"At the end, I finally hit some good ones, but the damage had already been done.

"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."

Appearing for the eighth time in Dubai, where he has won twice with a 92-under record for the 28 rounds played there since 2001, the 41-year-old Woods looked out of sorts as he continued his comeback at the European Tour event.

The numbers from the opening round were not pretty, two shots higher than his previous worst-ever at the Emirates Golf Club, and nor was his swing or his putting stroke.

The 14-time Major winner had also looked rusty last week when he played his first full-field US PGA Tour event in 17 months after being sidelined by back pain and spine surgery, and missed the cut at the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines.

While Woods struggled, Garcia fired a first-round 65 to set the early target and open up a one-shot clubhouse lead over Chile's Felipe Aguilar and South African George Coetzee.

"It was a nice way to start, a good solid round," Garcia said. - REUTERS

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