Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods both had inauspicious debuts to their 2013 season in the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship.
McIlroy shot 75-75 for a six-over-par total and missed the cut by four shots. He even left the new Nike Method putter in the locker room and went back to his old Titleist Scotty Cameron for Friday’s round.
Woods was assessed a two-shot penalty after his round on Friday for taking an errant drop on his fifth hole. The penalty brought his total to three-over-par 75 and added to his first round 72 brought him to three-over-par for the tournament just one shot outside the cut.
After making bogeys at Nos. 1, 2 and 4, Woods drove his ball wide right into the desert on the fifth hole. The ball was embedded near a bush. Both Woods and playing partner Martin Kaymer agreed that the ball was embedded and Woods took a drop.
Woods finished the round in 73 strokes but the two-shot penalty was added in the scoring tent for his incorrect drop and the 75 moved his two-day total to three-over-par outside the cut line.
Monday evening Nike presented a huge a laser-light show for the assembled media formally announcing McIlroy’s switch to the Nike family and premiered a new television commercial featuring Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods.
McIlroy soared to the top of the golf world in 2012 by winning the money titles on both the European and PGA Tours. He won four titles on the PGA Tour including his second major, the PGA Championship.
McIlroy had two double-bogeys in the first round on Thursday and never seemed comfortable with his swing. On Friday he had three bogeys and two birdies for a one-over par 37 through his first nine holes. He added two more bogeys on the back nine for his second 75 and an aggregate total of six-over-par for the two days missing the cut by four shots.
This was definitely not the sort of start McIlroy or Nike would have preferred for their newest endorsement.
Over the last four years he has finished fifth, third and second twice in Abu Dhabi. His two 75’s this year were the worst scores he has ever posted here.
McIroy and Woods were undoubtedly paid large appearance fees to play in the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship. Both the No. 1 and No. 2 players in the world missing the cut is a huge disappointment for the tournament.
On the bright side McIlroy will have some extra time this weekend to work out the kinks and be ready for his next event.
Woods can jump in his jet and fly back to the U.S. to prepare for his 2013 PGA Tour season debut next week in the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines.