McIlroy and Woods bite the dust
Last updated: 19th January 2013
You won't see it very often, but the world number one and world number two both missed the cut at the Abu Dhabi Championship on Friday.
Just days after announcing a multi-million pound deal with Nike, top-ranked Rory McIlroy slumped to a six-over-par in the Middle East, while Tiger Woods, McIlroy's Nike stablemate, received a two-shot penalty after his round to seal his own fate.
Having shot an opening round 75, McIlroy was always going to be up against it, and things didn't get much easier during the early stages of Friday's second round as he added bogeys on four, five and seven.
There appeared to be light at the end of the tunnel as he picked up back-to-back birdies at eight and nine, but it was not to be as he dropped more shots at 10 and 14 to finish with his second consecutive three-over 75.
McIlroy struggled on the greens in particular, and not even a switch to an old putter could help him on Friday.
"I just felt the greens I have been practising on were much faster. It was just a weight issue," he said before being asked if his new equipment company were fine about him not using one of their putters.
"I'm not here to talk about my (Nike) contract. I'm here to talk about my golf," he replied.
"I've got four weeks to work on it. I knew it was going to be a tough week (his deal was unveiled on Monday). I hit the ball really well in Dubai last week, but it just got worse for some reason.
"I'm very disappointed. You never want to get off to a poor start, but I've got to realise it's only the start of the season."
Woods had an equally torrid time after four bogeys in his first five holes, but he moved back to level-par after birdies at the 14th, 15th and 16th to find himself inside the cut mark.
However, the 14-time major champion was given a two-shot penalty after his round for an incident in the rough at the fifth and that took him from one over to three over.
Woods told Sky Sports: "On five, I called Martin (Kaymer, playing partner) over to verify the ball was embedded. We both agreed, but evidently it was in sand and Andy (European Tour official) ruled I broke an infraction, which is a two-shot penalty. Andy feels the way he feels about it and I broke the rules.
"Andy said the ball was not embedded because it was sandy. Martin and I thought it was embedded, but it obviously wasn't.
"It is tough. I did not get off to a good start but I fought and got it back and felt I had a chance going into the weekend."
Justin Rose is the leader in Abu Dhabi after adding a 69 to his opening 67 to take his total to eight under par.
A look at some of the impressive golf courses on offer in the south of Wales. Go to Gallery
Ian Botham, Allan Lamb, Mark Boucher and company in action at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship. Go to Gallery
Neville Leck Blog
"The embrace a gleeful Sergio Garcia gave his German caddy after his first victory in 2013 at the Thailand Open on S..."
The famous Blue Monster at Trump National Doral, Miami, has undergone a significant transformation, courtesy of famed course architect Gil Hanse.
Next week's European Tour stop, Golf du Palais Royal, lies within the well-guarded walls of Morocco's Royal Palace.
Looking For The Perfect Pitch? Visit The Swing Doctor!