Tiger Woods is in 10th place following the opening round at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic. Fresh off one of the worst rounds in his professional career, Tiger continues to struggles with driver issues. Last week at Torrey Pines, he did not even make the final cut. Following the disappointing finish at Torrey Pines, he headed straight for the driving range.
Making only seven of the fourteen fairways in Dubai, Tiger Woods is currently five off the leader, Rory McIlroy. The leader ended the day at nine under par, with a two-stroke advantage. McIlroy’s score of 63 was his best in three years as he hit 14 of the 18 fairways. Woods is a two-time champion at the Emirates Golf Club in Dubai and hopes this weeks performance can get his game back in focus for 2014. Though Tiger had no Bogey’s in the opening round, his inability to hit the fairways consistently left him struggling. His driver issues seem to be following him as he admits he is reverting back to his old habits.
Though Woods hit his driver eight times, he only hit the fairway twice. Despite the current number one’s struggle with his driver and finding the fairway, his game seemed to be much smoother then just a week prior. Tiger found a smoother rhythm on the putting greens and made some strong iron shots helping him end the day with five Birdies.
Still early in the Dubai Classic Woods will once again be paired up with leader Rory McIlroy for the second round on Friday. McIlroy, currently ranked sixth, won his first professional tournament five years ago at the Dubai Classic. Since that win McIlroy has not finished out of the top ten at this venue.
Tigers is known for his ability to turn the score around. The improvement from last week leaves him heading in the right direction. Still working to improve his drive this week, last week at Torrey Pines, he said ” “I still need maybe just a little more work on being able to cut it.” That still seemed to be the case at Thursday’s opening round at Dubai. Tiger will need to keep improving if he hopes to make the cut this week. His mastery of the need to make shots can only sustain his game for so long.
Knowing he is still struggling with his driver, Woods will need to find the cut shot he is looking for to keep up with the leaders at Dubai. At the World Challenge last month Tiger introduced a new driver to his game, the Covert 2.0. The Covert 2.0 features a heavier shaft then he had been using. Tiger also said last week of the club, “I’m able to draw this driver so much better, which is nice.” Like any new equipment there is an experimental stage of trial and error. If Tiger Woods can find the right combination he is looking for the number one ranked player could find himself with his third win at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic.
By Shannon Malone