Tiger Woods played poorly in the first round of the 2017 Omega Dubai Desert Classic on Thursday, shooting a birdie-free, 5-over 77 that left him tied for 121st place.
Starting on No. 10 at Emirates Golf Club, Woods snap-hooked his drive some 70 yards left of the fairway, going bunker-to-bunker with his second and third shots before two-putting after his fourth shot to bogey the opening hole -- one of just two times in eight appearances in the event that he's bogeyed the hole.
It didn't get better from there, with Woods coming up a half-club short of the hole location at the par-3 11th, making par with a well-judged two-putt. He bogeyed the 12th hole to drop to 2 over, then made a string of pars before dropping a third shot at the par-5 18th hole.
Swinging to the front side, Woods made seven pars with back-to-back bogeys on Nos. 5 and 6, leading to the 5-over total that only has him ahead of seven players on the leaderboard.
The 14-time major winner was pleased with his final two tee shots in particular, and he was left wondering afterward what went right -- not wrong -- so he could remember it for Friday.
"The last two drives I hit off of eight and nine today, there's something different," he said. "I need to figure out what the hell I did that was different and then replicate it for hopefully another 54 more holes."
Woods appeared uncomfortable throughout the round, sticking out his upper stomach in an effort to relieve some kind of discomfort on his thrice-operated back. Early in the round, Woods seemed to struggle to loosen his body, displaying a noticeable gimp at times as he struggled to find comfort. Over the course of the day, Woods' body appeared to respond modestly to the Dubai weather and getting in the flow of a round.
Overall, Woods' driving game was better than his opening 76 at Torrey Pines' South Course in the Farmers Insurance Open. He found 10 of 14 fairways. Unlike his two-day stint at Torrey Pines, however, Woods struggled to make putts of significant distance, appearing to top his first putt on the 12th hole.
"I left probably about 16 putts short. I just couldn't get the speed of these things and, consequently, it added up to a pretty high number," he said.
"I just could not hit the putts hard enough. I left every putt short. What I thought was downgrain, downwind, would be quick downhill and I still came up short. Into the wind, uphill putts into the grain, I put a little more hinge on it going back to try to get a little more hit into it and it still didn't work. So I'll be trying to figure something out."
Woods' 77 leaves him 12 shots behind leader Sergio Garcia, whose 7-under 65 has him one clear of two players at the suspension of play.
Weather conditions are expected to worsen for Friday, with high winds likely to blow through Emirates Golf Club just as Woods prepares to tee off at 12:30 p.m. local time.