McIlroy aims for recovery in Abu Dhabi
January 17, 2013 -- Updated 2059 GMT (0459 HKT)
Rory McIlroy is hoping for a better second round in Abu Dhabi following a difficult start.
- Rory McIlroy endured a difficult first day in Abu Dhabi following round of three-over-par
- World No.1 used his Nike clubs for first time since signing bumper pay deal
- Tiger Woods finishes level for the day after carding a 72
- Justin Rose and Jamie Donaldson lead the way on five-under after first round
(CNN) -- Rory McIlroy says he is desperate to get back on track in Abu Dhabi after a disappointing first round of the new season.
Fresh from signing his new bumper multi-year deal with Nike, McIlroy struggled to adapt to his new clubs and hit two double bogeys on his way to a three-over-par 75.
Playing alongside stablemate Tiger Woods, who finished level for the day, McIlroy failed to impress on his return to the course where he came second behind Robert Rock last year.
Nike unveils Rory McIlroy: Tiger's heir apparent
Golfer Rory McIlroy signs with Nike
2012: A game changer for McIlroy?
Exclusive: Tiger and Rory's 'bromance'
But the World No.1 says he will improve when he steps out for his second round Friday.
"Yeah, a bit of rust for sure," he told reporters, after being asked why he started so poorly.
"Not playing any competitive golf for eight weeks. I guess when you're going out with new stuff, you're always going to be a little bit anxious about hitting it close like you've done on the range and today that wasn't quite the case. Hopefully I can do that tomorrow.
"I was really happy with the way the ball is in the wind. I was really happy with the irons and the wedge play.
"I wasn't very comfortable off the tee, but just because I didn't feel like I was swinging it that well."
How player power tipped Ryder Cup captaincy
McIlroy's European Ryder Cup teammate Justin Rose leads the way on five-under-par alongside Irish Open champion Jamie Donaldson.
Rose shot a bogey-free round of 67 but is expecting both Woods and McIlroy to threaten as the competition progresses.
"It's the first round of the year. There are a lot of factors involved, certainly a lot of factors for Rory involved this week," he said.
Tiger-Rory 'bromance': Can sports rivals really be friends?
"That's not his normal preparation with what he has had to obviously encounter the last couple of weeks, I'm sure.
"Tiger shot level and that's well within the golf tournament. So for me there's really no surprises there."
Defending champion Rock finished on 76, while Ernie Els, playing alongside Rock and Rose, had a 71, the same as Martin Kaymer.
Part of complete coverage on
April 16, 2013 -- Updated 1615 GMT (0015 HKT)
Masters champion Adam Scott not only has to contend with national hero status at home but also the role of golf's latest sex symbol.
April 12, 2013 -- Updated 1118 GMT (1918 HKT)
Discover why golf's old school establishment fears a new breed of players creating new popularity with their online antics.
April 11, 2013 -- Updated 1854 GMT (0254 HKT)
Following the web's reaction to Adam Scott's dramtic triumph at the 2013 Masters.
April 12, 2013 -- Updated 1408 GMT (2208 HKT)
It's not just golf that makes Augusta so special -- there's also James Brown, cheese pimiento sandwiches, turkeys and ghosts.
March 26, 2013 -- Updated 1300 GMT (2100 HKT)
As a swimmer, his countless hours of training paid off handsomely. As a golfer, Michael Phelps is wondering what he got himself into.
April 1, 2013 -- Updated 1306 GMT (2106 HKT)
American D.A. Points celebrates his win at the Houston Open by joining in the "Dufnering" craze that has gripped golf recently.
March 7, 2013 -- Updated 1340 GMT (2140 HKT)
Ernie Els' coach Claude Harmon and former world No.1 Martin Kaymer tell Living Golf that anchored putting is dividing the sport.
March 7, 2013 -- Updated 1349 GMT (2149 HKT)
Matteo Manassero, the youngest player to qualify for the Masters, reflects on his career and the boy who will break one of his records.
March 7, 2013 -- Updated 1334 GMT (2134 HKT)
Living Golf meets Thorbjorn Olesen as the rising star of European golf prepares for the most important tournaments of his career.
March 13, 2013 -- Updated 1925 GMT (0325 HKT)
Martin Kaymer reflects on his performance at the 39th Ryder Cup, when he sunk the winning putt against the United States.
February 7, 2013 -- Updated 1501 GMT (2301 HKT)
CNN's Shane O'Donoghue asks how much Rory McIlroy's new multimillion-dollar sponsorship deal is really worth.
February 7, 2013 -- Updated 1748 GMT (0148 HKT)
Living Golf meets Paul McGinley, who talks about becoming Europe's new Ryder Cup captain.
February 18, 2013 -- Updated 1149 GMT (1949 HKT)
Paul McGinley's former captain, Sam Torrance, shares some advice for the pro golfer turned new Ryder Cup captain.
February 7, 2013 -- Updated 1516 GMT (2316 HKT)
Don Riddell explores whether Tuscany can follow up on Italy's successes on the European Tour and develop golf tourism.
February 7, 2013 -- Updated 1512 GMT (2312 HKT)
2010 PGA Champion Martin Kaymer shares his favorite shots with CNN's Shane O'Donoghue.
February 5, 2013 -- Updated 1840 GMT (0240 HKT)
Two men with lofty ambitions in a midwestern town of the United States have finally realized their dream after months of endeavor.
January 3, 2013 -- Updated 1213 GMT (2013 HKT)
Living Golf's Shane O'Donoghue explores the changing role of black players in South African golf.
January 3, 2013 -- Updated 1307 GMT (2107 HKT)
Shane O'Donoghue meets South Africa's Branden Grace, the outstanding breakout player from the 2012 European season.
January 3, 2013 -- Updated 1214 GMT (2014 HKT)
Shane O'Donoghue meets Dr. Sherylle Calder, the woman who taught reigning British Open champion Ernie Els how to putt again.
December 22, 2012 -- Updated 1439 GMT (2239 HKT)
It's crazy golf on an insane scale -- a putting green swimming in a giant bowl of noodles and the Great Wall of China for a hazard.
Today's five most popular stories