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
September 21, 2013 -- Updated 1500 GMT (2300 HKT)
The PGA Tour can make instant millionaires at virtually every one of its tournaments -- but it was not always that way, just ask Billy Casper.
September 12, 2013 -- Updated 1204 GMT (2004 HKT)
If it were a heavyweight boxing contest it'd be ruled a mismatch -- the journeyman's champion up against one of golf's greatest legends.
September 6, 2013 -- Updated 1049 GMT (1849 HKT)
U.S. debt may appear to be spiraling out of control, but one sporting industry is making a major contribution to the country's economic health.
September 12, 2013 -- Updated 1803 GMT (0203 HKT)
Andriy Shevchenko was one of the finest football players of his generation. He retired last year but is now trying the professional golf circuit.
August 28, 2013 -- Updated 1038 GMT (1838 HKT)
After becoming the youngest golfer to win five major championships, Yani Tseng has slipped down the rankings. Can she come back?
Tiger Woods' wait for a 15th major title will stretch into a sixth year, and CNN's Patrick Snell says the world No. 1 may have lost his self-belief.
August 12, 2013 -- Updated 1202 GMT (2002 HKT)
He inspired the cult of "Dufnering" but after winning his maiden major, Jason Dufner has forced the world to take his golf seriously.
August 12, 2013 -- Updated 1311 GMT (2111 HKT)
After a nightmare final round at the PGA Championship, former world No. 1 Lee Westwood received a torrent of abuse on Twitter.
August 8, 2013 -- Updated 1429 GMT (2229 HKT)
CNN's Alex Thomas speaks with U.S. Open Champion Justin Rose, the first Englishman to claim the title since 1970.
August 8, 2013 -- Updated 1213 GMT (2013 HKT)
Living Golf goes behind the scenes at the biggest tournament in women's golf.
August 8, 2013 -- Updated 1218 GMT (2018 HKT)
Amanda Davies gets a crash course in golf from actor Samuel L. Jackson, who always makes time for his favorite sport.
June 27, 2013 -- Updated 1313 GMT (2113 HKT)
So Yeon Ryu was seven years old when she gave her first violin recital. At the age of 12 she had to make a tough decision.
June 21, 2013 -- Updated 2026 GMT (0426 HKT)
As Justin Rose emerged onto the 18th fairway, he knew it was his moment to seize the U.S. Open crown.
June 14, 2013 -- Updated 1528 GMT (2328 HKT)
Two of the most recognizable faces on the planet were casually shooting the breeze as they swept down the fairway in Florida.
June 13, 2013 -- Updated 1517 GMT (2317 HKT)
As well as the bad weather that has already disrupted play, the world's top golfers will face a rare challenge at this week's U.S. Open at Merion.
June 3, 2013 -- Updated 1053 GMT (1853 HKT)
Forget hitting the greens -- it's the fairway to heaven which is on the minds of some of the world's top golfers.
Today's five most popular stories