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.
Today's five most popular stories
Part of complete coverage on
December 18, 2014 -- Updated 1547 GMT (2347 HKT)
If golf has a reputation for being a bit stuffy, then the Bryan brothers and their trick shots are a much-needed blast of fresh air.
December 11, 2014 -- Updated 1318 GMT (2118 HKT)
Not many people make the leap from teenage market trader to golf pro and fashion entrepreneur, but that's just what Ian Poulter has done.
November 12, 2014 -- Updated 1129 GMT (1929 HKT)
"Sleep, as far as mental and physical recovery goes, has never been more important ..." says sport sleep coach Nick Littlehales.
November 4, 2014 -- Updated 1024 GMT (1824 HKT)
Joe Miller is devouring his second steak of the day and the clock has barely nudged 2pm. You need lots of fuel to smash a drive 474 yards.
October 13, 2014 -- Updated 1449 GMT (2249 HKT)
There have been many dark days for Oliver Wilson, but golf's unluckiest loser is finally riding an upward swing of his career roller coaster.
October 7, 2014 -- Updated 1648 GMT (0048 HKT)
They dress like it's the 1930s and they swing antique equipment that eschews cutting-edge technology -- this is hickory golf.
September 15, 2014 -- Updated 1609 GMT (0009 HKT)
CNN's Living Golf focuses on women's golf, charting the growth of the sport from royal pastime to multi-million dollar machine.
October 1, 2014 -- Updated 0846 GMT (1646 HKT)
"I don't know how to paint happy," says golf's poster girl Michelle Wie. "I think it releases a lot of the darker feelings in me."
September 29, 2014 -- Updated 1213 GMT (2013 HKT)
If you're a U.S. golf fan, or Tom Watson, look away now.
September 25, 2014 -- Updated 2318 GMT (0718 HKT)
A ban on uploading social media pictures from the course at Gleneagles was dropped for the Ryder Cup.
September 24, 2014 -- Updated 1052 GMT (1852 HKT)
A spot of shopping, the odd spa day and some serious flag waving. Welcome to the life of a Ryder Cup WAG.
September 23, 2014 -- Updated 1301 GMT (2101 HKT)
Tom Watson has learned plenty in the 21 years since he was last U.S. Ryder Cup captain, but social media is proving to be problematic.
September 22, 2014 -- Updated 1243 GMT (2043 HKT)
Patriotism will reach fever pitch when the USA and Europe collide in golf's Ryder Cup ... and it looks like Rickie Fowler has let it go to his head.
September 22, 2014 -- Updated 1342 GMT (2142 HKT)
Pressure is inescapable in the cauldron of Ryder Cup competition -- pressure and ping pong.
September 23, 2014 -- Updated 1150 GMT (1950 HKT)
Millions of golf fans were watching on television with great anticipation. All Martin Kaymer could think about was getting his phone out.