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 18, 2014 -- Updated 1754 GMT (0154 HKT)
When someone tells you to go jump in a lake, sometimes it's best to take their advice. "I've never been so scared," says golfer Pablo Larrazabal.
Bubba Watson is the Masters king, but can he win a major away from Augusta? Living Golf's Shane O'Donoghue has the lowdown.
April 15, 2014 -- Updated 1412 GMT (2212 HKT)
Arnold Palmer won his first major at Augusta, played there with the U.S. President and made a record 50 consecutive Masters appearances.
April 10, 2014 -- Updated 1202 GMT (2002 HKT)
He is remembered for designing one of the world's most famous golf courses, but the man behind Augusta died pleading to be paid.
April 9, 2014 -- Updated 1426 GMT (2226 HKT)
Will Phil Mickelson win a fourth green jacket? Can Europe end its long Masters wait? Or will Adam Scott emulate the absent Tiger Woods?
April 10, 2014 -- Updated 1004 GMT (1804 HKT)
Take a trip around Augusta. From Eisenhower's toppled tree to the fiendishly-difficult Amen Corner, the Masters' home venue has it all.
April 8, 2014 -- Updated 1204 GMT (2004 HKT)
He's been mistaken for Tiger Woods' ball-boy, but that won't be the case when amateur star Matt Fitzpatrick tees off at the Masters.
April 4, 2014 -- Updated 1228 GMT (2028 HKT)
2012 Masters Champion Bubba Watson shows us how to hit the long ball.
April 3, 2014 -- Updated 1827 GMT (0227 HKT)
CNN's Shane O'Donoghue meets Billy Payne -- the chairman of Augusta National Golf Club.
April 3, 2014 -- Updated 1739 GMT (0139 HKT)
Shane O'Donoghue meets Ben Crenshaw who won his first of two Masters thirty years ago this month.
March 27, 2014 -- Updated 1300 GMT (2100 HKT)
They carry a bag for a living but these men can bring home six-figure incomes. Welcome to the world of a caddy.
CNN's Alex Thomas welcomes golf opening itself up to women, but questions the motives behind the decision.
Today's five most popular stories