World No.1 Rory McIlroy missed the cut in Abu Dhabi just days after signing huge deal with Nike.

Story highlights

Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods both fail to make the cut

World No.1 McIlroy finishes on six-over in season-opener

Woods cashes out after being hit with two-shot penalty

England's Justin Rose leads by one-shot on eight-under

Just days after signing a bumper multi-year deal with Nike, Rory McIlroy made an embarrassing early exit in Abu Dhabi along with stablemate Tiger Woods.

The world’s top two golfers were supposed to usher in a new era of dominance within the sport for Nike, but neither man made the cut on a disappointing day.

The world No.1 finished on six-over, while Woods missed out after being hit with a two-stroke penalty for rules of infringement.

Justin Rose finished top of the leaderboard on eight-under following a round of 69, but it was McIlroy and Woods who caught the headlines.

Nike unveils Rory McIlroy: Tiger’s heir apparent

McIlroy, playing with his new Nike clubs for the first time, had not missed a cut since the U.S. Open in San Francisco last June.

But after starting the day well down the field following an opening round of 75, the Northern Irishman failed to battle back, despite reverting to his old putter.

“I just felt like the greens that I’ve been practising on are a lot faster than these,” he told reporters.

“The Nike putter is great on that, but getting to here it’s just a weight issue more than anything else.

“I can feel the head of the one I used today a little bit better, but the change was to no avail.

“I’ve got a few weeks off now to work at it and try and get my game in decent shape for the US.”

McIlroy had vowed to improve on his opening round and hit three straight pars, but three bogeys in the next four holes left him floundering on six-over.

Birdies at eight and nine allowed some respite, but bogeys on the 10th and 14th ended his chances of making the cut at the course where he finished second last year.

McIlroy teams up with Tiger at Nike

He said: “I knew it was going to be a tough week with everything going on, but I was just looking forward to getting to the golf course and getting back to what I do and what I’m comfortable with.

“It just didn’t work out like that. I hit the ball really well last week in practice in Dubai and just sort of gradually got worse this week for some reason.

Woods eyes long rivalry with McIlroy

“But I’m going to spend the weekend here and practise and work at it with Michael (coach Michael Bannon) a little bit.

“It’s very disappointing. You really want to get off to a nice start at the start of the season, but I’ve got to realise that it is only the start of the season.

“As long as I feel like my game is in good shape heading into Augusta (the US Masters on April 11-14) that’s all I’m worried about.”

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Woods fared little better after he was hit with a two-stroke penalty for rules of infringement in the sand at the fifth hole.

And after finishing one one-over for the day, Woods said he just fell short following a poor start.

“It’s tough because I didn’t get off to a very good start today and I fought and got it back,” he told reporters.

“I was right there and I felt that if I had close to even par, I had a chance going into the weekend, being only eight back. Evidently it wasn’t enough.”

Meanwhile, world number five Rose, will take a one-shot lead into the third round after moving clear of Welshman Jamie Donaldson, Denmark’s Thorbjorn Olesen and Spain’s Gonzalo Fernandez-Castro.

“I felt like my game definitely sharpened up,” Rose said. “When you have perfect distance control you know you are swinging it well.”