Sergio GARCIA predicted more players would suffer injuries in the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship after labelling the rough “dangerous” yesterday.
Garcia suffered a shoulder injury in the pre-tournament pro-am and exacerbated the problem hitting from the thick rough, the Spaniard needing treatment from a European Tour physio for three holes.
The 34-year-old will receive further treatment before deciding whether to continue in the event after struggling to an opening 76 that left him nine shots off the lead shared by England’s Matthew Baldwin, France’s Romain Wattel and Spain’s Rafael Cabrera-Bello.
Ryder Cup captain Paul McGinley celebrated the anniversary of his appointment by carding a fine 68 to finish one shot off the pace, while Rory McIlroy returned a flawless 70 and Open champion Phil Mickelson shot an uncharacteristic 73 with 17 straight pars and one bogey.
“The problem is they have cut it from green to tee and the ball nestles down,” he said. “Every single ball nestles down and you can’t hit it 100 yards.
“I have tweaked a muscle and hitting from the rough is not helping. Hopefully, I am the only one (who gets hurt), but unfortunately the way the course is set up it could happen to more people.”
Asked if he felt the rough was dangerous, Garcia added: “I would say so.”
Yorkshire’s Simon Dyson, playing his first competitive round since receiving a suspended two-month ban for a rules breach, shot a one-over-par round of 73.
He sits alongside Sheffield’s Danny Willett, with Harrogate’s John Parry three shots further back.