Call it a box office flop -- so far.
After all the hype, the photo ops with camels and the extraordinary amount of oil money that Abu Dhabi sheiks have spent to lure Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy to the Middle East, the verdict is clear cut: The two leading men were awful in their starring roles.
The sheiks could have been forgiven for wondering what they had invested in after the way Woods and McIlroy played Thursday in the first round.
Woods looked uncomfortable on center stage while McIlroy suffered from stage fright. It was left to the supporting actor Martin Kaymer to shine, but even he forgot his lines at the end.
If Abu Dhabi was meant to be a statement of intent from McIlroy, No. 1 in the Official World Golf Ranking, and No. 2 Woods on the upcoming season, then they didn't have much to say. McIlroy limped in with a 3-over-par 75, eight shots behind leaders Jamie Donaldson and Justin Rose. Woods posted an uninspiring level-par 72. Kaymer scored 71.
This was supposed to be...