Round 1 of Abu Dhabi goes to Rory McIlroy

Shane Bacon
January 26, 2012

There is an old saying in golf that simply goes, "You can't win a golf tournament on the first day, but you sure can lose it," and yes, such a thing is simply the truth. But still, what do you want from a threesome at an early tournament in the season that includes the world No. 1, the former world No. 1, and the future world No. 1?

Yes, the Abu Dhabi Championship had a feature group on Thursday that included Luke Donald, Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy, a group you don't see much outside of majors these days, and for most of the day, it lived up to the hype.

The final tally? McIlroy finished with a 5-under 67, Tiger with a 70 and Donald with 71.

But the interesting thing was just how the group separated. For most of the day, it seemed they'd all be right around each other when the final putt dropped, but as the holes lessened, two interesting things happened.

The first was Rory's continued ability to answer Tiger's golf shots. No, this isn't Augusta National, but it is fun to see a youngster see the guy that used to bring golfers to their knees and basically answer him shot for shot, but better. It happened on their 11th hole. It happened on the tee on their 16th hole of the day, the par-3 7th, and it happened a hole later, when McIlroy chipped in for birdie being completely out of position on the hole only to see Tiger muff a wedge shot and settle for par while sitting in position A from the fairway.

[Related: Tiger Woods to get amazing payday for playing]

The other interesting thing was just how uncomfortable it seemed Donald was all day. Yes, Luke is the number one golfer in the world, and nobody can take that away from him, but if any expert was going to rank the talent out of those three playing together, Luke would most definitely be third, and he seemed to play like that towards the end of his round.

Still, how fun is it to have these three in the same group for two straight days? Different games, different swings, but a lot of great stuff all day at a tournament we'd otherwise forget.

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