The previous week started with hype…but didn’t quite live up to it. It’s only been a week since Rory McIlroy was introduced as the newest Nike Golf athlete. He and fellow Nike athlete Tiger Woods made their 2013 debuts at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship. It was widely reported that Woods received $3 million, JUST TO SHOW UP AND PLAY. McIlroy’s appearance fee (make no mistake, there was an appearance fee) was not mentioned, but my guess is that he cammanded somewhere between $500,000 and $1,000,000. Let’s estimate that the tournament paid $4 million for the top 2 ranked golfers in the world. What did they get for the investment? Not much.
The pair was grouped with former world number 1, Martin Kaymer. Judging by the performance of these three players, one might assume that it was Kaymer who currently occupies the top ranking as we was THE ONLY ONE TO MAKE THE CUT! McIlroy struggled in his first go-round with his new Nike sticks and even switched back to his old Scotty Cameron putter for the second round as Bob Harig from ESPN.com reported. Through it all, McIlroy managed a miserable six-over-par 150 to miss the cut by 4 shots. McIlroy’s next scheduled tournament is the World Golf Championship-Accenture Match Play Championship (what a mouthful) beginning February 20.
Tiger Woods’ performance was much more adventurous, if not better, than Rory’s. After an even par 72 that saw him hit just 5 fairways and 10 greens in regulation in round 1 Woods seemed to have shot a one-over 73 in round 2. But then the fifth hole happened. Here is Tiger’s explanation of the penalty he received and what he thought (along with Rory’s thoughts on his showing)…
Woods’ next tournament is this week, 12 time zones away from Abu Dhabi, at the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines Golf Club in San Diego. Woods has won the tournament six times and also won the 2008 U.S. Open at Torrey Pines.
In the end, the low Nike Golf athlete was none other than Denmark’s Thorbjorn Olesen, who also signed with the company earlier this month. Olesen finished at -13, one shot behind winner Jamie Donaldson of Wales. Olesen tied for second place with England’s Justin Rose, who moved up to 4th in the world with his performance. Rose led through the first three rounds but a final round 71 (-1) was not enough to hold off the charge from Donaldson. Rose will make another start this week at the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters.