Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy walked off the 18th green in Abu Dhabi on Friday (Getty Images). Despite collecting sizeable appearance fees, tournament headliners Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy both missed the cut at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship on Friday.
Woods had the more dramatic round on Friday; he thought he was safely inside the cut line after firing a one-over 73 with four birdies on the back nine. However, after the round Woods was penalized two shots for taking an incorrect drop on the fifth hole, leaving him on the wrong side of the cut at three over.
By contrast, McIlroy never got anything going, following his Thursday 75 with another 75 on Friday to finish at six over. The most interesting thing about McIlroy's round wasn't his game, but his equipment. After praising his new Nike Method putter earlier in the week when he announced his Nike endorsement deal, McIlroy switched back to his Scotty Cameron putter Friday.
Woods's rules snafu happened when he drove his ball right of the fairway on the par-4 fifth hole and took a free drop because his ball was embedded. According to European Tour referee Andy McFee, Woods was not entitled to a free drop because his ball was in a sandy area of the course. McFee said that Woods would have been entitled to the free drop if his ball had been embedded in a closely mown area of the course, but that the rule specifically does not allow for free drops when the ball is embedded in a sandy area. The area right of the fifth fairway is covered in vegetation but has a sandy base.
Woods will make his PGA Tour season debut next week at the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines, where he's won seven times, including his legendary 2008 U.S. Open win. McIlroy is not expected to play again until the Accenture Match Play Championship in Tucson on Feb. 20.
Justin Rose leads the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship at eight under. RELATED PHOTOS: Tiger and Rory in Abu Dhabi RELATED PHOTOS: Classic pictures of Tiger Woods RELATED PHOTOS: McIlroy's career in pictures