Sergio Garcia labelled the course ‘dangerous’ after having to seek treatment on three occasions for an injured shoulder on the opening day of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.
Garcia had first been observed lying flat out and receiving treatment on the fourth hole or the 13th of his round in an eventual score of four over par 76.
It left the current World No. 10 lying nine shots three players including compatriot Rafa Cabrera-Bello, England’s Matthew Baldwin and French star Romain Wattel who carded five under 67s to enjoy the clubhouse lead midway through the $US 2.7m event in the UAE capital.
“I hurt my left shoulder in the Pro-Am yesterday and the rough this week is not helping it very much,” said Garcia.
“It’s very, very thick and what we see at a US Open but the worst thing about it they have cut it from green back to the tee, and by doing that the ball nestles’ down quite a bit.
“You just have to hit it so hard into the ground to get it out and when you’re not 100% it doesn’t help at all.
“I would say that it’s dangerous and hopefully nobody else will get injured because it could have to several guys this week.
“There wasn’t a specific shot in the Pro Am when I felt I injured my shoulder but just more I continued to play yesterday.
“Maybe I injured a bit working throughout the Christmas break and it just kind of built up somewhat.”
The 10-time European Tour winner indicated he will have treatment on his shoulder and assess whether he will take his place for Friday’s second round.
However while Garcia was critical with the National Course set-up double Major winning Rory McIlroy had no such problems during his round of a two under par 70.
McIlroy’s effort is seven shots fewer than a year ago when he competed for a first time after signing a reputed $US 225m deal to switch to Nike.
“It’s not dangerous and besides it’s worst at US Open,” said McIlroy.
And while McIlroy was a model of consistency reigning British Open champion, Phil Mickelson struggled with his long game including his opening tee shot of 2014 he sent way left into waste sand.
Mickelson could not manage one single birdie recording 17 straight pars before a final hole bogey in a score of 73.
“It was rusty and I didn’t strike the ball very well,” said the visiting American.
“My swing, it feels a little rusty, but the short game was pretty good. I felt good with the putter and hopefully trying to work my way into this tournament.”
And when asked about the nature of the rough the present World No. 5 remarked: “You have got to be careful. I kind of hurt myself going after one.
“I kind of twinged my back there at the last hole and maybe I should have played a wedge out and not risk injury.”
A tournament official confirm the rough had been cut back somewhat ahead of the opening round and following a number of complaints from players competing in the Pro Am.