Sergio Garcia describes rough in Abu Dhabi Championship as dangerous
Last Updated: 16/01/14 4:30pm
Sergio Garcia: Needed treatment for three holes
Sergio Garcia hit out at the "dangerous" rough after battling a shoulder injury during the opening round of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.
The Spaniard hurt his shoulder in Wednesday's pro-am and aggravated the problem when hacking out of the penal rough in a four-over 76 which left him nine shots off the clubhouse lead.
Garcia was treated by a European Tour physio in between shots for three holes, and he will receive further medical attention before deciding whether he can tee up on the second day.
"Hopefully I am the only one (who gets hurt), but unfortunately the way the course is set up it could happen to more people."
The 34-year-old said: "The problem is they have cut the rough from green to tee and the ball nestles down. Every single ball nestles down and you can't hit it 100 yards.
"I have tweaked a muscle and hitting from the rough is not helping. We will see how it feels later. Hopefully I am the only one (who gets hurt), but unfortunately the way the course is set up it could happen to more people."
Asked if he felt the rough was dangerous, Garcia added: "I would say so."
Garcia's views were backed up by Open champion Phil Mickelson, who revealed he had hurt his back playing from the rough on the ninth - his final hole - as he signed off with his only bogey of the day there after 17 pars.
"I kind of hurt myself going after one," said Mickelson, who could not recall the last round he had completed without a single birdie.
"I twinged my back on the last hole. You have to be careful and maybe just wedge it out and not risk any injury.
"It's a world-class course and there's nothing unfair about it - it's just difficult. On Friday I will have to be very conservative off the tee just to put it in play."
Ryder Cup hero Martin Kaymer, who was 24 under par for the last of his three victories here in 2011, added: "It was very, very thick rough, you can compare it with the US Open.
"Twenty four under is not very realistic. If you shoot three under every day you have a very good chance to win the tournament."
Rory McIlroy was grateful for his accuracy off the tee as he kept a bogey off his card in an opening 70, and he said: "If you miss fairways here you get penalised heavily, so if you're hitting it long and straight off the tee, it's a huge advantage.
"The rough is very thick and really penal and if you miss the fairways, you're making life very hard for yourself."
Sky Sports commentator Ewen Murray believes the rough should be set up to punish errant drives, insisting the premium should be on accuracy rather than length.
Murray described the course set-up as "marvellous", and said: "You are talking about setting up the golf course to test some of the finest players in the game today. In my opinion, that examination needs to be a stern one.
"Straight driving is very much part of the game and those who hit most fairways should have the advantage over those who don't. You will not beat these players will length alone, but you will identify the best of them by putting the premium on accuracy.
"The Tour should shorten the course on perhaps two of the four days and combine that with tucking the pins away. Give them different tests rather than the same all four rounds.
"The courses in the States are too easy. There is little or no rough and that plays into the hands of the long hitters. Their setting up of courses creates one dimensional players.
"We copy America too often. The European Tour should take the lead, add variety and ask the players some different questions. When you do that the best will come up with the answers."