Woods remaining Tigerish despite opening Dubai disappointment

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Tiger Woods' struggles continued in the opening round of the Dubai Desert Classic as the 14-time major champion signed for a five-over 77.

Woods returned to the PGA Tour last week, but missed the cut at the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines at four over from his two rounds.

And the American toiled further on Thursday, making no birdies and five bogeys to tumble down the leaderboard and record his highest score on the European Tour outside of majors and World Golf Championships.

But Woods remained upbeat in his analysis of his game, insisting he retains hope of winning the tournament despite sitting 12 shots behind clubhouse leader Sergio Garcia.

"Hopefully this wind blows tomorrow [Friday] and I shoot a good round and get back to even par now," said Woods, a two-time winner at the tournament. "That's certainly not out of the realm of winning the golf tournament.

"The last two drives I hit off of eight and nine, there's something different. I need to figure out what the hell I did that was different and then replicate it for hopefully another 54 more holes.

"I didn't hit the ball very well. I left probably about 16 putts short. I just couldn't get the speed of these things and, consequently, it added up to a pretty high number.

"I just could not hit the putts hard enough. I left every putt short. What I thought was downgrain, downwind, would be quick downhill and I still came up short. Into the wind, uphill putts into the grain, I put a little more hinge on it going back to try to get a little more hit into it and it still didn't work. So I'll be trying to figure something out.

"I wasn't in pain at all. I was just trying to hit shots and I wasn't doing a very good job. I'm fighting my ass off to try and shoot a score."