Tiger Woods was forced to withdraw from the Omega Dubai Desert Classic before his second round on Friday due to a bad back.
The 14-time Major Championship winner was making his first European Tour appearance since the 2015 US PGA Championship after a long spell out due to back problems and sometimes appeared to be in discomfort while shooting an opening 77.
Woods insisted after his round that he was not in any pain while out on the course but took the decision to withdraw on Friday morning sitting 12 shots behind overnight leader Sergio Garcia at five over.
— The European Tour (@EuropeanTour) February 3, 2017
Out on the course, high winds made for difficult conditions with Ryder Cup stars Rafa Cabrera Bello and Martin Kaymer the only early starters to break into the overnight top ten.
The upper echelons of the leaderboard had been occupied by players that had gone out in the morning on Thursday and that continued to be the way with Garcia retaining his one-shot lead at seven under.
Range is inevitably abuzz with Tiger Woods WD. Playing partner Matt Fitzpatrick came on to range with hands on head. Feel for the fans here
— James Corrigan (@jcorrigangolf) February 3, 2017
Spaniard Cabrera Bello had moved to within one shot with birdies on the tenth, 13th, first, second and third moving him to six under after 13 holes.
Later starters Felipe Aguilar and George Coetzee were also one off the lead, a shot clear of Kaymer.
The German completed his first 14 holes in four under par with birdies on the tenth, 11th, 18th, second and third and a bogey on the 15th.
Nino Bertasio, Nacho Elvira, David Lipsky and Ian Poulter were also at five under, a shot clear of Jorge Campillo, Graeme McDowell, Henrik Stenson and amateur Rayhan Thomas, with all those players yet to tee off.