Tiger broods on retreat from global horizons to domestic lair

With the world No 3 in ascendancy, the world No 1 clawing at his ankles and glorious conditions promising a weekend of birdie- enriched competition, the organisers of this Desert Classic should have been licking their sun-chapped lips last night.

Alas, as always, it now seems, in modern golf, there was a sense of foreboding chilling the sultry air. Tiger Woods' warning that once he becomes a father he will cease to be the "global golfer" obsessed with overhauling Jack Nicklaus's place in history was bound to dominate the first day, especially as he and his wife, Elin, are known to be thinking tiny patter sooner rather than later.

"When I have kids my horizons will obviously be different," admitted the 30-year-old. "My responsibilities will certainly change and the dynamics of my life will alter dramatically."

Until then, it is business as usual, which at least lets us enjoy the sight of a sporting genius somewhere near his prime chasing a "played two, won two" start to yet another season of dominance. Retief Goosen, however, signified that task will be as hard-earned as ever.

The South African's 64 - to lie in a three-way tie with Wales's Jamie Donaldson and the Australian left-hander Richard Green - was special enough even before it was considered that he has played just two friendly matches in the last six weeks. But when Goosen declared: "I didn't even play that well", it was obvious something spectacular had just occurred. "Honestly, I just putted well," claimed the 36-year-old, reflecting on the six-birdie, one-eagle haul. "If you'd have seen how I hacked it around the first three holes you wouldn't have believed it."

Woods would. "I saw what he did in an exhibition match on Tuesday, so no, it didn't shock me," laughed the world No 1. "He putted everything." His jaw also failed to drop when he discovered that Goosen had five weeks around Christmas without touching a grip. "I didn't pick up a club for 24 days before I came back last week," he said. And yes, Woods won that Buick Invitational.

He will fancy following up here, too, despite not prevailing in his previous two visits and despite being three behind someone of Goosen's undoubted class.

Woods' 67 confirmed there is plenty to be had from the Emirates Course, as he began par-birdie, eagle-birdie to lie four-under after four. "Didn't really do much after that," Woods said, viewing the scoreboard ruefully and seeing Henrik Stenson, his much talked-of playing partner, lying upsides. What Woods would have given for Donaldson's finish - indeed, what anyone would ever give.

With six holes remaining the 30-year-old, who suffered for so long from a bad back, was two under and going along very nicely. Six birdies later and he was going along unbelievably. "I didn't really realise how many I was getting in a row until after the 18th," he said, shamelessly. "They just kept coming and coming."

News
Jeremy Paxman has admitted he is a 'one-nation Tory' and complained that Newsnight is made by idealistic '13-year-olds' who foolishly think they can 'change the world'.
peopleThe idea has been greeted enthusiastically by the party's MPs
News
Michael Buerk in the I'm A Celebrity jungle 2014
people
Arts and Entertainment
Avatar grossed $2.8bn at the box office after its release in 2009
filmJames Cameron is excited
Voices
File: David Cameron offers a toast during a State Dinner in his honour March 14, 2012
voicesAnd nobody from Ukip said babies born to migrants should be classed as migrants, says Nigel Farage
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Stik on the crane as he completed the mural
art
News
Happy in his hat: Pharrell Williams
people
Arts and Entertainment
Stella Gibson is getting closer to catching her killer
tvReview: It's gripping edge-of-the-seat drama, so a curveball can be forgiven at such a late stage
News
Brazilian football legend Pele pictured in 2011
peopleFans had feared the worst when it was announced the Brazil legand was in a 'special care' unit
News
i100(More than you think)
Sport
Brendan Rodgers seems more stressed than ever before as Liverpool manager
FOOTBALLI like Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season
News
The Magna Carta
archaeologyContemporary account of historic signing discovered
News
Phyllis Dorothy James on stage during a reading of her book 'Death Comes to Pemberley' last year
peopleJohn Walsh pays tribute to PD James, who died today
Sport
Benjamin Stambouli celebrates his goal for Tottenham last night
FOOTBALL
Life and Style
Dishing it out: the head chef in ‘Ratatouille’
food + drinkShould UK restaurants follow suit?
News
peopleExclusive: Maryum and Hana Ali share their stories of the family man behind the boxing gloves
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: ‘We give them hope. They come to us when no one else can help’

Christmas Appeal

Meet the charity giving homeless veterans hope – and who they turn to when no one else can help
Should doctors and patients learn to plan humane, happier endings rather than trying to prolong life?

Is it always right to try to prolong life?

Most of us would prefer to die in our own beds, with our families beside us. But, as a GP, Margaret McCartney sees too many end their days in a medicalised battle
Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night - is that what it takes for women to get to the top?

What does it take for women to get to the top?

Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night and told women they had to do more if they wanted to get on
Christmas jumper craze: Inside the UK factory behind this year's multicultural must-have

Knitting pretty: British Christmas Jumpers

Simmy Richman visits Jack Masters, the company behind this year's multicultural must-have
French chefs have launched a campaign to end violence in kitchens - should British restaurants follow suit?

French chefs campaign against bullying

A group of top chefs signed a manifesto against violence in kitchens following the sacking of a chef at a Paris restaurant for scalding his kitchen assistant with a white-hot spoon
Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour War and Peace on New Year's Day as Controller warns of cuts

Just what you need on a New Year hangover...

Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour adaptation of War and Peace on first day of 2015
Cuba set to stage its first US musical in 50 years

Cuba to stage first US musical in 50 years

Claire Allfree finds out if the new production of Rent will hit the right note in Havana
Christmas 2014: 10 best educational toys

Learn and play: 10 best educational toys

Of course you want them to have fun, but even better if they can learn at the same time
Paul Scholes column: I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season

Paul Scholes column

I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season
Lewis Moody column: Stuart Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

Lewis Moody: Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

So what must the red-rose do differently? They have to take the points on offer 
Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

Sarkozy returns

The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game