Tiger Woods has been hit with a controversial two-stroke penalty and is now poised to join world number one Rory McIlroy in missing the halfway cut at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.
Despite changing to his old putter in the week he started playing with Nike clubs, McIlroy recorded a second-successive 75 to crash out of an event in which he finished as runner-up last year.
It later emerged McIlroy's playing partner Woods was in trouble over an embedded-ball incident on the fifth.
The American thought he had dropped just a single shot - one of four bogeys in his first five holes - but was told on the 11th the matter was being investigated.
Woods appeared to have finished safely inside the cut mark on one over, but his bogey five was changed to a triple-bogey seven after discussions with European Tour senior referee Andy McFee.
The world number two must wait for confirmation that he will not be around for the weekend, but he fears the worst.
"Andy feels the way he feels about it and I broke the rules," Woods said.
At the time he had asked Martin Kaymer, the other member of the star group, to examine the lie in among the ice plants.
"I called Martin over to verify the ball was embedded. We both agreed, but evidently it was not sand," he explained. "It's tough. I didn't get off to a very good start and I fought. I got it back."
England's Justin Rose continued to enjoy himself in the desert sun, meanwhile. The 32-year-old added a 69 to his opening 67 and on eight under par was one ahead of Welshman Jamie Donaldson and Dane Thorbjorn Olesen, both of whom still had the closing stretch to play.