Matt Wallace hits a Friday shot on the 9th hole at Yas Links.

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Tyrrell Hatton hit his second shot on the 12th at Yas Links, and the ball had barely peaked when he knew of the sin he had committed.

“Ahhhh, back up,” he scolded himself.

Hatton, who can make a putting green blush when hot, then lets the assailant know his feelings.

“Fucking gusts! Kiss my ass!”

Two weeks ago, Cameron Smith won the PGA Tour Tournament of Champions with a total of 34 under, which was one better than Jon Rahm’s total of 33 under. Last week Hideki Matsuyama went 63, 63 over the weekend to win the Sony Open du Tour. And all of a sudden there were rumors that golf was no longer a sport that required you to go to a website for advice.

Golf, at least in Abu Dhabi, understood.

And it turned on the fans.

LA QUINTA, CALIFORNIA – JANUARY 20: Patrick Cantlay waves to the crowd on the 18th hole during the first round of the American Express at La Quinta Country Club on January 20, 2022 in La Quinta, California.  (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)

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There are windy days. And there are windy days that swear in the wind. In Friday’s second round of the HSBC Abu Dhabi Championship, the season opener on the formerly named European Tour, the leader opened with a double bogey en route to a 74, every hole but two par-5s played tougher than the day before, and the big winners fired multiple par shots. Again and again. All thanks to wind gusts of up to 30 mph.

“I’ve never been happier to leave the golf course,” said Rory McIlroy as he left the 18th green, his three-for-75 likely putting him just inside the tournament boundary line. (A number of players were still on the course when play was suspended due to darkness.)

With that, let’s unpack everything. Hang on to your hats.

How were the scores?

Not all player was blown away. Jeff Winther shot three under 69. Sam Horsfield was two under at 14. Seven players shot one under or were in and still on the course. But that was it. Only nine players broke the par 72. Of the 131 who finished the day. (One player has retired.)

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Hatton and Bernd Wiesberger shot 77s. Tommy Fleetwood a 76. Lee Westwood and Viktor Hovland shot 74s. All were members of the European Ryder Cup team last September. Robert MacIntyre, one of the players who narrowly missed a spot on the team, shot an 80. Collin Morikawa, one of the winning USA team members, signed for a 74.

At the top of the leaderboard was Scott Jamieson, who followed a Thursday 63 with a Friday 74. At the other end was Ahmed Al Musharrekh, whose second round scorecard, through 13 holes, reads: double, double, par, double, par, double, bogey, par (for a front nine 46), double, bogey, bogey and bogey.

What were they saying?

But the scores can’t tell much. Subsequently, wind was the word, and the comments were telling.

Shane Lowry, an Irishman who is no stranger to such conditions, was asked if it was true that Friday would be “a day that Shane Lowry will love”. He had shot a 72.

“I don’t like it,” he said. “I would have preferred it to be calm, but I know how to play in these conditions. Yeah, I knew coming out this morning it would be in place. I knew to go out and just play my game and do my thing. Because it’s in the wind, I think about it a lot less, and I just hit the shots and just hit the shots I see. That’s what makes me so good in the wind, I think. I just play with a lot of feeling. Yeah, it worked. I was ok today, and hopefully it won’t be so windy over the weekend, but it will still be windy. Yes, we will see.

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Jamieson was asked if it was “a battle”.

“Yeah, it sure wasn’t easy,” he said. “You know, we knew the forecast, but when you’re in your hotel room in the morning and in the locker room, on a clear day, and before you play, it’s a bit easier, but then you experience it and get out yeah it’s so tricky obviously hitting shots is tricky with all the bursts but the hard part is putting in. You pass the ball and you feel like you have to be so tight to stop anything that moves but it’s the worst thing you can do when trying to putt.

Ian Poulter, who shot a 72, was asked: “Are these conditions to be savored or just to be fought for?

“Both,” he said. “At the start of the season, you haven’t hit those shots in a while, and you’re fighting the wind and trying to get the golf ball. It’s really tricky. So, you know, a bad hit with the bad wind is really punished. I only hit one or two, but I wasn’t really punished.

“I got to the last hole today and I had a 25-foot birdie putt, and when you birdie 1 and 2, that takes you all the way to 18, it’s like, that’s one moment before you got another good look at making a birdie. But it was tough. It was tricky. It was risky to hit some of those shots in the pins right on the water’s edge. In some ways, you enjoy it, and in some ways it’s actually a little miserable.

And McIlroy was asked “how good” he was playing.

“I have absolutely no idea.”

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How to play against the wind?

Still, it’s not like Friday is the first round with a breeze, and Lowry also explained how to punch when he slaps you in the face.

“I think you just need to make sure that you’re probably reducing your swing speed a bit,” he said. “I push the ball back a bit in my position. I put him at the same height with my pilot but I really feel like I’m trying to trap him and trying to hit him with less speed because if you hit him with too much speed he just going to spin up. You’re trying to make some good drives, low draws today, and it was pretty good. I just aimed it a bit to the right and back in my stance and just sort of 85% swing and sway.

What did it look like?

Need a look for yourself? If you didn’t watch it live, the European Tour also shared some videos.

And below is a photo of Hatton captured by the reader on the 12th, but if you like your PG-only golf, please hit the mute button.

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Nick Piastowski

Nick Piastowski

Golf.com Editor

Nick Piastowski is an editor at Golf.com and Golf Magazine. In his role, he is responsible for editing, writing and developing stories in the golf space. And when he’s not writing about ways to hit the golf ball farther and straighter, the Milwaukee native is likely playing the game, hitting the ball left, right and short, and drinking a cold beer to clear his score. You can contact him about any of these topics – his stories, his game or his beers – at [email protected]