DUBAI // You know a golfer has had a good look around when, after a 30-minute delay and a summons for an on-course referee, they have to ask for audience participation.
"Did anyone see what happened to that ball," the on-course official asked the gallery following Sergio Garcia at the 16th green, after his errant approach had ended up wet.
That was only a small act in a drama which led to the Spaniard posting a triple-bogey seven. He shot two other bogeys besides on the back nine.
And yet he still equalled the course record with an eight-under-par round of 64. Go figure.
"I wish I could," Garcia said after signing probably the most colourful card this event has seen in its three-and-a-half tournament history.
Apart from that second shot, from the middle of the 16th fairway, as well as the customary jitters over a few four-foot putts, the Ryder Cup stalwart was sublime.
Having made the turn on five-under for his round, Garcia's back nine was as up and down as a bipolar meerkat on the Big Dipper. Even with all the blemishes, he ended three shots in credit.
Such volatility has been known to tip the temperamental Spaniard into a funk in the past. Not so here. Primarily because he could not fail to be anything but cheery given how well he was striking the ball. He also realised the odd good break fell his way, too.
Like coming up the 18th, when his tee-shot bounced kindly off the stones in the creek which snakes its way down the centre of the fairway. Hitting a dry ball with a five-wood for his second, he set up his second eagle of the back nine.
"I was trying to be as calm as possible," Garcia said. "Obviously, I wasn't very happy about my shot on 16, but I accepted it and I thought if I could make one birdie in the next two it is still a good round."
He finished birdie, eagle instead. Not bad for a player who admitted to feeling rusty after a seven-week break since the Ryder Cup.
"I am coming back from a long break, so trying to get some good vibrations going and managed to finish better than that," he said. "So I'm happy with that."