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Apr 8, 2015

Harrington revels in his Masters return

AUGUSTA, Georgia (Reuters) – Bitterly disappointed to miss out on last year’s Masters because of a declining world ranking, Padraig Harrington feels revived in ending his absence from Augusta National.

The Irishman has been warmly welcomed by his peers and, following a morale-boosting victory at the PGA Tour’s Honda Classic last month, is excited about his prospects at this week’s opening major of the year.

Apr 8, 2015

Rory and Tiger command the Masters spotlight

AUGUSTA, Georgia (Reuters) – This week’s Masters is one of the most intriguing ever with the prospect of a career grand slam for Rory McIlroy and uncertainty over the state of Tiger Woods’ game heading a plethora of compelling storylines.

Northern Irish world number one McIlroy is gunning for his third consecutive victory in a major, and a first green jacket at the spiritual home of the American game, to complete a full set of all four of golf’s blue riband events.

Apr 8, 2015

Preview: Rory and Tiger command the Masters spotlight

AUGUSTA, Georgia (Reuters) – This week’s Masters is one of the most intriguing ever with the prospect of a career grand slam for Rory McIlroy and uncertainty over the state of Tiger Woods’ game heading a plethora of compelling storylines.

Northern Irish world number one McIlroy is gunning for his third consecutive victory in a major, and a first green jacket at the spiritual home of the American game, to complete a full set of all four of golf’s blue riband events.

Apr 7, 2015

In-form Spieth happy to play the sage to three rookies

AUGUSTA, Georgia (Reuters) – Jordan Spieth was a baby-faced rookie when he tied for second at Augusta National last year but on Tuesday he oozed confidence like a veteran while dispensing advice to three Masters debutants.

Spieth, who has been the game’s hottest player over the past six months, was delighted to pass on a few tips about course strategy to his fellow Americans Morgan Hoffmann, Brooks Koepka and Byron Meth as they played a practice round together.

Apr 7, 2015

Bubba sticks to Southern cuisine for champions dinner

AUGUSTA, Georgia (Reuters) – Bubba Watson will host the traditional champions dinner at Augusta National on Tuesday for a second time as the reigning champion and he will serve up exactly the same southern menu.

“It’s the same meal because it’s from my mom, a home-cooked meal, and that’s why I do it,” the American left-hander told reporters while preparing for Thursday’s opening round.

Apr 7, 2015

Bubba in ‘kid’ mode as he aims for a third Masters win

AUGUSTA, Georgia (Reuters) – The thrill of being back at Augusta National makes Masters champion Bubba Watson feel like a kid again as he prepares to launch his bid this week for a third green jacket at the year’s opening major.

The American left-hander enjoys a huge comfort factor on the heavily contoured layout where he will also be aiming to join Jack Nicklaus, Nick Faldo and Tiger Woods as the only players to win consecutive titles.

Apr 7, 2015

Woods grouped with Walker and Donaldson for first round

AUGUSTA, Georgia (Reuters) – Tiger Woods, set to attract huge crowds on his much hyped return to the Masters, has been grouped with fellow American Jimmy Walker and Welshman Jamie Donaldson for Thursday’s first round at Augusta National.

Four-times champion Woods, who missed the Masters last year while recovering from back surgery, will be competing for the first time in two months after a self-imposed absence from the PGA Tour due to poor form.

Apr 6, 2015

Palmer to skip Masters Par-3 contest with shoulder injury

AUGUSTA, Georgia (Reuters) – Arnold Palmer will be a notable absentee from the annual Par-3 event held on the eve of the Masters due to a shoulder injury, Augusta National Golf Club said on Monday.

The four-times Masters winner, however, still intends to hit the ceremonial opening tee shot alongside long-time friends and rivals Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player before Thursday’s first round at Augusta National.

Apr 6, 2015

Kaymer turns to Langer for Masters advice

AUGUSTA, Georgia (Reuters) – Learning the nuances of Augusta National takes time and Germany’s Martin Kaymer turned to veteran compatriot Bernhard Langer for advice on Monday while preparing for this week’s Masters.

Kaymer has already landed two majors but the former world number one was not going to miss out on the chance to pepper the 57-year-old Langer, a double champion at Augusta National, with questions as the two played a practice round together.

Apr 6, 2015

Tiger faces greatest challenge, says Leadbetter

AUGUSTA, Georgia (Reuters) – If Tiger Woods can resurrect his game from the astonishing depths he has plunged in recent months, it would be his greatest achievement in a stellar career, says respected swing coach David Leadbetter.

The greatest player of his generation and arguably of all time, Woods has tumbled from top spot in the world rankings to a mind-boggling 111th over the past year with many experts convinced that he is suffering from the “chipping yips”.