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Apr 10, 2014

‘Big Three’ get 78th Masters under way in bright sunshine

AUGUSTA, Georgia (Reuters) – In front of a huge crowd, the ‘Big Three’ of Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player launched the 78th Masters on Thursday while Adam Scott prepared to begin his title defense later in the day.

On a glorious morning of bright sunshine at Augusta National, four-times champion Palmer, three-times winner Player and Nicklaus, who won a record six green jackets, hit the ceremonial first shots at the par-four opening hole.

Apr 9, 2014

Tiger’s absence leaves 78th Masters wide open

AUGUSTA, Georgia (Reuters) – As the first of the year’s four majors, the Masters has always been keenly anticipated and this week’s edition should be one of the most open in decades with the absence of world number one Tiger Woods.

Former world number one Rory McIlroy has predicted that 70 players in the field of 97 are capable of clinching the coveted green jacket with multiple champion Woods out after having surgery to repair a pinched nerve in his back.

Apr 9, 2014

Faldo likes Scott’s chances of repeat Masters win

AUGUSTA, Georgia (Reuters) – Nick Faldo is one of only three players who have claimed back-to-back Masters victories and he rates Adam Scott’s prospects of joining that illustrious group as “good” in this week’s edition.

Scott has enhanced his status as one of the game’s leading players with a superb run of form over the past year, but needs to avoid “getting wound up about defending” if he is to retain his Masters crown, according to Faldo.

Apr 8, 2014

Lefty feels ‘nervous’ ahead of Masters bid

AUGUSTA, Georgia (Reuters) – Playing in the Masters has always been an electrifying experience for Phil Mickelson and this week is no different for the American, even though he is “nervous” about his title bid after recent health concerns.

The left-hander, a three-times winner at Augusta National, says he has fully recovered after withdrawing from last month’s Texas Open with a pulled abdominal muscle but rues the fact that he has not been in tournament contention in recent months.

Apr 8, 2014

Scott to launch Masters defence with Dufner and Fitzpatrick

AUGUSTA, Georgia (Reuters) – Defending champion Adam Scott will launch his title defence at this week’s Masters in the company of PGA Championship winner Jason Dufner and U.S. amateur champion Matthew Fitzpatrick.

Australian Scott, who won his maiden major crown last year in a playoff with Argentina’s Angel Cabrera at Augusta National, was grouped with American Dufner and Englishman Fitzpatrick for the first two rounds in the draw announced on Tuesday.

Apr 8, 2014

Stenson plays down chances of a Masters victory

AUGUSTA, Georgia (Reuters) – Had this week’s Masters been staged last November, Henrik Stenson would have been an overwhelming favorite to win his first major title after producing a barn-storming finish to his 2013 campaign.

Five months on, though, the Swedish world number three has very carefully played down his chances of clinching a maiden victory at Augusta National, mainly due to his mediocre record at the venue and a less than impressive start to this year.

Apr 7, 2014

Walrus and son set for ‘very, very cool’ Masters

AUGUSTA, Georgia (Reuters) – Craig Stadler is ready for “a very, very cool” experience at this week’s Masters where he and his son Kevin will become the first father-son duo to compete together in the season’s opening major.

Kevin Stadler made it all possible when he won his maiden PGA Tour title at the Phoenix Open in February, and just in time with his father planning to make his final appearance at Augusta National in this year’s edition.

Apr 7, 2014

Masters thumbs up for Australian Jason Day after injury layoff

AUGUSTA, Georgia (Reuters) – Jason Day heads into this weeks Masters having not played competitive golf since late February due to a thumb injury but he is relieved to be back to full fitness as he seeks his first major title.

The Australian world number four had been in sparkling form earlier this year before his unexpected time on the sidelines, right after he had clinched his second PGA Tour victory at the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship.

Apr 7, 2014

Masters thumbs up for Australian Day after injury layoff

AUGUSTA, Georgia (Reuters) – Jason Day heads into this weeks Masters having not played competitive golf since late February due to a thumb injury but he is relieved to be back to full fitness as he seeks his first major title.

The Australian world number four had been in sparkling form earlier this year before his unexpected time on the sidelines, right after he had clinched his second PGA Tour victory at the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship.

Apr 4, 2014

Rehabilitating Woods could miss U.S. Open, say surgeons

By Mark Lamport-Stokes

(Reuters) – Tiger Woods could be sidelined from competitive golf for at least three months after undergoing back surgery, casting doubt over his participation in the June 12-15 U.S. Open, say several leading sports surgeons.

The world number one, whose back pain surfaced last year and intensified this season, will miss the Masters next week for the first time in his career after being advised by his doctors on Monday to have a microdiscectomy in Park City, Utah.