Rory McIlroy the No 1 pick for Masters, says Jack Nicklaus

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Rory McIlroy the No 1 pick for Masters, says Jack Nicklaus

After months of anticipation, Tiger Woods is finally back at Augusta. "I remember watching it when I was in high school and how hard I pulled for him and how much I loved that Masters". "This is way better than that four-wheel motorcycle I once got for Christmas as a child", said Tiger Tracker. Ridley could help make it more true.

Brian Harman - Lefties have a good track record at Augusta National and Harman is an excellent putter, two good points to consider. "I have never been a part of this week where there's been any more excitement". Former champ Ian Woosnam is in the second group, and amateur fireman Matt Parziale in group 3.

Woods then put together two birdies and four pars over the final six holes to card a one-over 73 in his first round at the 2018 Masters Tournament. Heading into The Masters, all eyes were on 14-time major victor Woods, who has returned to form after suffering a series of setbacks and injuries that threatened to end his career.

As recently as the Valspar Championship last month, we saw the impact that Tiger Woods has on ratings nearly five years removed from his last Tour victory. His return, coupled with the prestige of the Masters, will mean even bigger returns for the game of golf. He's pain-free, and his clubhead speed of 129 miles per hour was the fastest on the PGA Tour through mid-March. I mean, he got hit by a bus and came back and won major championships. Since 2010, Woods has finished with par or better in all but two rounds, with a scoring average of 4.81. "I just need to go out and play good golf". The company said that with Woods golfing well this year, retailers are selling 15% more Bridgestone golf balls than they did over the same period last year.

"I don't think there's one clear-cut favorite", Woods said.

Making his first appearance in three years, all eyes will be on the 42-year-old when he tees off on Thursday.

After Woods held his pre-Masters news conference this week, during which he reflected on him and Phil Mickelson being at the latter stages of their careers, Tiger Tracker tweeted: "I hate the "end of our careers" comment".

Dustin Johnson is the No. 1-ranked player in the world for a reason.

"It's the same thing", Woods said. They wind up talking about Tiger more than themselves, which has to be disconcerting to the new guys who've never experienced the phenomenon. By now you know who I'm talking about, a real feel-good victor to this year's Masters. As the only men's major that is played at the same course every year, the familiarity with the course and the views give us a welcome renewal of the golf season.

Woods tees off with the same group on Friday for Round 2 at 1:27 p.m. This hole was bogeyed only once by a player who won the Masters in the past three years, with the three champions combining to average 2.83 strokes.

In the four tournaments in which Woods finished in the top 25 this year, viewership was boosted by 93% compared with the previous year.

"It might not be the same as playing professionally but I think I know what it takes to win, " she told CNN Living Golf's Shane O'Donoghue.

"I think there's a lot of players, a lot of top quality players, young and old, that are playing their best golf", agreed Mickelson, who is playing in his 23rd Masters. "If you do that enough times hopefully that score on Sunday evening's the lowest out of all 87 or 88 competitors that are here and you walk away with something that you'll have for the rest of your life".

McIlroy will become just the sixth player to complete the career grand slam if he triumphs at Augusta National this week and Nicklaus believes he is more than capable of doing so. "You get someone like Mike Weir, you get somebody like Angel Cabrera, Sergio, Seve (Ballesteros), Phil, Tiger, people who hit it straight, people who don't hit it straight, people like Bubba (Watson)".

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