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Tiger back as rivals expect him to shine

By Richard Animam
Tiger Woods’ fellow professionals insist they would not be surprised if the world number one made a winning return to the game at The Masters.

Woods announced on Tuesday that he was to end his self-imposed four-month hiatus and make his comeback at Augusta National next month.

The 14-time major champion has already won the Green Jacket on four previous occasions and those that will be competing against him believe he is capable of repeating the feat this year despite his prolonged absence from competition.

Fellow American Rocco Mediate, the man memorably beaten by Woods in a play-off at the 2008 US Open, said: “I don’t have any worries about what he’ll do when he comes back.

“If he wins the Masters it will not be a surprise to me. Period. “If anyone can do it. He can do it. If anyone can pull this off, he’ll pull it off.

“I know he hasn’t been around for a while and I know he’s been through hell, but physically he’s OK and mentally he’s got to deal with it.”

World number nine, and Woods’ former Ryder Cup partner, Jim Furyk added: “You never bet against him. “He seems to be able to take a bunch of time off and pop right up there and be the same old guy. “Not many players, no-one that I know of, are actually capable of that. But he does it well.”

England’s Justin Rose, still to secure his own invite to Augusta this year, commented: “I’m sure he’s going to be motivated. “I think the best way for him to put this all to rest is to win the golf tournament, so that’s obviously going to be his goal.”

And Swede Carl Pettersson stated: “I wouldn’t be surprised if he wins just because he’s that type of guy. It’ll be interesting.” Woods had been expected to make his return at either the Tavistock Cup early next week or the Arnold Palmer Invitational a few days later.
However, he explained in his statement


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