Tiger Woods and Phil  Mickelson  have avoided each other in the draw for the opening two rounds of the Quail Hollow Championship.

Both the world number one and number two will return to action for the first time since the Masters in North Carolina on Thursday.

Woods, fourth at Augusta on his return from the sex scandal that erupted in November, will play with Open champion Stewart Cink and last year’s Masters champion Angel Cabrera, while Mickelson, winner of a third green jacket and fourth major three weeks ago, partners Jim Furyk and South African Rory Sabbatini.

Mickelson, who withdrew from Wednesday’s pro_am because of dehydration, is once again closing in on Woods at the top of the world rankings thanks to his victory at Augusta earlier in the month.

It could even happen on Sunday week at the Players Championship in Florida, but that would require Mickelson to claim a first and a second in the two forthcoming events _ or two wins _ and Woods would have to do worse than he did in his comeback appearance.
While Lefty’s haul of majors now stands at four, he has never enjoyed world number one status and the coming weeks and months could represent one of his best_ever chances.

Woods, meanwhile, will be looking to shake off the rustiness that undermined his efforts at the season’s first major.
Augusta appeared to have been chosen for his first event because there was never likely to be any rowdiness and Woods said he was “blown away” by how warm the initial reception was.

Security will still be heavy at Quail Hollow, but he will be facing a bigger test in terms of spectator reaction to him with restrictions not nearly as tight as those in place at Augusta.

However, his peers expect him to receive a similarly positive reaction this week with playing partner Cink stating: “It’ll be a different crowd, but I wouldn’t expect a whole lot of unruliness.

“I don’t know if that’s optimistic or what. That’s just what I think is going to happen.
“I think people love watching Tiger Woods play golf. All that other stuff that’s happened, people have forgiven him. And why not? We’re supposed to forgive.”


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