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Is Charley Hoffman playing in The Masters 2018?

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"I just felt it was time to do that. He is the needle", said 1998 champion Mark O'Meara. "I would hope he could do it because it would be the best thing in the world for the game".

Now, there's really only one thing left to do before April 5: meet Woods.

For most diehard golfers, winter stands no chance of holding us back once the Masters gets underway.

Only previous year, Woods said he had trouble just sitting through the dinner at the Masters Club of past champions because of pain from his lower back shooting down his legs. Only Jack Nicklaus (six) and Arnold Palmer (four) have as many or more Masters titles than Woods. Now averaging one win in four tournaments, Thomas looks set to assume the World Number 1 position from Dustin Johnson anytime soon, and has finished 39th and 22nd in his two Augusta starts to date though - interestingly - has yet to break 70 there.

Even in choice of practice partners, Tiger Woods has a flair for the theatric.

Along with a green jacket, the No. 1 ranking is up for grabs. With the Masters being the tournament that usually throws up romantic stories and notable triumphs, Cantlay could just be this years surprise success story - though to many, it wont be a surprise at all. Johnson slipped and crashed down the stairs, wrenching his back. He's broken par in each of his past 10 rounds.

That prompted Jason Day to say, "For him to come back and win". "Game feels good, and the golf course is looking to be already pretty firm and fast".

"Oh yes, he's been playing so well for the past year, but there's a lot of hype on him".

That bonding apparently led to Mickelson offering any kind of support for Woods as he recovered from his disk fusion surgery previous year.

Woods, Thomas, Dustin Johnson and Rory McIlroy are the betting favorites for this Masters.

"All that said, I'm only bothered about me".

"This is my first time defending a major and a green jacket, so it's new to me", Garcia said.

From the spectacular setting and enduring traditions such as Tuesday's Champions dinner and Wednesday's par-three competition, to spectacular shots, infamous collapses and great champions, the Masters is a spring rite and one of sport's most revered events.

"He's going to win at some point".

"If you open the patron guide, on the first page there's a full page that deals with patron etiquette and a very memorable quote from Bobby Jones". He opened with 72-73 previous year and finished with 71-69 to tie for seventh.

"We thought that's the best way to go, but over time we think it will also be of great benefit to the professional game as well". "He's a very good player".

Woods himself introduced a welcome sense of perspective when he highlighted the story of Ben Hogan, who survived a near-fatal vehicle crash in 1949 and went on to win all three of the majors he played in 1953, including his sole appearance in the Open Championship, which clashed with the US PGA. "That can get to you sometimes", she stated. He obviously has a game and a temperament that's ideal for the challenges of Augusta National and playing golf under the harshest of spotlights. If not this week, then maybe in July at the Open Championship.

Tiger has enjoyed a resurgence at the start of this PGA Tour season. He hasn't contended at Augusta since his second victory in 2014. Last year, he had a quadruple-bogey 9 on the 15th hole en route to an opening 75.

"The addition of Tiger being healthy and playing well, no matter what else happened, was probably going to make it as anticipated as any", he said. "He's done it his whole life". So all that is fantastic leading up to the tournament, and we'll see how it all comes out. But Woods seemed to come away impressed. They've faced their own doldrums and victory droughts - Woods still seeking his first win since 2013 and Mickelson having just snapped his own five-year dry spell recently in Mexico. Woods and Mickelson somehow convinced Couples and Pieters to let them be teammates. "I've never seen that kind of excitement".

Pipped in a play-off by Garcia 12 months ago following a thrilling back-nine battle, Justin Rose is feeling quietly confident about getting back in the mix, with the likes of Jon Rahm, Henrik Stenson, Tommy Fleetwood, Alex Noren, Paul Casey and Ian Poulter, the last man into the field after winning last weekend, also part of a strong European contingent. He has the second-lowest low scoring average of 68.8 in 2018 and the highest strokes gained per round.

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