Tiger Woods is missing his first Masters since turning pro because of recent surgery on his back, and his absence from Augusta National Golf Club has been evident and will be evident throughout the tournament.
“Having Tiger in a tournament definitely creates more buzz, more of an atmosphere,” Rory McIlroy said. “You know where he is on the course just by the crowd and the gallery that follows him.”
The Woods’ effect is perhaps its greater at Augusta National, where he has won four green jackets. But a fantastic Masters finish is likely with or without Woods in the field.
“As a fan, it's always better to have him in the golf tournament,” McIlroy said. “But no matter who is in contention or who is going to win this week, the Masters always provides a great finish regardless of who is there.
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“I think people will miss him at the start of the week, but by the end of the week, when it comes down to who is going to win the golf tournament, there's going to be a worthy winner and it will produce a lot of excitement. It always produces a great finish whether Tiger is in the mix or not.”