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Golf: Jack still says Tiger will reach 19 major wins

Jack Nicklaus still says his all-time record of 18 major titles will be eclipsed by Tiger Woods, even though the current world number one is missing this week's Masters tournament. Nicklaus told ESPN Radio on Tuesday that he thinks Woods, a 14-time major champion whose last major victory came at the 2008 US Open, will eventually capture at least 19 majors. Woods has battled an assortment of injuries in recent years, most recently back pain that required surgery last week to fix a pinched nerve.

Golf: Age no barrier for Stricker and Furyk

All the talk going into the 78th Masters has been about the record number of rookies taking part and a perceived changing of the guard, but for two gnarled veterans of Augusta National, hope springs eternal. Steve Stricker, who is 47 and Jim Furyk, who is four years younger, have played a total of 30 Masters between them and have seldom been in the mix come the back nine on Sunday. Stricker's best finish was a sixth place in 2009, while Furyk can claim only two fourth places in 1998 and 2003

Golf: Thumbs up for Day could signal major breakthrough

Jason Day is confident of his chances for a breakthrough first major triumph at this week's Masters despite being sidelined for the past six weeks by a left thumb injury. The 26-year-old Australian said Monday that his thumb has fully healed and his game is strong headed into the first major of the season starting Thursday at Augusta National. "It's fine," said Day, who won the World Golf Championships Match Play crown in February in his most recent start.

Golf: Record 24 newcomers spice Masters title chase

A record 24 Masters newcomers will tee off Thursday at Augusta National, several of them confident a first-timer can capture a green jacket for the first time since 1979. "It doesn't matter if you have played here once or you have played it 50 times," American Patrick Reed said. "Whoever is playing the best golf is going to win." Reed, who has won three PGA tournaments in the past eight months, is among the debutants who will break the old mark of 23 Masters newcomers set in 1935.

Less is more approach paying dividends for Stricker

By Tony Jimenez AUGUSTA, Georgia (Reuters) - Most of the 97-strong field with designs on sporting the coveted Green Jacket are keen on playing their way into tip-top shape ahead of this week's Masters but Steve Stricker almost takes the opposite approach. The world number 15 is an advocate of less is more as far as tournament action is concerned and has only featured on the PGA Tour three times this year, his best effort being a tie for 24th in the Houston Open on Sunday.

Masters thumbs up for Australian Day after injury layoff

By Mark Lamport-Stokes AUGUSTA, Georgia (Reuters) - Jason Day heads into this weeks Masters having not played competitive golf since late February due to a thumb injury but he is relieved to be back to full fitness as he seeks his first major title. The Australian world number four had been in sparkling form earlier this year before his unexpected time on the sidelines, right after he had clinched his second PGA Tour victory at the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship.

Golf: Bugs set for Masters menu

Defending Masters Champion Adam Scott has surprised all but a few including the injured Tiger Woods with his main menu choice at next Tuesday's Augusta Former Champions Dinner - 'Moreton Bay Bugs'. A Moreton Bay Bug is a flat-headed lobster and named after Moreton Bay - a body of water on the east coast of Australia bordering the city of Brisbane and close to where Scott grew up. The now annual Former Champions dinner was first held in 1952 at the suggestion of Ben Hogan.

Garcia shoots 65 to set pace in Houston

(Reuters) - Sergio Garcia served up another reminder that he is back in top form heading into next week's Masters when he took the second round lead at the $6.4 million Houston Open on Friday. The Spaniard was in control of all facets of his game as he reeled off an eagle and five birdies for a seven-under-par 65 in breezy morning conditions at the Golf Club of Houston. Garcia recorded a 12-under 132 halfway total, one stroke ahead of American Matt Kuchar and four in front of the rest of the field.

Sergio Garcia shoots 65 to lead Houston Open

(Reuters) - Sergio Garcia served up another reminder that he is back in top form heading to the Masters when he took a big second round lead at the $6.4 million Houston Open on Friday. The Spaniard was in control of all facets of his game as he reeled off an eagle and five birdies for a seven-under-par 65 in breezy morning conditions at the Golf Club of Houston.

Golf: Scott eyes Masters repeat, world's top ranking

Before winning his first major title at last year's Masters, Adam Scott endured the frustration of squandering a four-shot lead in the last four holes to lose the 2012 British Open to Ernie Els. So after squandering a last-day lead to lose at Bay Hill when a win would have made him world number one for the first time, the 33-year-old Australian now comes to Augusta National hoping the top ranking spot is also a dream that has been only delayed, not denied.
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