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Page last updated at 09:56 GMT, Thursday, 7 April 2011 10:56 UK

Thursday's Masters gossip

Lee Westwood
Harmon said Westwood's short game is his "Achilles heel"

Tiger Woods' former coach Butch Harmon thinks UK golfers Lee Westwood, Graeme McDowell and Rory McIlroy will "fall short" of winning the Green Jacket this week. Discussing Westwood's chances, Harmon said: "The only Achilles heel I see in Lee's game is that his shots around the greens aren't as good as some of the other champions. That's a drawback around Augusta."
Full story: Daily Mail

But Europe's 2012 Ryder Cup captain Jose Maria Olazabal believes Westwood can end his major drought this week. "Lee has the best chance of all the Europeans," said Olazabal. "I talked to him and saw a lot of determination and desire in him to finally win this major. The near things and the disappointments are only making him stronger."
Full story: Daily Express

England's Justin Rose has publicly backed coach Sean Foley ahead of the first round at Augusta on Thursday. Foley is also coach to world number seven Tiger Woods and has come under scrutiny of late for his methods in reconstructing the American's swing. "What he does works," Rose said of Foley. "There are things I was struggling with but I have added shots to my repertoire."
Full story: the Times (subscription required)

Europe's victorious 2010 Ryder Cup captain Colin Montgomerie said Woods will be relying on fellow top players to underperform if he is to win a fifth Masters title on Sunday. "Whether he [Woods] pulls on a fifth Green Jacket or not is now dependent on others. And that is not something we used to say about him, especially at Augusta," said Montgomerie.
Full story: the Sun

But Woods is still eyeing Jack Nicklaus's record of 18 major championships. "It has always been my goal to pass Jack," said Woods, who has won 14 majors. "From well before I turned pro, that's what I've had my eyes set on in terms of golf. I absolutely want to do it. The benchmark and gold standard in this sport is 18."
Full story: USA Today

South Africa's Ernie Els is philosophical about his chances of a Masters victory as he prepares for his 18th attempt at winning the Green Jacket. "I'll try to carry a relaxed mindset all the way through into Thursday's first round and just try to enjoy the experience rather than obsessing about winning," Els said. "I've tried everything over the years and I think now this is the best approach for me." (Press Association)

Fellow countryman Tim Clarke was out on the course for the first time in three months at Wednesday's par-three competition. Clarke, who finished second at the Masters in 2006, has been coping with a severe and mysterious injury to his left elbow, which has prevented him from hitting full shots. (Associated Press)

There are more players in the Masters field this week than there have been for 45 years. Some 99 players will tee off on Thursday and Augusta National chairman Billy Payne says officials will take a close look at their qualification criteria to decide whether a change is required. (Associated Press)

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see also
Wednesday's Masters gossip
06 Apr 11 |  Golf
Tuesday's Masters gossip
05 Apr 11 |  Golf
Donald wins par-three at Augusta
06 Apr 11 |  Golf
BBC Sport's Masters 2011 preview
06 Apr 11 |  Golf
BBC experts preview the Masters
06 Apr 11 |  Golf
McDowell to skip par-three event
06 Apr 11 |  Golf
Woods brushes off Poulter claims
06 Apr 11 |  Golf
Westwood downplays drama on plane
05 Apr 11 |  Golf
Golf on the BBC
01 Jul 11 |  Golf

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