Sport

COMMENT: The 14-time Major winner deserves to be venerated just as much as Jack Nicklaus for his career achievements, yet he is not loved

Please replace divots: Tiger Woods churns up the turf on the first fairway as he looks to drag himself back into contention

James Lawton: As tentative as a kitten, Tiger is close to point of no return

More than anything, it was like a funeral. There were more sighs than conversation and when the convention of the first tee dictated applause, it was subdued enough to be over almost as soon as it began.

Rory McIlroy stays focused on his task at Augusta

Packed galleries make McIlroy the new ‘Here he comes’ poster boy

America's courtship of Rory McIlroy, which began with a hug after his Sunday 80 last year, is now a full-on love affair. The 22-year-old from Holywood signed for a second-round 69, three under par, that took him to four under for the tournament, and had the galleries cheering his name as he climbed the hill to the clubhouse.

Lee Westwood is looking to put an end to his - and England's - major drought

Masters that offers so much more than a two-horse race

The talk is all of Tiger and Rory but don't forget Mickelson in what promises to be a birdie-fest

Tiger Woods gets used to his irons during a practice round before today's start of the 2012 Masters at Augusta

James Lawton: Which Tiger will come to tee?

Believers say it's the old Woods and he's ready to win again. Doubters say new swing guru will fail to paper over cracks

Rory McIlroy was in a playful mood at yesterday's press conference

James Lawton: Merry McIlroy casts out Masters demons with a line from Boris

If Rory McIlroy brought a single demon back here to where, this time last year, some feared his career might have been destroyed before it truly began, all the evidence is that the little blighter did not make it through US Customs.

Rory McIlroy yesterday

James Lawton: Masters demons cast aside by merry McIlroy

22-year-old unfazed by last year's failure and feels he's ready to challenge for Green Jacket

Rory McIlroy, the young pretender, and Tiger Woods, the past Master

James Lawton: Rory and Tiger may be able to create golf's latest great rivalry

McIlroy's talent against Woods' experience: a classic showdown in store for the Masters showdown

RORY MCILROY: The Northern Irishman has invited Ant and Dec to join him at Augusta

McIlroy: an on-form Woods is the real No 1

Perhaps it says much about the ever-growing fame of Rory McIlroy that last year he brought three friends from home as his Masters guests – and this year he has invited Ant and Dec. When the Geordie presenters arrive at the Augusta National they will find their friend talking up the chances of Tiger Woods.

Rory McIlroy, the young pretender, and Tiger Woods, the past Master

James Lawton: Rory and Tiger may be able to create golf's latest great rivalry

You have to believe in your ability to win – not so easy against Tiger on the last day

Luke Donald's overall rating: 16/20

So who really is the UK's best hope at Augusta?

For the first time we have the three best golfers in the world. But can one of them end a 16-year British drought at the Masters and hold off a resurgent Woods?

Tiger Woods celebrates with caddie Joe La Cava

James Lawton: Tiger stalks the new breed with his old vengeful menace

Every so often sport gives us something that has to be kept for ever: Ali in Kinshasa, Maradona in Mexico, Federer at Wimbledon. Now there is the possibility of a gift which was first offered up to immortality 15 years ago amid the dogwoods and the magnolia of Augusta.

The 21-year-old Tiger Woods is helped into the Green Jacket by Nick Faldo at the 1997 Masters after his first major win

James Lawton: Tiger stalks new breed with old menace

One of the things about greatness in sport is that it is so different to the normal run of winning and losing

Emerging from the shadows: Justin Rose has a great record on the PGA Tour

Thriving Rose eyes major breakthrough

Englishman benefiting from red-hot putter – and greater happiness in his life

Rory McIlroy makes sure everyone knows he is the new world No 1 after victory in the Honda Classic in Florida yesterday

McIlroy reaches top of the world after marching past Tiger's trap

The greatest doubted him and the other greatest pushed him. But Rory McIlroy became the world No 1 regardless what Jack said or Tiger did. If ever a coronation possessed validity, it was here at the Honda Classic in Florida yesterday.

Robert Rock plays an approach shot on the second hole yesterday

Donald sent packing as Tiger escapes

Luke Donald's nine-month reign as world No 1 is under threat. By losing to Ernie Els in the first round of the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship, a title he won last year, Donald has given Lee Westwood or Rory McIlroy a chance to claim golf's top spot. But victory on Sunday is required for all the numbers to add up. Westwood has cleared the first hurdle beating Nicolas Colsaerts 3&1. Meanwhile, McIlroy was doing his best to overtake South African George Coetze last night.

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