Tiger won’t be mauled

Four-time former champion Tiger
Woods will play alongside fellow American Matt Kuchar and Korean KJ Choi in the
first two rounds of the Masters.

Woods’ group is scheduled to tee
off at 1.42pm local time in Thursday’s opening round at Augusta.

They will be the penultimate three ball
of the opening day, with only Adam Scott, David Duval and Ricky Barnes to
follow them on to the first tee.

England’s Ian Poulter is in the
group immediately ahead of Woods – and that inevitably means having to deal
with plenty of disruption as the galleries attempt to get in position to see
Woods on his return to action.

World Match Play champion Poulter
is paired with world number two Steve Stricker and Japan’s Yuta Ikeda.

World No.1 Woods will be making his
return to professional golf after a self-imposed exile of five months.

Woods has not competed since
winning the Australian Masters in November and has since admitted to marital

The publicity surrounding his
comeback has inevitably overshadowed the build-up to the year’s first major.

Play on Thursday starts at 7.40am
local time with Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus hitting ceremonial opening
drives and then retiring. It will be the first time Nicklaus has acted as an
honorary starter.

Ian Woosnam, winner in 1991, is the
first European in action at 8.12am.