Matt Kuchar says that The Masters will be more exciting in Tiger Woods’ absence and doesn’t believe that the fact the most renowned golfer in the world is missing from this year’s competition will detract from the quality of it.
Woods announced his decision to withdraw from this year’s competition at Augusta on Tuesday, due to a having minor surgery on a long-term back complaint.
The 14-time major champion had been suffering with a pinched nerve in his back for a sustained period of time and was last seen on the course at The Barclays last month, where he pulled out of the competition, during the final round, after the excruciating pain he was experiencing visibly became too bad to compete with.
It is the first-time Woods will miss golf’s most coveted major since turning professional, but Kuchar doesn’t believe that it will have any effect on the tournament.
At a press-conference this morning the world number 11 said: “It’s the Masters. It’s still the greatest golf tournament.
"We experienced a year without him. He is the centre of the PGA Tour sphere. He attracts the most eyeballs, the most attention, but there are a lot of great players out here and I think the Tour held on quite well, stayed pretty healthy, while he was absent.
"Certainly, the Masters will not suffer. I think everyone wants Tiger to be healthy and playing well and in contention.
"I think most guys dream of taking Tiger down. We won't have that chance this year but we'll still have a chance to don a green jacket."
Kuchar heads into The Masters on good form, having finished in a top ten position five times in the nine tournaments he has competed in on the tour this season.
The bookies have him as a 25/1 shot to win the competition for the first-time and he looks a decent bet as he has proven he can already handle the lengthy Augusta course.
In 2012 the American finished in T3 position and last year he was T8. Indeed, he has never finished outside the top 30 in his four previous showings at Augusta.
His view is also backed up by fellow American Stewart Cink. The former Open champion said: “"It will be a little different without him, but it's still a great tournament. We played, back in 2008, a lot of majors in a row without him and they were still great tournaments, and the Masters will be great.
"But it's kind of sad not to see Tiger over there because it's always exciting to see what he's going to do.
"It will be a little different without him, but it’s still a great tournament. We played, back in 2008, a lot of majors in a row without him and they were still great tournaments.
Woods’ absence in this year’s competition means that he has now missed playing in every major, as a result of an injury.
It is also a further dent to his hopes of chasing down Jack Nicklaus’ record of 18 major wins.
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