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Masters preview

78th Masters

When/Where: Thursday-April 13, Augusta (Ga.) National Golf Club

Purse: To be determined ($8.1 million in 2013)

Defending champion: Adam Scott

Field: 96 players (90 professionals, six amateurs)

TV: Thursday-Friday, 3-7:30 p.m., ESPN; Saturday, 3-7 p.m., Ch. 10; April 13, 2-7 p.m., Ch. 10

Online: masters.com

Top story lines

Tiger Woods will not be in the field for the first time since 1994. He had back surgery to relieve a pinched nerve last weekend and is out for several weeks.

Phil Mickelson had to withdraw from the Texas Open two weeks ago due to a pulled side muscle. He returned, playing in the Houston Open this weekend. Mickel­son has won three Masters; a fourth would tie him with Woods and Arnold Palmer for second-most all time.

The Eisenhower Tree that loomed 200 yards off the 17th tee was removed after being too damaged to be saved in a February ice storm. It was named after President Dwight Eisenhower, who hit into it so often as an Augusta National member that he proposed having it chopped down.

Five to watch:

• Rory McIlroy, a two-time major winner, contended in 2011 before shooting 80 in the final round.

• Adam Scott tries to become the first to repeat since Woods (2001-02).

• Bubba Watson, the 2012 champion, has a win this season.

• Sergio Garcia is known as the best player never to have won a major. He is having an up-and-down weekend at the Houston Open, leading after two rounds but struggling Saturday to fall four back.

Matt Kuchar, 35, appears to be in the prime of his career. At the Houston Open, he was the leader after the third round.

Rodney Page, Times staff writer

Masters preview 04/05/14 [Last modified: Saturday, April 5, 2014 8:21pm]
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