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AUGUSTA - Tiger Woods received a friendly reception at yesterday morning's practice round at the Masters, his first public golf appearance since the sex scandal that overtook him last November.
"Welcome back Tiger" and "We missed you" were among the encouraging shouts received by world No 1 Woods, who joined Fred Couples on the first tee at Augusta National Golf Club at 8am when the course was opened to spectators.
Woods and Couples played the front nine in about two hours, stopping often to play multiple shots and taking extra practice on the course's famed undulating greens before heading onto the back nine to yells of support.
"Go get 'em Tiger" and "All right Tiger" greeted Woods when he strolled near the gallery, though applause was often tepid because his shot-making was weak compared to the electricity of other years, a sign of rust from his layoff.
"It would be nice to hear a couple of claps here and there," Woods said.
That's about what he received at Augusta National, where decorum is the tradition and numbered badges that could be revoked by tournament officials were expected to contain disruptive behaviour by potential Woods hecklers.
Magnolia Lane, Augusta National's famed entry path, could be the road to redemption for Woods. - Sapa-AFP