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Tiger, Tiger, burning bright …

Ranked No.897 in the world this week, whatever your thoughts on Tiger Woods, it is good to see him back on the golf course.

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Tiger Woods with his iconic Driver Cover close at hand

A second round bogey-free seven under par 65 announced his appetite and ability to compete.

There are few sportsmen, or even people, who are simply known by their first name. ‘Woods’ is superfluous when it comes to Tiger.

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World No. 1 Golfer, Jason Day with fellow Australian, Adam Scott

Two sets of surgery on his back will have reduced some of the incredible torque of his swing; it looks a little flatter than in his heyday.

An exciting new young brigade has filled the space which he filled so dominantly for so long: Rory McIlroy, Jordan Spieth, Jason Day and Dustin Johnson are all producing rounds of golf which would raise even Tiger’s eyebrows.

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Dustin Johnson, possessor of one of the longest drives in the game

2017 is shaping up to be an incredible year in golf.

In the ranks tucked behind are Adam Scott, Hideki Matsuyama, JB Holmes, Patrick Reed, Paul Casey, Bubba Watson, Justin Rose, Henrik Stenson, Ryan Moore, Rickie Fowler and Alex Noren will be ever present.

Matt Kuchar, Phil Mickelson, Sergio Garcia and Charl Schwartzel will be the senior players aiming to teach the youth a thing or two.

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Rory McIlroy, winner of The Open Champioship and the Fed-Ex 2016

Brooks Koepka, Matthew Fitzpatrick, Bryson de Chambeau, CT Pan, Ollie Schniederjans, Emiliano Grillo will be the younger ones to keep an eye on.

My personal view is that the struggle will be between Rory McIlroy, Jason Day, Dustin Johnson and Hideki Matsuyama, Matsuyama to end up on top of the pack.

Whoever emerges, it will be compulsive viewing.

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Jordan Spieth with the Australian Open Trophy, November 2016

Jordan Spieth was 20 when he burst onto the scene three years ago. He looks over 30 already and his putter seems to have lost some magic this year. Victory in the Australian Open might contradict that. The debacle at the Masters may have scarred him more than we thought. Time will tell.

As for Tiger, the driving distance and accuracy may be found wanting.

Great to see him back though! A windy open at Royal Birkdale may be his best shot at a major.

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Image Credits: Rory McIlroy, blogspot.com; Day and Scott, http://www.golffile.ie; Dustin Johnson, blogspot.com; Tiger Woods, worldsmosttopmost.com and the Golf Channel, The Daily Telegraph, theindependent.co.uk; Hideki Matsuyama, The Associated Press.

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