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Nicklaus believes Tiger will play the Masters

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PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. – Jack Nicklaus believes Tiger Woods is on the verge of returning to competition.

It’s a suspicion Nicklaus has that was strengthened with news this week that Woods is back at his Isleworth home in Florida and hitting golf balls.

Nicklaus believes it’s a sign Woods will play the Masters in five weeks.

“It would surprise me if he didn’t,” Nicklaus said after his pro-am round at the Honda Classic Wednesday. “I can’t imagine in a hundred years he’s going to miss Augusta.”

Nicklaus said he does not know if that’s true, and he’s staying out of Woods’ personal business, but . . .

“As it relates to him playing golf, my guess is as a golfer he’s going to want to try to play Augusta if he has these other things in order,” Nicklaus said.

Nicklaus also suspects Woods will play at least once before Augusta National to get himself ready.