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Missing links: The Tiger effect and Norman's love affair with Augusta

By John Strege

Stories worth your time, in case you missed them:

* Many quarters in golf have been affected by Tiger Woods' April 1 announcement that he had undergone back surgery and would miss the Masters, including ticket brokers. The headline here from Bloomberg: "Tiger Woods's Bad Back Shrinks Prices for Masters Golf Tickets."

Tiger's back.jpg
(Getty Images photo)

* Several stories appeared on Graham DeLaet, who underwent the same back surgery Woods did. "I thought I would be out for three months and in the end it took almost a year," DeLaet said. Here is Derek Lawrenson's story in the Daily Mail.

* Veteran Washington Post columnist Thomas Boswell weighs in on Tiger's injuries and their impact on his Nicklaus quest. "Perhaps it's time to call Tom Watson and ask how he improved his swing with age, but didn't grind his bones to dust, and almost won the British Open at 59," Boswell wrote. "Tiger might even want to bump into Jack. How do you become a part-time giant?"

* More than once, Augusta National has broken Greg Norman's heart, spectacularly so on one occasion, yet, "I do love it," he told Scott Michaux of the Augusta Chronicle. "Everything about Augusta, I love." Michaux's story recounts Norman's storied history with the place.

* The Irish Open in 2015 will be played at Royal County Down, ranked fourth in Golf Digest's list of the World's 100 Greatest Golf Courses, behind only Pine Valley, Cypress Point and Augusta National. The man responsible for it returning to Royal County Down for the first time since 1939? Rory McIlroy, the Irish Times reports here.