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Graeme McDowell given all clear to launch Masters bid

By Phil Casey

Graeme McDowell has been given the green light to compete in the Masters.

The Portrush man was forced to withdraw from the Texas Open in San Antonio with an ankle injury last week but medical experts feel he's on course to go for the green jacket at Augusta on April 9.

McDowell suffered the injury during a round, forcing him to stop playing as a precaution with the Masters set to get under way.

The 35-year-old, who won the US Open in 2010, was five over at the Valero Texas Open when he withdrew, having started on the back nine.

G-Mac reassured fans on his Twitter account, posting: "Thanks for asking about the leg guys. I think a few days rest and I will be fine. Small strain.…"

Tiger Woods, meanwhile, has dropped out of the world's top 100 golfers for the first time since 1996.

The 39-year-old has struggled to return to the form which saw him spend a record 683 weeks as world number one and is now 104 in the official rankings.

The 14-time Major winner carded an 82 at the Phoenix Open in January, a round which he described as his worst as a professional. Woods has not played since he withdrew from the Farmers Insurance Open on February 6 saying he will not return until he can "compete at the highest level".

Woods has said he is "hopeful" of a return at the Masters, but if he does forgo the tournament it will be the second successive occasion he has done so.

Woods was last outside the top 100 in September 1996 when he was ranked 225.

The then 20-year-old won the Las Vegas Invitational, the first of his 79 PGA Tour victories.

Woods lost his number one ranking to Adam Scott in May last year after a 2013 which saw him suffer poor form and injuries.

His struggles with form and fitness have continued since and his college friend and confident Notah Begay feels Woods is at best 50-50 to accept the invitation to compete at Augusta.

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