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Phil Mickelson has the game to extend his mastery of the Masters

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Phil Mickelson has the game to extend his mastery of the Masters

Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy could be put in the shade by the man who has won three titles already at Augusta
Phil Mickelson with his daughters Amanda and Sophia during the par three competition at Augusta
Phil Mickelson with his daughters Amanda and Sophia during the par three competition on the eve of the Masters. Photograph: David J Phillip/AP
Phil Milkelson and family
The 77th Masters has already been cast as one of opportunity. For Tiger Woods the chance is to endorse his return from relative oblivion on the biggest stage; for Rory McIlroy it is to illustrate how his turbulent start to 2013 was simply the latest minor stumble in an otherwise invigorating career.

The beauty of the Masters is that the other 91 players in the field can live in hope of etching their own, indelible mark in history. That applies to Tianlang Guan, the 14-year-old amateur whose appearance here, rightly, has proved a recurring talking point, as much as it does to Woods.

Even the prospects of making the cut have been enhanced, with those allowed to hang around for Masters weekend now increased from 44 to 50 plus ties.

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This famous venue is also on a mission to shed the damaging aspect of its historic image. Billy Payne, the chairman of Augusta National, used typically exaggerated language when speaking of the significance of two female members being part of the club for the first time on Masters week. “It’s just awesome,” Payne said.

Payne clearly believes hauling his club at least somewhere towards the 21st century – belatedly – is a cause for celebration. Augusta National remains a seductive environment but with occasionally sinister undertones if the surface is scratched. Perhaps the chairman was simply relieved at not having his annual address overshadowed by further probing over the club’s questionable and controversial membership policy. When Payne spoke of Augusta’s “pursuit of perfection”, the irony of equality presumably being a part of that scenario should not have been lost on any onlooker.

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There has, at least, been the odd throwback to an old pre-tournament narrative. Woods is once again the name on every spectator’s lips as the 37-year-old looks to underline his surge back to the top of the world rankings with a first Masters title since 2005. Weather forecasts suggest that the early-late draw afforded to Woods on Thursday and Friday may well be ideal, in contrast to McIlroy’s reverse hand.

Phil Milkelson and family

Woods may portray himself as relaxed and content with his current lot but his ferocious competitive instinct has never left him. Woods winning the Masters – or even being in fourth-round contention – would offer a huge boost to the event.

Woods offers statistical intrigue. This will be his 61st major as a professional, with 14 wins having been gained from the previous 60. Jack Nicklaus, who was also 37 when teeing up for his 61st major, had also won 14. Woods is, therefore, correct to believe he can at least match Nicklaus’s record career haul of 18.

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McIlroy’s controversial, if lucrative, switch to Nike equipment and the on-course travails which followed represented the most turbulent period of his professional life. History, though, has shown us that the young Northern Irishman is often at his best when looking to make a mockery of his critics. Though he has never managed it for the entire duration of a Masters, McIlroy has previously shown his game is well capable of handling what Augusta has to throw at him.

Like Woods, he now appears in a relaxed state of mind. “The game doesn’t have to be so serious that you strangle yourself,” says Nicklaus. “You have to be light enough that you keep yourself loose, so that you can play. There is a balance.”

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Lebron James and Phil JacksonGolf’s majors are notoriously unpredictable, more so in the modern age because of the depth of talent at the summit of the game. Still, there are glaring Masters trends: no European has won at Augusta since José María Olazábal in 1999 and the United States has supplied eight of the victors following on from the Fijian Vijay Singh in 2000.

Phil Mickelson is part of a trend of his own, one of consistency. Mickelson has won three Masters titles and since 1999 has finished outside the top 10 only twice. In short, and albeit that Woods suffered injury in that time, Mickelson has proved more of an Augusta specialist than any other player in this field. He offers considerably better betting value than Woods.

Of those looking to gatecrash a Georgia party of the biggest names, Keegan Bradley and Adam Scott have legitimate chances. Henrik Stenson, too, would not surprise many were he to feature.

And then there is Ian Poulter, who believes his finest opportunity of ending his wait for a major is at Augusta.

“There’s no anxiety, pressure is fine,” Poulter said. “I know this week is probably my best chance, so I just need to go out there and perform. I don’t have sleepless nights over it. The fact is I just need to go and play well.”

Phil Milkelson and family

It is a typical Augusta National anomaly that Masters ticket sales are more restricted for competitive days than practice. The club allows the general public a glimpse of what this iconic event has to offer before withdrawing such a privilege when the real thing gets under way. Just as those in charge of the Masters refuse to sanction wire-to-wire television coverage, they seek to retain an element of the unknown inside the course’s perimeters.

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To the credit of those custodians, this remains one of the most engaging competitions in world sport. Whatever the make-up of Sunday afternoon’s leaderboard, the continuation of that is a certainty.

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Elon Musk and Grimes’ Relationship Timeline: The Way They Were

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Elon Musk
Elon Musk and Grimes’ Relationship Timeline: The Way They Were

A roller coaster romance. Elon Musk and Grimes, whose real name is Claire Boucher, were first linked in May 2018 and have since welcomed a son together.

The couple made their red carpet debut in May 2018, shortly after reports surfaced of their relationship. However, it has not always been smooth sailing for the businessman and the singer. They weathered split rumors and a very public feud with Azealia Banks in August 2018 before reuniting.

Elon Musk

Fans speculated about their status for months, as the pair continued to be spotted together everywhere from the Kardashian-Jenner family Christmas party to China.

Musk and Grimes seemingly confirmed they were back on when she announced in January 2020 that she was pregnant. Though she did not caption her Instagram photo that showed off her baby bump, she referred to herself as “knocked up” in the comments section.

Nearly two months later, the Canada native revealed in a Rolling Stone profile that the Tesla CEO was the father of her child. She opened up in the interview about the impact of their relationship on her career. “No one believes me about this, but I just did not understand what I was getting into at all,” she explained. “Not that I’m mad about it. I just didn’t think it would be a thing. The s–t that’s happened with my boyfriend this year has overwritten so much of my life’s work.”

Grimes described her pregnancy as a major decision, made in part because of her trust in Musk. “For a girl, it’s sacrificing your body and your freedom. It’s a pretty crazy sacrifice and only half of the population has to do it. It was really profound to me when I decided I was going to do it, to actually go through the act of like, y’know, unprotected sex,” she admitted. “I’m just like, ‘I have sacrificed my power in this moment. I have, like, capitulated.’ And I have spent my whole life avoiding that situation. I have never capitulated to anything, so it was just a profound commitment.”

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Elon Musk

She added: “I do actually just really love my boyfriend. So I was like, ‘You know, sure.’”

In September 2021, the businessman told Page Six, “[Grimes and I] are semi-separated but still love each other, see each other frequently and are on great terms.”

The “Realiti” artist confirmed in a March 2022 Vanity Fair profile that the pair welcomed daughter Exa Dark Sideræl Musk via surrogate in December 2021. Several hours after the article’s publication, Grimes confirmed that the pair had called it quits.

“Me and E have broken up *again* since the writing of this article haha, but he’s my best friend and the love of my life, and my life and art are forever dedicated to The Mission now,” she tweeted at the time. “I think Devin wrote that part of the story rly well. Sique – peace out.”

Scroll to revisit the milestones from Grimes and Musk’s relationship:

Grimes and Elon Musk at the MET Gala Elon Musk and Grimes Relationship Timeline
Credit: Matt Baron/Shutterstock

Elon Musk

May 2018
Reports claimed the musician and the entrepreneur were dating in May 2018. The two debuted their romance at the Met Gala at the time. She later confirmed that their love connection was born when he messaged her after seeing a tweet she wrote about thought experiment Roko’s Basilisk.

Elon Musk and Grimes at Hyperloop Pod Competition Elon Musk and Grimes Relationship Timeline
Credit: ZUMAPRESS.com/MEGA
July 2018
Musk and Grimes attended the Hyperloop Pod Competition with his five sons in July 2018. He shares twins and triplets with ex-wife Justine Wilson.

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Tiger Woods chastises Phil Mickelson for his Saudi viewpoint

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Phil Mickelson
Tiger Woods chastises Phil Mickelson for his Saudi viewpoint

TULSA, Okla. — Tiger Woods is all about majors and legacy, a point he drove home Tuesday in a sharp rebuke of Phil Mickelson and his support of a Saudi-funded golf venture that led to Lefty not defending his title at the PGA Championship.

Even as Woods resumes a remarkable return from a car crash 15 months ago that nearly led to his right leg being amputated, the PGA Championship cannot escape the absence of Mickelson and speculation about who might sign up for Greg Norman’s new Saudi-backed golf series.

Phil Mickelson

Woods said he has not tried to reach out to Mickelson since his self-imposed hiatus from golf three months ago, mainly because of their difference of opinion on how golf should be run.

“I understand different viewpoints, but I believe in legacies. I believe in major championships. I believe in big events, comparisons to historical figures of the past,” Woods said.

“There’s plenty of money out here,” he said. “The tour is growing. But it’s just like any other sport — it’s like tennis — you have to go out there and earn it. You’ve got to go out there and play for it. We have opportunity to go ahead and do it. It’s just not guaranteed up front.”

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That was a reference to some of the Public Investment Fund money out of Saudi Arabia being offered to players to join Norman and his LIV Golf Investments. According to various reports out of Britain, some top players were being offered more than the $120 million Woods has made in career PGA Tour earnings.

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Phil Mickelson

Mickelson showed his hand in two interviews published in February. He accused the PGA Tour of “obnoxious greed” while playing in Saudi Arabia, and more incendiary comments followed when Alan Shipnuck published an excerpt of his unauthorized biography on Mickelson.

Mickelson said the Saudis were “scary mother-(expletives) to get involved with,” and then dismissed its human rights atrocities — such as the killing of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi — by saying it was worth it to gain leverage to make changes on the PGA Tour.

He also said he didn’t care if the Saudi league failed, as long as the tour made changes he wanted.

Mickelson decided last Friday he would not play at Southern Hills, missing out on a chance to be celebrated for his historic win last year at Kiawah Island when at age 50 he became golf’s oldest major champion.

He is the first PGA champion not to defend since Woods was recovering from knee surgery in 2008 and skipped Oakland Hills.

“It’s always disappointing when the defending champion is not here,” Woods said. “Phil has said some things that I think a lot of us who are committed to the tour and committed to the legacy of the tour have pushed back against, and he’s taken some personal time, and we all understand that. But I think that some of his views on how the tour could be run, should be run, been a lot of disagreement there.”

Phil Mickelson

“He’s just taking his time and we all wish him the best when he comes back.”

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Woods, meanwhile, is back and more optimistic than he was a month ago at the Masters. He said those who are close to him were thrilled to see him walk all 72 holes at Augusta National, his first time walking while competing since the Feb. 23, 2021, accident in Los Angeles that shattered bones in his right leg and ankle.

All he could think about the day after was a bad putting week that led to a 78-78 weekend.

“I did not see it that way Monday,” he said. “I was a little ticked I didn’t putt well, and felt like I was hitting it good enough and I wish I had the stamina.”

He said the Monday after the Masters was a tough day of recovery, and then he went right back to work trying to gain strength and endurance.

“It’s better than the last time I played a tournament, which is good,” Woods said.

He is the defending PGA champion at Southern Hills, having won by two shots in 2007 for his 13th of what is now 15 majors. And he barely recognized the course after a restoration project that brought back a few meandering creeks and returned the edges of the putting surfaces so they funnel shots away from the green.

Phil Mickelson

The bigger challenge is the players he is trying to beat, which make up the strongest field of the majors. Woods is 46, and Mickelson showed a year ago that age is only a number. However, Mickelson had been playing a full schedule all along. Woods, with his injuries, would appear to be limited to the four majors this year at most.

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One help is the nature of the walk. Augusta National is among the toughest in golf. Southern Hills features a sharp drop from the first and 10th tees and tough climb at the end of each nine. Otherwise, it’s a relatively gentle stroll.

“Figured the first mountain you climbed was Everest. That’s the steepest golf course you’re going to play and that was the first one you climbed, and climbed it,” Woods said. “It’s going to get flatter and better.”

Phil Mickelson

He still struggles on certain days. He said it’s never as easy as it might look.

“But I feel like I’m doing better,” he said. “I’m having more days which are better, more positive.”

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Gavin Rossdale reveals he’s been messaging Tiger Woods’ ex

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Tiger Woods
Gavin Rossdale reveals he's been messaging Tiger Woods' ex

Gavin Rossdale has revealed he’s been exchanging text messages with Elin Nordegren, the ex-wife of Tiger Woods. The Voice judge said the pair were initially set up by a mutual pal who thinks they’d be a good match. Gavin, 51, told The Sun: “A friend was like, ‘You have to meet Elin. She’s amazing.’ He was trying to connect us. So I’ve texted her a couple of times to say hello. She lives in Florida. She’s a really great girl. But I’ve never met her.”

Tiger Woods

Gavin has three sons – Kingston, ten, Zuna, eight, and three-year-old Apollo – with his ex-wife Gwen Stefani. He admitted that he is under pressure from his boys to find a new partner, but worries that his chaotic home life could prove problematic. “I look at my boys running around the house with Nerf guns and throwing footballs and I think, ‘How would anyone survive?’ I’d be like, ‘Oh, sorry about that – someone’s sat on your sunglasses.’ And for the last two years, not to be with anyone, it’s been really healthy for me.”

Gavin has said his split from Gwen Stefani has given him a new outlook

Tiger Woods

Gavin and Gwen separated in August 2015 after 13 years of marriage. In a previous interview with Us Weekly, the Bush frontman said he felt the split had given him a new outlook on life. “We are all products of nuclear families,” he remarked. “My parents have been married three times each. I’m just a junior. I never thought I would get divorced. But it just happens. All these life things…

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STORY: Gavin Rossdale – A look back at his past loves

Tiger Woods

“There’s been a lot of pain and sadness. It really teaches you perspective on life. It’s really health, happiness and safety. After that, I don’t know what there is other than that. I’m not sure I’ll ever go at it [marriage] again. I’m trying to be a really good dad and make good records and shoot good TV shows.”

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What Brad Pitt had to say about Jennifer Aniston before cheating on her with Angelina Jolie

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Jennifer Aniston
What Brad Pitt had to say about Jennifer Aniston before cheating on her with Angelina Jolie

Brad Pitt betrayed and left his wife of five years, Jennifer Aniston, to later marry Angelina Jolie.

The Ad Astra star was allegedly cheating on Aniston with Jolie, something that came as a shock to everyone around the world.

Jennifer Aniston

Right before his marriage broke with the Friends starlet, Pitt had passed heartwarming comments about her.

Showering Aniston with praises Pitt said, “Her emphasis is the home, friends, and family. We all kind of crowd around her like moths to the flame.”

He told Vanity Fair, “She’s like a magnet; she brings a lot of people together that way. Jen’s the fireplace; she provides the warmth.”

Reiterating his thoughts while talking to Oprah Winfrey, Pitt revealed, “She’s like that fire we crowd around for warmth. This is truly genuine. There’s not an ill-intention bone on this woman’s body. She’s really extraordinary and she’s taught me a lot that way. She brings people that way.”

Jennifer Aniston

Aniston, on the other hand, believed Pitt changed after meeting Jolie on the sets of Mr and Mrs Smith.

At the time, Aniston was reeling with pain as her show Friends was coming to an end.

She admitted that she was not good with families splitting up.

“It was hard to have such a wonderful constant in your life, a place to go every day, and then all of a sudden it’s not there,” Aniston said.

Jennifer Aniston

The actress said she tried to reach out to Pitt for support. Unfortunately, he was no longer there for her.

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“He just wasn’t there for me,” Aniston added.

 

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US gymnast Simone Biles’ ‘boyfriend’ sends warning to Zac Efron after Olympic superstar shares kiss with her crush

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Simone Biles
US gymnast Simone Biles' 'boyfriend' sends warning to Zac Efron after Olympic superstar shares kiss with her crush

US gymnast Simone Biles might have loved meeting celebrity crush Zac Efron, but it seems not everyone was impressed.

The 19-year-old superstar, who picked up an astounding four gold medals at the Rio Olympic Games, went gaga over Zac after meeting her crush earlier this week but, Brazilian 22-year-old Arthur Mariano appears to have got a tad jealous as he had a few choice words for the actor.

Simone Biles

Sharing a snap of the pair at the Games, Arthur jokingly wrote: “Hey @zacefron I saw her first… She is my girl.”

“Proud of you Simone! You are phenomal in whole world and special. You made history. Love u” (sic)

While the couple aren’t reportedly together, it’s clear he’s a huge Simone fan and earlier this week wrote: “Congrats BABE! You are doing an amazing job here at the Olympics. The crowd and all Brazilians (including me) love YOU!”

Zac Efron KISSES Simone Biles as Olympic gold medalist finally meets her celebrity crush
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One of the stand out performers of the 2016 Games, the teenager finally got her wish to meet Zac earlier this week as he surprised her live on TV.

The actor posed for a string of SnapChat videos and pictures with the athlete after surprising the United States gymnastics team during an interview on the Today show.

Simone Biles

She’s pretty smitten ( Image: Twitter)
When presenter Hoda Kotb teased Simone about the possibility of meeting Zac, she admitted: “If you bring him out, I think I’m gonna pass out.”

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