Bay Hill will have to go on without Tiger Woods

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“Hopefully, this one does,” Masters champion Adam Scott said, pointing to himself with a laugh. “But as far as unexpected winners, it seems to me that’s happening more and more in golf. There are more and more guys breaking through, putting in a lot of hard work and getting what they deserve. So I think we’ve seen a bit of a shift in the game over the last couple of years - a lot less domination by top players.”

Graeme McDowell, a runner-up to Woods two years at Bay Hill, said he can understand what the No. 1 player is going through with injuries. He also believes that competition might be an even larger obstacle than his health for Woods to break Jack Nicklaus’ record in the majors. Woods is at 14, four short of tying Nicklaus.

“He’s a physical player who creates a lot of speed and a lot of power and his body is starting to struggle a little bit, no doubt about it,” McDowell said. “But I’m sure he’ll fix it. … But we all talk about how good the fields are nowadays. Taking Tiger’s fitness and physicality out of it, winning major championships is getting harder and harder for everyone - including the best player maybe that’s ever lived in Tiger.

“He’s got more than just his body to be fighting. There’s a lot of great players in the world now,” McDowell said. “It’s going to be harder for him to achieve Jack’s record. But if anyone can do it, I’m sure he can find a way because we all how good he is.”

Scott already had one chance at Doral to try to get to No. 1 in the world. Even if the Australian were to win this week, he would not go to No. 1, though a combination of winning and the math involved in the world ranking would put him there before the Masters.

For now, there is at least one less star to worry about this week - Woods.

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