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This Masters is about a champion who is missing and what is ever-so-slowly returning

AUGUSTA, Ga. -- Rory McIlroy, who is known to be one of the most thoughtful and introspective golfers on the professional touring circuit, ended his pre-Masters news conference by going on an extended riff about Tiger Woods. That felt perfect because even though Woods is at home recovering from his car wreck, where he's been receiving visits from the best golfers in the world, he remains the unspoken center of the first major of the year. The absence of Tiger is felt in a more visceral way than the presence of many of this year's contenders for the green jacket.