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Plenty of help for struggling Woods

By Bill Nichols

The Dallas Morning News

DALLAS -- Tiger Woods finds himself in an unfamiliar role this week because he is not an overwhelming favorite to win the Masters. Although he has three Masters wins, Woods has been struggling with his swing, particularly his driver.

Everybody, it seems, has an opinion on how to fix the swing of the world's best player. He said he gets lots of e-mail, letters and in-person advice.

"I'll be at the grocery store and somebody will say, 'I saw you hit that one shot,' " Woods said. "They mean well, they are trying to be helpful. Hey, when we're watching basketball games or football games, we are all kind of couch coaches. Golf is no different."

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Woods said the last time he took someone's advice was last week. But it came from neighbor and fellow tour player Stuart Appleby. They were practicing different kinds of chip shots that will be used this week.

Trees added to No. 11 only significant change

The only course change made this year was the addition of pine trees on the right side of the fairway on the par-4 11th. That will narrow the landing area and bring the water left of the green into play.

"The approach shots will be the same (distance), but the angle will be a little more intimidating," Vijay Singh said. "I think it's going to be a little harder for the longer hitter who is used to bailing out to the right. Now you have to make sure you hit a pretty straight drive."

After the Masters, Tiger Woods is going to take a week off to enjoy his second love -- military training. The 40-tournament winner is heading to Ft. Bragg in North Carolina for four days of special operations training.

"I've always wanted to do something like that," said Woods, whose father Earl Woods was a Green Beret. "I was telling my dad, if I hadn't been introduced to golf, that's where I would be, doing something hopefully in special ops arena. The physical and mental challenges, I like that."

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