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Stricker plans to return for Masters

(AP Photo/Willie J. Allen Jr.)

(AP) -- Steve Stricker intends to play the Masters next week, his first competition since back surgery four months ago.

Stricker recently returned from Naples, Florida, where he tested his swing and his strength. He had surgery two days before Christmas on a bulging disk in his lower back that was causing recurring hip problems.

"I was playing, walking, just to see what I had," Stricker told The Associated Press by phone Monday. "It's the first time I played since December, and it was good. It felt good. Just a little stiffness here and there. I walked the last three days just to play like I would be playing."

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