Mike Weir wouldn't be surprised to see the name Woods on the leaderboard at Augusta National next month.

The Canadian lefty fully expects Tiger Woods to make a strong return to competitive golf at the Masters, not buying into the theory that the world's top player has erred by jumping straight into a major championship.

"He's proven a lot of people wrong (in the past) and taken time off and been able to come back and be sharp," Weir said in an interview Wednesday. "I know he's probably working extremely hard right now on his game. He can draw on a lot of great memories there, the course obviously suits him really well, all of those things kind of play in his favour.

"I wouldn't be surprised one bit if he's competitive there. He's been the most dominant player for the last 10, 15 years - I wouldn't put it past him to be right in contention."

Woods has won four green jackets and posted a top-10 finish 10 of the 13 times he's competed in the Masters as a professional.

Even though Weir believes the patrons at Augusta National will be as respectful as ever when the tournament begins April 8, he's not sure if they'll show as much support for Woods as in the past.

"The ticketholders there, it's such a generational thing where tickets get passed down," said Weir, the 2003 Masters champion. "It's such a golf crowd there that people don't get really into heckling and booing, you never hear that there. I mean ever.

"The only thing I might expect is that maybe the cheers that he normally gets might be subdued a little bit. His roars might not be as loud."

Woods hasn't participated in a tournament since winning the Australian Masters on Nov. 15. Less than two weeks later, a series of shocking revelations about Woods's infidelity came to light after he crashed a car outside his Florida home.

He's been a hot topic in the golf world - not to mention the tabloids - ever since. Weir says he and other PGA Tour pros haven't been discussing the Woods situation much in the locker-room, although there was some talk last week as speculation grew that he was nearing a return.

The most difficult thing about stepping straight into a major championship after a long layoff is dealing with the mental side of the game, according to Weir.

"It's hard to simulate on the driving range the different pressure you feel," he said. "You can play with your buddies at your own club and play a $5 Nassau or something to have a little pressure on the line, but you're not going to simulate what it is with thousands of people around you and you're trying to stay focused."

Weir will be making his 11th appearance at the Masters next month and isn't planning any advance scouting trips to the course.

He'll play next week's Arnold Palmer Invitational and take the following week off before travelling to Georgia. The 39-year-old is wary of trying to do too much.

"I think the more you make of a major and the more extra work you try to do, sometimes it doesn't pay off," said Weir. "It's almost counter-productive. ... You can overwork, you can overthink it, try to do everything so perfect and try to play it all out in your mind how you want.

"You can do all that and then when Thursday comes around it's almost like you're cooked already."

Weir entered the season "on a mission" and finished sixth in his first event, but readily admits he's not pleased with his recent results.

He's found himself in contention heading into the weekend on a couple occasions before falling back. He feels like he's getting closer to putting everything together.

"I think strategy-wise at times I've been playing too aggressive because I've been so confident," said Weir. "I've short-sided myself a few times, trying to play bit to aggressively on the weekend. It's kind of backfired a little bit.

"I think I've just got to temper that a little bit and be more patient, but my game's right there. I feel real solid with it."