(Reuters) - Tiger Woods’ peers are excited about the former world number one’s PGA Tour return this week after a lengthy absence, but most of them have expressed caution when it comes to expectations of how he will perform.
Woods, 40 has not competed on the PGA Tour since August 2015, spending most of his time since then recovering from back surgeries before slowly increasing his work rate in a bid to sharpen his game.
Since the end of 2013, he has competed in only 18 PGA Tour events while being blighted by injuries and poor form, recording one top-10 during that period along with six missed cuts and three withdrawals as his ranking plummeted to 767th.
“I‘m looking forward to seeing him play again, seeing what the state of his game is,” said Australia’s world number one Jason Day. “This time I think he’s done it the right way by waiting and not coming back too soon.”
Day, who has received a lot of golf advice from Woods in recent years, was wary of forecasting too much from the 14-times major champion.
“It’s always tough to come back, even though you’re one of the greatest of all time,” said the 28-year-old Day.
“It’s very difficult to get that sharpness back. It should take a few tournaments for him, but hopefully he gets it back pretty quickly and he can get back closer to the old ways.”
Four-times major winner Rory McIlroy was also happy to see Woods not rushing back into competition.
“He was probably pretty close to making a comeback earlier on this year, but I think he’s learned from previous years that you have to really take time to let things heal and really be a hundred percent before getting back out here,” said McIlroy.
“It will be great to see him back again. He brings an aura and an atmosphere to a tournament that no one else in golf can bring.”
The Northern Irishman, who like Woods spends a lot of time in the gym, fervently hoped the American could remain healthy in what is shaping up as the final chapter in career.
“Everyone’s excited to have him back,” said McIlroy. “Hopefully he can get back on the course, stay healthy for a prolonged period of time and give it one last go.”
Reporting by Mark Lamport-Stokes in Los Angeles; Editing by Frank Pingue