As excitement builds towards Tiger Woods’ first official PGA Tour start in a year next week, one leading golf coach has said he would be ‘shocked’ if the 14-time major champion doesn’t win this season.
The comments were made by Claude Harmon III, son of Woods’ former coach Butch Harmon and current coach to world No.1 Dustin Johnson, who saw the 42-year-old up close at the weekend.
Woods was playing with President Obama at The Floridian – where the Harmons have their coaching facility – and Harmon was taken aback after seeing the ‘new Woods’ for the first time in the flesh.
“Tiger looks unbelievable,” he remarked to Golf Channel’s Tim Rosaforte. “It’s the first time I’ve seen it up close and I was blown away by how good it was. Personally, he’s a different person too. Everyone remarked about it.”
Rosaforte continued: “[Harmon said] he’d be shocked if Tiger isn’t winning this year and shocked if he doesn’t give himself a chance at Augusta.
“And as much as the speed and ease that he saw in the golf swing, he saw as a person how much different he is now, how much more relaxed and light and conversational.”
Harmon isn’t the only one that has high hopes for Woods, who returns at the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines a year after missing the cut in what was his most recent PGA Tour start.
Rory McIlroy was also incredibly impressed when he played a round with Woods over the winter.
“This is a different Tiger,” he told The Telegraph. “He could stun the world – again. When he came back in 2013, all he did was hit a big cut and was getting himself around with his chipping and putting. And, yeah, that is incredible in itself. But he’s got everything again now.”