Spieth makes big call on returning Tiger

Jordan Spieth is backing Tiger Woods to have a big impact on tour golf in 2018.

Spieth makes big call on returning Tiger

Spieth makes big call on returning Tiger

With the world's top three players - Dustin Johnson, Spieth and Justin Thomas - winning 12 US PGA Tour titles, including two majors, between them last year, the new year is primed for another shootout at the top as it gets underway at the Tournament of Champions in Hawaii this week.

Spieth, the 2016 winner at Maui's Kapalua course, believes 14-time major winner Woods can also be a factor on tour again after promising signs in his latest comeback.

But he's also relishing the considerable influence a fit Woods can have on the game off the course.

Woods returned from a 10-month injury layoff after spinal fusion surgery and impressed peers when tied ninth in the 18-man field at the recent Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas.

"I think Tiger's return and the excitement based on how he looked is probably first and foremost," said Spieth on Tuesday, when asked what he's looking forward to this year.

Tiger and Spieth. Image: Getty

"What it does for ratings, what it does for maybe a non-golfer's interest in golf is at the forefront of the excitement.

"Because of the way Hero went and the confidence that he's talking with, the place that he's at in life right now, I think he's in the best position he's been in for a few years to come back and be a regular out here competing."

Recently engaged to high school sweetheart Annie Verret, three-time major champion Spieth feels ready for another season similar to his whirlwind 2015 - when he won the Masters and US Open among five PGA Tour titles.

"I'm just in a fantastic place compared to where I was last year," said Spieth, who won the British Open and two titles on the US circuit in 2017.

"Starting 2018, I'm ready for anything; failure, for success, and everything in between."

But Spieth acknowledged stiff competition will come from fellow big guns Johnson and Thomas, who claimed the US PGA Championship among five Tour wins last year before adding another in Korea in October during the wraparound season.

"I had 'DJ' and Justin a couple times preventing me from a five- or six-win season this last year," said Spieth.

"With the amount of depth and talent at a younger age mixed with the guys in their 30s that are playing great, it is very exciting going into 2018.

"And then, obviously, the major question, which is, what's it going to be like with Tiger (Woods) coming back."

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