ANTALYA: Major winners Justin Rose and Padraig Harrington stressed the importance of not placing too much expectation on Tiger Woods, after the American great announced his return to competition next month.
Woods will tee-up later this month at his own 18-man Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas.
It will be the 14-time major winner’s first appearance since he withdrew after one round of February’s Dubai Desert Classic.
Rose, who claimed a remarkable comeback victory at last week’s WGC-HSBC Champions, is excited that the former world number one will be back in action.
“It is cool Tiger is coming back to competition and it seems clear through some of his recent tweets that he has been gearing up for something and the obvious and logical choice would seem to be the Hero Challenge,” said Rose ahead of this week’s Turkish Airlines Open in Antalya.
“It is going to be special and fun to see him playing there as we all have missed him.
“I do feel expectations for a first time ever will be down and there will be more curiosity than expectations, but Tiger is a determined and confident guy, and he will come back believing he can do well.
“So, it would be totally unfair to place any expectations on Tiger and we all should be pleased that he does seem healthy and capable of playing golf again.”
The 41-year-old Woods has not won a major tournament since the 2008 US Open, but did claim five PGA Tour titles in 2013 as he returned to the top of the world rankings.
But he has since struggled with a series of back injuries and has slipped to number 1,180 in the world.
“I know he has had a rough ride with his back, and he has been in a lot of pain for a long time, so from a quality of life point of view it is just nice to see him up and about again and back to playing golf,” added 2013 US Open champion Rose.
“Then no doubt he can then build on that and think about winning golf tournaments again.”
Three-time major champion Harrington has also had to battle injuries, having shoulder surgery in March.
“It is great news Tiger is returning to competition and it could be the most-watched rounds of golf all season ahead of Steph Curry (NBA star who played a Web.com Tour event in August),” said the Irishman.
“I for one can’t wait to see him back out here but I must say one thing and that is let’s not put him under any pressure.
“The best all of us can do is welcome him back and be pleased he is again competing as we all have missed Tiger.”–AFP