Rory McIlroy has predicted that Tiger Woods will not only return to golf, but will challenge for major championships.
Tiger Woods has been completely absent from the golfing scene this year whilst trying to deal with problems off the course, however, that didn't stop the Northern Irishman from making a strong statement about the American's future.
In a televised interview with CBS This Morning, McIlroy was asked about his close friend and whether he thinks he will return to golf next year.
He responded with: "I mean you've got to think he's going to turn 42 in December and Jack Nicklaus didn't win his last major until he was 46 and Tiger has probably played the best golf we have ever seen.
"He hasn't got the best record, but in a stretch of eight to 10 years, it was the best golf we have ever seen."
Tiger Woods has not played professionally since withdrawing from a Dubai tournament in February, and has had an extremely tough year since.
In May, he was arrested after being found asleep at the wheel of his car and subsequently charged for driving under the influence.
Shortly afterwards, in June, he checked into a private clinic to help him manage medications he used to deal with back pain, a reoccurring problem that has been a major factor in his dwindling golfing performance for some time now.
Since 2013, Woods has recorded just one top-10 finish on the PGA tour.
He has also plummeted down the rankings, currently sitting at 1,104 on the Official World Golf Ranking List, and he will only drop further the longer he is out the game.
This begs the question of why Rory McIlroy believes Tiger Woods can not only come back, but can dominate in a major tournament.
When asked about how Woods is currently doing, McIlroy said: "Yeah I talked to him a couple of days ago, actually. He's doing good. I think he's really focused on his health right now and getting better.
"Look he's had some tough times.
"Again, it's hard when you're going through these tough times and you're under the spotlight because again people have these preconceived ideas of what you're like and sometimes that's not who they are.
"I'm very lucky to have known Tiger on a personal level for quite a few years now and he's always been great to me. We've formed a really good relationship."
There is no doubt the unbelievable talent he once was, a young pro who took the game by storm, accumulating 683 weeks as world number one, but after all, he is still human.
When he does ultimately return to the tee, he will have to dig deep if he is to find the form to beat the likes of Dustin Johnson, Jordan Spieth, and even Rory McIlroy, who have combined earnings of over $15million from 2017 alone.
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