Jordan Spieth believes the returning Tiger Woods is a "severe threat" to the field at this year's Open championship at Royal Liverpool, insisting he will be the favourite to lift the Claret Jug in mid-July.
Woods returned to competitive action last week following three months on the sidelines incurred through surgery on a pinched nerve in his lower back, but he missed the cut at Congressional following rounds of 74 and 75 and respectively.
However, it was just his 10th missed cut of his career - the same amount 24-year-old Rory McIlroy has missed - and Spieth, who has been touted as a future major champion following strong performances in the big tournaments this year, is wary of the threat posed by Woods at the season's third major.
"He'll take a lot from those 36 holes and I think he will be a severe threat at the British Open - probably as favourite," he said, following his closing round of level par that saw him finish just outside the top 10 at the Quicken Loans National.
"He looks good, he's not over-swinging it and he's in rhythm. He wasn't aggressive enough putting, but we were all leaving it short.
"His greens at his house are faster, apparently. Other than that, he's not that far from being right where he was."
Debate has raged about whether Woods will ever add to his haul of 14 major championships ever since the revelations in his private life hit the headlines in 2009.
He has not tasted major success in six years, dating back to the 2008 US Open at Torrey Pines where he defeated Rocco Mediate in an 18-hole playoff, his longest drought since turning pro in 1996.
Many questioned whether he would ever win again on Tour, but he quelled those suggestions with an impressive 2013 season where he won five times - including the lucrative Players Championship as well as two World Golf Championships.
Success in one of the big four, though, has continued to elude him despite strong showings in some of them, including last year's Open at Muirfield where a closing 74 saw him finish tied-sixth.
He surprised many with his unexpected return in Maryland, but said he felt "fantastic" following his first competitive golf since the final round of the WGC-Cadillac Championship back in March.
English golfing legend Sir Nick Faldo, now based in the US, believes Woods should add the Scottish Open to his rota if he is to stand any chance of adding a fourth Claret Jug to his collection.
"He says he feels great, so why not add another tournament before The Open? The Scottish would be ideal, on the Royal Aberdeen links and everything."
It is unlikely the 38-year-old American will heed the advice of Faldo, however, preferring to carefully select the tournaments he plays well in advance nowadays.
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