McGinley: Woods will be back

Paul McGinley believes Tiger Woods will be a force to be reckoned with in 2015.

The former world number one missed large parts of the 2014 season due to his back injury which required surgery.

After returning to the game, Woods then struggled for form, finishing tied for last at the Honda World Challenge last month. However, McGinley noted that Woods certainly had his distance back.

“I saw him play in that tournament and the one thing that was very clear, and speaking to some of the guys that have played with him recently too, is that he’s got his distance back,” the victorious Ryder Cup captain told Reuters.

“If you are playing at the top level in professional golf now you’ve got to be hitting the ball a long way.

“Rory has got that, he’s one of the longest hitters in the world, and it looks like Tiger has got that back. That’s going to be a big asset for him. Rivalries are what sport is built on. For somebody to rise up this year and have a real head-to-head battle with Rory would be great for our sport.”

Woods made the headlines for all the wrong reason in recent years, namely his much publicized split with wife Elin Nordegren following his infidelity. Despite this, Woods still has many fans across the world.

“Tiger is one of those guys that moves the needle in so many ways,” added McGinley.

“Not everybody is a fan of Tiger and some people like to see him doing badly so he moves the needle one way or the other.

“On the other side it’s been seven years since he won a major championship. There’s pressure on him to reach Jack Nicklaus’ record of 18 major wins and it’ll be interesting to see how competitive he is this year. If he gets into contention at a major, will he be able to follow through and win?”

McGinley added that Woods’ swing overhaul under Chris Como has gone back to the original swing that saw him succeed at amateur level.

“He’s made changes, gone back to trying to find the golf swing he used as a young boy and a swing that comes natural to him,” said the Irishman.

“It’s very difficult to do what Tiger has done. Very few players have done that. Nick Faldo did it and Padraig Harrington did it, completely ripping apart their swings, putting it back together and still being successful.

“Tiger has gone backwards and it will be interesting to see if he can use that to go forwards and use it as a base to win major championships again.”