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Tiger is in great shape to mix it with the big hitters once again, says Spieth

By Robert Jones

World No.2 Jordan Spieth believes Tiger Woods is well placed to launch a competitive comeback in 2018.

Woods, the 14-time Major winner, returned to action in December’s Hero World Challenge following a fourth back operation.

The 42-year-old, who briefly held a share of the second-round lead in the Bahamas, steadily impressed by finishing ninth before setting his sights on playing a full schedule this year.

And Spieth — the only player other than Woods with 10 PGA Tour victories before the age of 24 — is predicting an exceptional period for the sport ahead of his countryman’s return.

“It is a pretty special time to be a part of professional golf,” said Spieth ahead of today’s opening round of the Tournament of Champions in Hawaii.

“With Tiger, we don’t exactly know what it is going to be, but because of the way the Hero (World Challenge) went, the confidence he is talking with and the place he is at in life right now, he is in the best position he has been in a few years to come back and be a regular out here competing.

“Realistically, I can say based on what it does for ratings, what it does for maybe a non-golfer’s interest, it’s got to be at the forefront of the excitement this year.”

Spieth, who recently proposed to his long-term girlfriend Anne Verret, is bidding to build on a strong 2017, which culminated in him winning The Open Championship at Royal Birkdale.

“The Open just did wonders for me,” Spieth (24) added. “I’m the one out there putting it on the line every week. I’m going to fail and learn, I’m going to succeed. But I’m the one in the arena. There are going to be critics and people who disagree with the way you do things but I think I’m in a great place.

“Starting 2018, I’m ready for anything. I’m ready for failure, success and everything in between.”

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