Golf: Tiger Woods has best chance of winning a 15th Major at Masters, says good friend Davis Love III

The former world No. 1 finished 11 under overall, two strokes ahead of Billy Horschel as he claimed his 80th career PGA Tour title, and his first after five years.
The former world No. 1 finished 11 under overall, two strokes ahead of Billy Horschel as he claimed his 80th career PGA Tour title, and his first after five years.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

SINGAPORE - The statistics came fast and furious after an emotional Tiger Woods won the Tour Championship in Atlanta last month.

The former world No. 1 finished 11 under overall, two strokes ahead of Billy Horschel as he claimed his 80th career PGA Tour title, and his first after five years.

Or 1,876 days to be exact.

While he ended last year in a lowly 656th position, the 42-year-old is now 13th in the men's world rankings.

And fellow American Davis Love III says the 14-time Major winner is not done climbing just yet.

In fact, Woods, who has undergone four back surgeries since 2015, could even give younger golfers a run for their money this season - if he stays healthy.

"I told him this and we all have been saying that if he played a full season, he can get back on top," Love, 54, told The Straits Times in a phone interview on Friday (Oct 12).

"He has proven that and obviously he is working his way back into his game and is not the dominant player he was, but he is getting better and better.

"I'd imagine that if he played a full schedule and doesn't get hurt, he can beat anybody, any time."

Love, who was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame last year, reckons his friend can add to his collection of Major titles at the Masters from April 11 to 14 next year.

Four of the 14 Majors Woods has won in his 23-year career were at Augusta National.

Love, the 1997 PGA Championship winner, said: "He always has the best chance at the Masters, that's kind of his comfort zone.

"It is a course he knows very well and where he's played well at. From his schedule, he seems to win multiple times on courses he likes, and I would think that among the Majors, the Masters would be on the top of my list for him to win."

However, Woods failed to win a Ryder Cup point for the Americans, as they fell 17.5-10.5 to Europe at Le Golf National in France late last month. Love, one of five vice-captains for the Americans, said that the team's hectic schedule before the Cup, as well as the "awkward" course near Paris, contributed to their downfall.

"That was an awkward course, especially if you didn't know it well... and the seven to nine weeks before that, our guys were playing and we just went there (to France) a bit flat after the Tour Championship," said Love. "We didn't get off to a good start... and they held us down after Friday morning. It was as much as their good play as our lacklustre play that won it for them."

Love will be making his maiden trip to Singapore next January, after he accepted an invitation to play in the SMBC Singapore Open at Sentosa Golf Club.

"I am very excited to come over for the first time, as I have heard a lot about Singapore but have never played there before," he said.

"I hear the course is very nice but you have to drive it straight, so I will certainly work on that and get some local knowledge, either from a local caddie or advice from some guys who have played there."

The 2018-19 season will be a "big year" for Love, who said he will decide afterwards whether to focus more on the PGA Tour or the senior PGA Tour Champions.

Love said: "I still want to get one more good full season in... I just love playing and I don't want to give it up - the competition, being out there with all the young guys, playing, competing with them and trying to keep up."