‘Tiger can win two majors in next five years’
JACK Nicklaus's record of 18 major championships is still under threat according to Aussie veteran Craig Parry who believes Tiger Woods is more than capable of winning at least two more majors in the next five years.
Following a successful return from back fusion surgery at his own Hero World Challenge event in the Bahamas over the weekend where he finished ahead of the likes of Dustin Johnson, Justin Thomas and Henrik Stenson, Woods's world ranking has rocketed from a career low of 1,199 last week to be now 668th.
Whether he is ranked No.1 or 1000 no one generates the type of publicity within golf that has surrounded Woods throughout his extraordinary career, which began to unravel spectacularly when his sordid personal life was exposed in the wake of his visit to Australia in 2009.
Parry played a practice round and the first two rounds of the Australian Masters tournament alongside Woods at Kingston Heath that year and although he only caught limited highlights of Woods' first four-round tournament in 12 months, believes he will yet add to his tally of 14 major championships.
"I don't ever doubt Tiger. If he says he's ready to go out and play he's ready to go out and play," Parry told Foxsports.com.au.
"Nicklaus won his last major at 46, Tiger's 41. He's got five years to get to Nicklaus's 46. Multiply that by your four majors, there's 20.
"I think he can get at least two in 20 because he's going to go back to events where he has won before too so he doesn't have to get to know the golf course."
Woods has not won a major championship since limping over the line at Torrey Pines with a broken leg at the 2008 US Open and has not had a top 10 finish since he was tied for sixth at the British Open in 2013.
He has not played in a major of any kind since the 2015 US PGA Championship yet by midway through his second round last weekend his odds of winning next year's Masters tournament at Augusta National had been drastically slashed.
He is currently $21 with bookmakers to win a fifth green jacket next April but Parry expects that to come down again should his next tournament on the US PGA Tour be similarly encouraging.
"Give him a little bit more time and he'll be up in the top couple," Parry said of Tiger's Masters chances.
"Golf is crying out to have Tiger back. When he's playing well, the world's interested.
"He brings a lot people into the game that really aren't interested in our game and I think it's fantastic.
"He brings a lot more sponsors into the game, young kids are really interested because Tiger's a pretty cool guy.
"Just let him come back at his own pace. Don't put too much expectation on him.
"Obviously he expects a lot out of himself as it is but the media shouldn't be expecting him to come out and win The Masters next year for example.
"If he finishes the tournament and is in the top 10 he's had a good week really."