Justin Thomas: 2018 'will be a great year' for Tiger Woods

NASSAU, BAHAMAS - NOVEMBER 30: Justin Thomas of the United States and Tiger Woods of the United States shake hands after finishing on the 18th green during the first round of the Hero World Challenge at Albany, Bahamas on November 30, 2017 in Nassau, Bahamas. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images) Getty Images

Justin Thomas: 2018 'will be a great year' for Tiger Woods

PGA Tour

Justin Thomas: 2018 'will be a great year' for Tiger Woods

Now that Tiger Woods is back, can the 14-time major winner make it 15 major titles and slip on a fifth green jacket this April? Defending PGA Tour Player of the Year Justin Thomas thinks so.

“If he’s healthy, there’s no reason he wouldn’t,” Thomas said Monday during a teleconference for the Sentry Tournament of Champions, which Thomas won last year at Kapalua.

“That’s a place that if you know the place well or as well as he does – there’s a reason that Freddie plays well there for so long and Bernhard Langer and Larry Mize have had great rounds there at last couple years – it’s just such an advantage in knowing the course. The more you play it, it really just makes a world of difference.

“… I’ve argued with my dad for so long, and I still do, and he doesn’t bring it up as much. But the golf ball doesn’t know how old you are. There’s no reason that because you’re a certain age or you’re this or that, it doesn’t mean you can’t do something.”

Woods, who turns 42 on Dec. 30, played his first tournament since an April 19 anterior lumbar interbody fusion earlier this month at the Hero World Challenge. He teed it up alongside Thomas for two of the four rounds, and bested the 24-year-old by a shot.

Like many of Woods’ peers (and Woods himself), Thomas isn’t fully certain what to expect from Woods in his latest comeback. But if Woods stays healthy, Thomas is expecting great things.

“Obviously, I had never played a competitive round with him but I don’t know if it was his tournament or what, but he was just so happy which was so cool to see,” Thomas said. “I’ve spent some time around him the last couple years and I’ve never seen him happier with life, with everything. As a friend but more so as a fan, yeah, I want to beat his brains in like I want to beat everyone’s brains in on Tour every week I play. I still am and always will be a huge Tiger Woods fan. It was really cool to see him having that much fun and grinding it out and playing well.

“So you know, it’s been a dream of mine since I was a kid to be coming down the stretch with Tiger Woods and hopefully it happens and hopefully I can come out on the other side. But regardless, I think this will be a great year for him.”

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