World number one Dustin Johnson hopes to see fellow American Tiger Woods get back to his brilliant best, saying a fit-again Woods would be good for golf.
The 41-year-old Woods gave a tantalizing glimpse of a possible long-awaited return from injury on Monday when he posted on Twitter a video of himself hitting a “Stinger” shot with a long iron.
Former number one Woods used the Stinger shot to great advantage during his heyday more than a decade ago.
But the 14-times major champion has long been plagued by back trouble and has only recently been approved to resume full golf activities after yet more surgery.
Woods has not won a major since the 2008 US Open, but Johnson said Tuesday: “Obviously he’s still very, very popular: without Tiger the game wouldn’t be where it is today.”
Speaking in Shanghai ahead of the WGC-HSBC Champions, Johnson added: “I’d like to see him come back and playing really well, it’s good for us, it’s good for everybody, it’s good for the game.
“He draws a lot of fans, a lot of people watch him and it’s good for us that more people watch us play the game,” said Johnson, 33, whose raw talent has seen comparisons between him and Woods.
Henrik Stenson, another leading contender this week in Shanghai, also refused to write the ailing Woods off but said the American must be patient.
“It’s a long journey to make a comeback but if anyone can do it — and if there’s anyone you can’t count out — it would be him,” said the Swede, who won The Open last year.
“It would be good fun to see him end his career in good style on the golf course in the years to come.”
There has been continuing speculation about Woods’ future in golf and he has also battled personal problems, the latest being when he pleaded guilty to driving under the influence in August.
Woods recently said he was uncertain if he would ever return to competitive golf, but the Twitter video was proof that he is making progress in his latest comeback bid.