Woods still turning heads, says Spieth


Jordan Spieth believes Tiger Woods' star quality is undimmed as the 14-time major winner prepares to make his competitive return to golf this week.

Woods has been out of action since August 2015 and underwent two back surgeries last year but will tee off alongside triumphant US Ryder Cup star Patrick Reed at the Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas.

The 40-year-old made an instant impression at Wednesday's pro-am with a pair of eagles on the front nine.

Former world number one Spieth told a news conference that Woods' very presence is enough to alter the atmosphere among his fellow professionals.

"He's still turning every head when he walks into the dining area or if he's in the driving range," said the 23-year-old Texan.

"Everybody's looking up to see him hit some shots. I was doing it this morning, interested, obviously.

"[Woods will be] hoping for the best, preparing for it taking some time like I know he is. I think he's accepted the fact he'll be patient.

"This is a perfect week for him to come back, being fully healthy makes perfect sense down here. There's less people that are out there watching, he can play quickly and he's playing around a lot of people he knows and on a place that he's familiar with.

"But like anyone that takes a year and a half from injury you don't just come back and expect anything, it's going to take some time.

"From the talks I've had with him he's very excited. He seems very confident. We all hope that, for many reasons, he comes back fully healthy and his game's fully back."

Spieth stormed to the Masters and US Open titles during a stunning 2015 and he hopes Woods can return to major contention so his generation of players can experience the thrill of a Sunday shootout against him.

He added: "I think it was a dream of all of us young guys to one day grow up and battle Tiger on a Sunday when he's playing his best and see if we can YE Yang it [the 2009 PGA Champions winner], to see if you can pull off a shot where you can take him down."