Tiger on course to regain top ten worth berth in Abu Dhabi
Published 23/01/2012 | 14:19
TIGER Woods, outside the world's top 50 early last month, will be back close to the top 10 if he wins in Abu Dhabi this week.
And it is even possible that come The Masters in April he will have the chance to regain the number one spot.
With an appearance fee reported to be well into seven figures, Woods has chosen the Middle East for his first tournament of the year rather than the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines.
That is the course near San Diego where he has not just won that event five times, but also landed the last of his 14 majors at the 2008 US Open.
The Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship is also his first since he ended more than two years without a victory at the Chevron World Challenge last month.
That was in a field of only 18, the highest ranked of whom at the time was number six Steve Stricker, but there were still enough points on offer to take Woods from 52nd to 21st.
He has slipped back to 25th during a six-week break, but because of the presence this week of Europe's world top four Luke Donald, Lee Westwood, Rory McIlroy and Martin Kaymer there are even more ranking points up for grabs.
Indeed, it is the second best field for a European Tour event outside majors and world championships since the rankings began in 1986.
Woods will be making his debut in the tournament, but is a two-time winner of the Dubai Desert Classic.
Last year, though, he finished "only" 20th there, a closing 75 leaving him seven behind winner Alvaro Quiros, and was fined for spitting.
Colin Montgomerie, for one, can see Woods continuing his revival this season, predicting that he might even win two of this season's four majors.
"A Tiger victory at The Masters would be the best story for golf," Montgomerie told Press Association Sport.
And when asked whom he thought would be world number one at the end of the year Montgomerie went for Woods or McIlroy.
"He hasn't played that much in the last two years and so can move back up more quickly because of how the rankings work," said the Scot.