Begay expects 'pretty good things' from Woods

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Tiger Woods' former Stanford teammate Notah Begay is optimistic about what we'll see from Woods this week in his long-aawaited return to competitive golf after a 15-month absence.

Speaking by phone on Monday night's "Golf Central," Begay described Woods' practice sessions as "progress over perfection. You've got to see little improvements in little areas of your game, each session, each time you go out on the golf course. Tiger's so meticulous and has such high standards that it's often difficult to be able to give a fair assessment or evaluation on whether things are going in the right direction, but based on what I've seen and what I've heard from him, things are progressing in a positive fashion and I think we'll probably see some pretty good things out of him this week."

Begay predicted a "mid-pack finish" for Woods in the Hero World Challenge's 18-player field, but added that Woods' familiarity with the Albany Golf Club course in the Bahamas gives him a "definite advantage."If he gets things going and that putter heats up, this is a golf course that he's very familiar with," Begay said. "[Woods] goes down there quite often to get ready for major championships, he takes his kids down there to go fishing, and so it's a venue that is not going to present any challenges as far as the condition of the golf course to the wind direction, so he's got a definite advantage from that standpoint. I think if he does get hot he might scare that top 5, and my gosh, wouldn't it be exciting if he actually got into real contention?"

Asked by Golf Channel's George Savaricas what Woods needs to prove to himself, Begay cited "the big C-word. He's got to build confidence. ... If he can build confidence and carry that into the holiday season I think we're going to see a rejuvenated Tiger Woods early in 2017.