Tiger Woods will soon make his 2015 debut, and conventional wisdom points to a bounce-back season after a disastrous 2014 campaign. But according to Golf Channel analyst David Feherty, Woods' return to greatness may occur faster than many expect.
"It would surprise me if, by the end of this season, he's not No. 1 in the world again," Feherty told SBNation.com. "I think if he's durable, if his body's in good shape, that we're going to see him in contention again."
Woods is currently No. 34 in the world and is projected to fall outside the OWGR top 40 before making his season debut at the Waste Management Phoenix Open later this month. He has been ranked No. 1 for more than 13 years overall, and last held the top spot in May before ceding it to Adam Scott, who was then passed by current No. 1 Rory McIlroy.
The climb back to the top appears steep, but it's hardly unprecedented for Woods. He was ranked as low as No. 58 in November 2011 following a lengthy layoff, but he worked his way back to No. 1 (albeit 16 months later), following his win at the 2013 Arnold Palmer Invitational.
With Woods again healthy and now under the tutelage of new coach Chris Como, Feherty expects a return to form for a player who won five times on the PGA Tour in 2013.
"People have forgotten what happens when he does play well," Feherty said. "It's been so long since he did, I think, just by the law of averages, it's going to happen again, and he doesn't have to play as well as he did around the turn of the century to be No. 1. He doesn't have to play that well at all."