Justin Thomas is not surprised Tiger Woods is being considered one of the favourites to contend at the Masters, but has warned such sudden and lofty expectations are unlikely to benefit the fit-again superstar.
Woods appears to have finally shaken off serious long-term back problems to return to action and swiftly approach his physical best early this season, finishing 12th, tied second and tied fifth in his last three PGA Tour appearances.
He was challenging on the final day of the Arnold Palmer Invitational on Sunday, only for an errant drive at 16 to finish up out of bounds and end his chance to win a tournament for the first time since the Bridgestone Invitational in 2013.
Nevertheless, the 14-time major champion is third favourite to win the opening major of the year at Augusta next month, behind world number one Dustin Johnson and Rory McIlroy, who came out on top at Bay Hill last weekend.
Speaking to the media ahead of this week's WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play at Austin Country Club, world number two Thomas suggested Woods deserves to be considered a legitimate threat.
"If he's playing, you know he's going to be up there as a favourite, especially in Augusta," Thomas said.
"And with the form that he's shown lately, I didn't expect anything less, to be honest.
"If he was showing any sort of form, not — trying to say this in the most non-gambling way — but [Las] Vegas just isn't going to let you get those kind of odds on Tiger Woods.
"He's probably not a seven to one or whatever he may be in terms of if any other golfer in the world would do that.
"But he's Tiger Woods, and there is a point there for a while I remember seeing where he was like three to two to win tournaments or whatever. I mean it was just unbelievable."
The most recent of Woods' majors came at the U.S. Open in 2008, before a succession of injury problems derailed his glittering career.
And while the 42-year-old undeniably has plenty of pedigree, Thomas knows his fellow American remains fallible to the doubts that affect every member of the field across four demanding days in the spring spotlight in Georgia.
"He's played well... it will be cool to go there and [be] one of the favourites, although in reality it has no impact whatsoever on how you're going to play or what you're going to do," Thomas said.
"If anything, it may just add a little bit more pressure because more eyes and more spotlight is on you."
|Fournette subjected to alleged racial abuse in Titans loss - Marrone|
|Better and better - Mbappe hails Neymar link|
|It´s the end of one of the best movies you could ever see - James pays tribute to retiring Wade|
|NASA invites Curry to see moon rocks|
|No plan B for LaLiga Miami game after Barcelona withdrawal|
|Messi´s English haul, Neymar eyes hat-trick record - Champions League in Opta numbers|
|LeBron trumps Wade in last dance, Curry scores 38 points|
|Seahawks secure dominant win over Vikings|
|Iniesta visits Messi and former club Barcelona|
|Drake makes plea for ball thrown into stands after Miami miracle|
|´Toughest pretty boy I´ve ever met´ - Langer dismisses Paine concerns|
|Van Dijk says Liverpool can challenge for double ahead of Napoli decider|
|Hazard: I´ve always loved Real Madrid|
|Yankees interested in Machado, not Harper - Cashman|
|Warriors´ Curry believes moon landing was faked|
|76ers star Butler suffers strained groin|
|Brady: Patriots still have a lot of football to play|
|´No one died´ - Belichick´s message to Patriots after stunning loss|
|Silva lauds Digne after stunning free-kick|
|Aduriz joins Messi, Ramos in LaLiga history books|
|We have a plan - Ravens coach Harbaugh prepared for Flacco return|
|´It´s difficult to accept´ - Gracia calls for introduction of VAR|
|LaLiga press on with overseas match plan despite Barcelona withdrawal|
|PSG open Coupe de France defence at fifth-tier Pontivy|
|Hazard backs Sterling as Neville reveals England star´s Euro 2016 concerns|
|Everton 2 Watford 2: Digne salvages draw with 96th-minute free-kick|
|Barcelona could ´steal´ Kane, says Pochettino|
|Oakland Raiders fire general manager McKenzie|
|Struggling Villarreal appoint Garcia Plaza as Calleja successor|
|Warriors assign Cousins to G League team|
|Barcelona pull out of plan to play LaLiga game in Miami|
|Pochettino to keep an eye on Inter when Spurs face Barcelona|
|Pochettino confirms Walker-Peters set to start against Barcelona|
|Denver Nuggets add free agent Young|
|Topping Group A no magic wand for an easy knockout draw, says Simeone|
|The cake has been made, now we need the cherry - Ancelotti targets repeat at Anfield|
|Lloris braced to face ´one of the best in history´ in Messi|
|Tuchel expects Neymar to face Red Star|
|Foden signs Manchester City deal to 2024|
|It happened to me! - Valverde laughs off Dembele timekeeping|
|´Projecting´ an Argentina return? Messi met with AFA president and Scaloni|
|Erasmus expects to leave head coach role after World Cup|
|Chelsea issue suspensions pending investigation into Sterling incident|
|Kane is extraordinary – Valverde hails reported Barcelona target|
|Man behind Naomi Osaka´s rise wins WTA Coach of the Year|
|England name unchanged Test squad as Willey returns for West Indies ODIs|
|Spalletti: No issue with Icardi watching Superclasico in Madrid|
|Klopp confirms 2013 talks with ´chatty´ Napoli president De Laurentiis|
|Sri Lanka spinner Dananjaya suspended due to illegal action|
|His reaction was just brilliant – Klopp praises Sterling for response to abuse|
|Gomez renewal a ´smart decision´ for both parties – Klopp|
|Magnificent Molinari named European Golfer of the Year|
|Barcelona best option for Frenkie de Jong, insists midfielder´s father|
|Gronkowski on Miami Miracle: ´Got to make that tackle´|
|Tottenham youngster Walker-Peters signs on until 2023|
|Juventus ´more of a family´ than Real Madrid - Ronaldo|
|Kingsley Coman contemplates retirement if injury nightmare continues|
|McVay ´sick´ over offensive failings as Rams coach takes blame for loss|
|Calleja axed as Villarreal coach|
|Kenyan Drake on Miami Miracle: I couldn´t let Gronk tackle me!|
|Ronaldo: I deserved Ballon d´Or, the numbers don´t lie|
|Rugby Australia to make Cheika decision this month|
|England defender Gomez signs new Liverpool deal|
|Ronaldo wants to see Messi follow him to Italy|
|Neymar happy to play in any position for PSG - Draxler|
|Paine insists he is ´fine´ after taking blow to finger|
|Ponzio: River players will be ´idolised´ for Libertadores success|
|Champions League permutations: How Inter, PSG and Liverpool can progress|
|Kohli: India were better and deserved to win|
|Bears shut down Goff, Rams|