AAP Golf

Don’t bet against Tiger on return: Day

By AAP Newswire

Jason Day warns critics they will write off Tiger Woods at their peril as the 15-time major champion ends a five-month competitive hiatius at the US PGA Tour's Memorial Tournament this week.

It will be Woods' first tour event since his foundation's Genesis Invitational in California in February, when he got to present the wnner's trophy to Adam Scott.

The reigning Masters champion skipped the two Florida events in March, citing injury, before the circuit was shut down due to the coronavirus.

He makes his return in a marquee group with world No.1 Rory McIlroy and Brooks Koepka at the Jack Nicklaus-hosted Memorial at Ohio's Muirfield Village GC, an event he has won five times but not since 2012.

Day, a close friend of Woods, expects all eyes will be on the the 44-year-old as he attempts to go past Sam Snead's record by claiming an 83rd US tour victory, having tied him late last year.

"It's pretty exciting to have him back; it's going to be huge and I'm pumped to play against him in a tournament again," Day told AAP from Ohio.

Woods' only public playing appearance during the covid-19 shutdown was a charity teams match in May alongside Phil Mickelson and NFL legends Peyton Manning and Tom Brady.

He appeared well-rested and free-swinging as he found plenty of fairways and greens in regulation.

"It is hard to say how he will play because it has been a while since he competed, but you can never bet against Tiger Woods," Day said.

Former world No.1 Day, stopped his freefall down the world rankings with a tie for seventh at last week's US Tour event, also held at Muirfield Village, improving his ranking to 58th.

"I'm definitely excited by the form I saw last week; I feel great overall," said Day, a resident of Columbus, Ohio and Muirfield Village member.

"At the moment, I just have to take small victories each day; try and improve a part of my game and stay patient.

"I have to keep busting my butt and the results will come eventually."

Day will be joined in the field by fellow Australians Marc Leishman and Cameron Smith, as well as Jason Scrivener, a European Tour player who was given a sponsor's invitation.