Nassau (Bahamas): Reigning World No.1 Jordan Spieth, who is a huge Tiger Woods fan, believes that the golfing legend still has got "some really good years left out of him" despite his frustration at his latest injury.
Woods, whose charitable foundation is playing host to an elite field of 18 golfers at the PGA-sanctioned Hero World Challenge at the Albany Golf Club here, is recovering from a third back operation.
But the former world No. 1 has refused to set a timeline on his return to the field and that has raised doubts about the end of his illustrious career.
"There's nobody who had more influence in my golf game than Tiger. You know, it's tough, it's tough to see. You just hope he gets healthy. He's still got a lot of good years ahead of him in my mind as long as he approaches it right, and I don't know what that is," he told reporters ahead of the 17th edition of the Hero World Challenge.
Spieth, 22, idiolises the 14-time Major winner and believes there must be more to Woods' words on contentment with what he has achieved and his tough looking road to recovery.
"Obviously it's frustrating for him. You can tell that. But I think we certainly haven't seen the end of him even if he does say that if the sun sets on the career now, it's still good. I think we can all read between the lines there, that he's -- I think he's still got some really good years left out of him," said Spieth.
The young Spieth, who came to prominence after his Australian Open and Hero World Challenge wins last season, had a fabulous year that saw him rise to the top of the rankings.
The Dallas-born player still looks at Woods' domination as the epitome of success.
"Just the dominance, the way that he was able to bring it in the majors. Really he brought it in every tournament. He didn't play 25 events a year and the ones he did play he often won or almost won. So just kind of the way that he was able to kind of get into contention and be in contention and be at that highest kind of mental part of the game week in and week out and major in and major out," said Spieth.
"You know, he did -- what we were able to do kind of this season he did for 15 years straight. It took a lot out of us this year, and to imagine doing that, which is what obviously is the goal, it's really special," he added.
Spieth, who has been paired with Indian ace Anirban Lahiri, is hoping to cap off the year on a high.
"This is a very easy week for us. I mean, obviously with 18 guys and we're travelling to some of the coolest courses to play whether it was Sherwood or Isleworth or here. This has been just a great kind of cap on the year, celebration of the year almost.
"But it's still world ranking points, it's still a nice purse and a quality field that you need to really practice to try and beat. I was pleased to validate that Australian win so quickly last year and gain some momentum," he said.
Former World No.1 Adam Scott, who is part of the elite field, also wished for Woods to return as he talked about the champion golfer's influence in his play.
"I don't know exactly what Tiger said but saying that he's just uncertain about -- I guess that's, you know, it's obviously a major surgery, so if he's uncertain at this point, it's a long road to recovery and you've got to hope that he recovers well enough to come back and play at a high level because we don't want Tiger checking out of the game any time soon. He's been a huge influence on me even though I'm only five years younger than him," Scott said.