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."
|Clippers buckled under Raptors pressure - Rivers|
|Icardi: Inter deserved to qualify|
|Team Sky future unclear as Sky opt to end involvement in cycling|
|PSG had to change mentality - Thiago Silva|
|Rockets make change, pick up win over Trail Blazers|
|Everything´s easier when you´ve got Messi – Miranda|
|From George Cross to Arsenal – Montemurro´s rise to make Gunners great again|
|Koulibaly challenges Napoli to win Europa League|
|Raptors star Leonard out against Clippers, may miss matchup with Warriors|
|Butler opens up about heated Timberwolves practice|
|Spurs achieved ´mission impossible´, says Pochettino|
|Dembele stunner pleases Barca boss Valverde|
|Van Dijk lauds ´fantastic´ Alisson|
|Van Dijk´s tackle on Mertens worthy of red card – Ancelotti|
|Klopp ´would have paid double´ for Alisson|
|Klopp: I don´t care about Madrid revenge mission|
|Tension and anxiety got to Inter, laments Spalletti|
|Tuchel hails magnificent PSG as Red Star win seals last-16 spot|
|Mbappe admits frank discussions inspired PSG´s Champions League progress|
|Klopp: Napoli had no answers to outstanding Liverpool|
|Pochettino proud of ´massive, massive achievement´ for Spurs|
|Barcelona equal Champions League record|
|Composed and controlled Liverpool see off Napoli to progress|
|Tenerife back to winning ways, AEK beat Hapoel|
|Howedes ´hurt´ after emotional Schalke return ends in defeat|
|Kane ´buzzing´ over ´not bad´ draw at Barcelona|
|Robertson hails Alisson´s ´unbelievable´ save as Liverpool progress|
|Red Star Belgrade 1 Paris Saint-Germain 4: Neymar brilliance helps secure Group C top spot|
|Inter 1 PSV 1: Icardi header not enough for the Nerazzurri|
|Liverpool 1 Napoli 0: Superb Salah sends Reds through|
|Club Brugge 0 Atletico Madrid 0: Simeone´s men miss out on top spot|
|Barcelona 1 Tottenham 1: Lucas rescues Spurs late on to secure progress|
|Monaco 0 Borussia Dortmund 2: Guerreiro double snatches top spot from Atletico|
|Butler´s groin strain ´nothing significant´ – 76ers coach Brown|
|Woakes, Curran among leading lights at IPL auction|
|Blue Jays release five-time All-Star Tulowitzki|
|Mourinho: Professionals care more than the fans|
|Casillas reaches 100 Champions League wins|
|Expansion franchise Cincinnati sign Garza, send Kamara to Rapids|
|Manchester City sign United States goalkeeper Steffen for reported £7m|
|Schalke 1 Lokomotiv Moscow 0: Russians miss chance for Europa League reprieve|
|Galatasaray 2 Porto 3: Terim´s men into Europa League after penalty drama|
|Jackman leaves Dragons role|
|Tottenham boosted as Barcelona bench Messi|
|Mane and Henderson in Liverpool XI to face Napoli|
|Mourinho shoots down question over how to get the best from Pogba|
|Ronaldo to start as Allegri aims to avoid Champions League big guns|
|Odriozola: I´m in love with Benzema, he´s the best number nine in the world|
|Vikings fire OC DeFilippo after loss to Seahawks|
|Marcelino suggests Valencia open to Batshuayi departure|
|Bottas to make rally debut in title-winning M-Sport Ford Fiesta|
|Kovac dismisses Pavard speculation|
|Yaya Toure leaves Olympiacos after just five appearances|
|Riise challenges Liverpool to banish Champions League disappointment against Napoli|
|We rallied around it - Durant on Green confrontation aftermath|
|Valencia ´p****d off´ with Fellaini´s controversial Young Boys winner - Soler|
|More must be done to combat racism at Premier League grounds – Chalobah|
|Napoli will not sack ´big signing´ Ancelotti if they miss Champions League qualification, says De La|
|Guardiola not interested in ´exceptional´ Saul|
|Shai gives Windies hope with thrilling ODI run chase|
|Ten Hag unsure whether to risk Ajax stars against Bayern|
|Erasmus to work with Bulls as Springboks assist Super Rugby sides|
|Paul Gascoigne pleads not guilty to sexual assault|
|Joshua is ´begging´ for unification fight, claims Wilder|
|Silva, Fernandinho add to Guardiola´s injury woes|
|Hosszu storms to 14th gold, Seto smashes Le Clos´ world record|
|Raheem is an incredible human being - Guardiola rallies behind City star Sterling|
|Sexton pens IRFU extension until 2021|
|Ajax boss Ten Hag can do big things, says Bayern chief Rummenigge|
|He´s good at basketball – Kerr running out of superlatives for Curry|