U.S. Open 2018: Garcia tips Woods to be a contender at Shinnecock
Tiger Woods' solid form on his comeback from injury this season makes him a contender for U.S. Open glory this weekend, according to Sergio Garcia.
American great Woods is still searching for a first tournament victory since 2013, while the last of his 14 major triumphs came at the same tournament 10 years ago.
Woods has battled back from a fourth major back surgery in 2017, though, and has shown signs of encouragement with two top-five finishes to his name and coming just outside the top 10 in May's Players Championship.
The unpredictable nature of U.S. Open golf courses is often a leveller for the calendar's second major, and Garcia believes Woods can end his drought at Shinnecock Hills come Sunday.
"I don't know if he's [Woods] back all the way but he's definitely shown some good form, so he's definitely someone you have to keep an eye on because he's been playing pretty good golf after his injuries and stuff, so we'll see," Garcia, speaking at the Adidas flagship store in New York City, told Omnisport.
"It's going to be a tough event and it's just a matter of how things go and how you are able to start. Hopefully you get a good start and get going the right way but we'll see.
"I definitely think that Tiger has a chance this week. He's been playing quite well throughout the year, even after coming from the back surgery and everything.
"I think he's responded quite well, so if he gets going in the right way early on I think that he probably has a chance, but you never know.
"U.S. Opens are always tricky, they are always difficult to predict and we'll see what happens."
Amazing day at @adidasNYC ! Thank you to all the fans who were there! The ride to NYC was pretty incredible too!— Sergio Garcia (@TheSergioGarcia) June 12, 2018
Now it’s time for @usopengolf ! #NYC @adidas @adidasGolf #USOpen #Shinnecock pic.twitter.com/rEAvE2L0VZ
Dustin Johnson heads into the event as favourite after returning to world number one with a comprehensive victory at last weekend's St. Jude Classic.
No player has ever won the U.S. Open having triumphed the week before the tournament, but Garcia expects the big-hitting American to be a serious contender.
"Yes, DJ had a great week last week at St. Jude, finishing with an eagle two," he added.
"He won the U.S. Open a couple of years ago so you'd expect him to be doing well and be in contention and even more after having such a great week last week.
"We'll see how the week goes, but I'd expect him to be somewhere around the top for sure."
On what he expects from Shinnecock, Garcia said: "I think it's just a tough golf course. I don't think it suits a type of player.
"Like any U.S. Open you have to drive the ball well, your short game has to be good because you're going to miss greens, these golf courses are just that difficult.
"It's just a matter of having a strong game, hopefully your head is in the right way, in the right place at the time and your patience is up there because you're going to need it, but it's a tough golf course."