ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates (AP) Sergio Garcia thinks it won't be long before Tiger Woods returns to tournament play.
Woods is taking an indefinite break from golf since his Nov. 27 car accident in Florida and subsequent revelations of extra marital affairs.
Woods has not been seen in public since the crash, and there has been no word on a date for his return.
"The best thing for Tiger at the moment is to get on the course and do what he knows best," said Garcia, who had a personal rivalry on the PGA Tour with Woods over the past 10 years. "Only he knows when he is going to come back. I have got the feeling that it's going to be earlier that what everybody thinks."
The Spaniard spoke Tuesday before the Abu Dhabi Championship, where he will return to action Thursday after a seven-week layoff for treatment of a tendon problem in his right wrist.
"I think he (Woods) is very strong mentally and it's not like the break he had for injury a couple of years back when he had the knee problem," Garcia said. "If you can't walk you can't swing. It's different."
While Woods' continued absence might make it easier for Garcia to end his elusive 11-year search for a victory in one of golf's four majors, he would prefer to achieve that feat playing against the world's best player.
"There's nothing better than playing against the best," Garcia said. "But there is always an upside and a downside. The downside when he is playing is that you know your chances of winning are a little lower.
"The upside is that when you know you are playing against him and you manage to beat him, it's always that much sweeter to have beaten the best. So for the game, it is not good that Tiger is out. We hope he gets back as soon as possible."