After ending his winless drought at the WGC-Mexico Championship, Phil Mickelson believes fellow American Tiger Woods can break out of his slump in Palm Harbor this week.
Mickelson claimed his first title since 2013 when he overcame compatriot and reigning PGA Tour Player of the Year Justin Thomas in a play-off last week.
Not since easing to a comprehensive victory at the 2013 WGC-Bridgestone Invitational has Woods – who has been derailed by back woes – celebrated a win but Mickelson has backed the 14-time major champion to do so at the Valspar Championship, where he is three strokes off the pace.
"I wouldn't be surprised if he went out and won this weekend to one-up me again," Mickelson said on Dan Patrick's radio show on Thursday.
Woods impressed on day one of the Valspar Championship, carding a one-under-par 70 to be tied for eighth alongside Sergio Garcia.
Canadian Corey Conners leads the way at Innisbrook heading into the second round in Florida.
On Woods, Mickelson added: "We've gotten pretty close over the last couple of years, with the team events and his great leadership that he's had as a vice-captain at the Ryder Cup, Presidents Cup. ... We've been pulling hard for each other."