The world-renowned golf coach, Dave Pelz, has backed Phil Mickelson to replace Tiger Woods at the top of the world rankings.

Mickelson won his third Masters at Augusta and Pelz believes ‘Lefty’ possesses a game equal or better to the current world number one.

The putting guru, who has worked with Mickelson for all four of his Majors, said: “Potentially he (Tiger) is the best player in the world – and has been for a while, but I wouldn’t say he is that player right now just because of his lay-off.

“I definitely think Phil has a better short game than Tiger. I would say Phil is his equal or better in every aspect. I think Phil is a great putter and I would not trade any parts of his game for Tiger’s.”

Mickelson has beaten Woods at the Tour Championship, HSBC Champions and at Augusta, moving him closer to the 14-time Major winner.

Pelz added: “I think he (Phil) will challenge and hopefully ascend to the number one spot this year. I hope Tiger plays his very best. That’s what I would like to see and have Phil beat him when he’s playing his best.”

And the author of the ‘Short Game Bible’ acknowledges the current inviting situation for his student, saying: “Phil doesn’t have to change anything in his life. On the other hand Tiger is facing trying to change his recent behaviour and I don’t know how difficult that is.”

Both players will be present at the Players Championship, starting on May 6.

Where next?

Tour news: R&A warning to Woods hecklers at St Andrews
Equipment: Putters: Gear focus
Competitions: Win a place in De Vere Seniors PGA