Tiger Woods
Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson have been long-time rivals on the PGA Tour. Getty

Tiger Woods admitted it was ‘very cool’ to watch his old rival Phil Mickelson win the World Golf Championship in Mexico on Sunday and believes it is still possible for the old guard to challenge the younger generation for the major honors.

Mickelson became the oldest player to win a World Golf Championship event after he beat current world number two Justin Thomas on the first playoff hole in Mexico. It was his first tournament win since winning the Open Championship at Muirfield in 2013.

Woods, a 14-time major winner, was happy to see a player from his generation win a tournament and was confident the veterans on tour like himself will be able to keep up and challenge the current generation of players like Thomas, Jordan Spieth, Rory McIlroy and Bruce Koepka.

Tiger Woods
Tiger Woods is preparing for his fourth event of the year — the Valspar Championships in Florida. Getty

The 42-year-old cited some examples of players who have been successful later in their careers and said he will be hoping to join the 40+ title winning club by picking up a title of his own before the end of the 2018 season. The American golf icon also won his last tournament in 2013 — the WGC Bridgestone Invitational.

"I thought it was great,'' Woods said ahead of his first round in the Valspar Championship on Thursday, as quoted on ESPN. “He's been playing well. I mean he played well at the end of last year and got off a great start this year. He's been in contention a few times. It was a very, very small margin and what he did on Sunday was very, very cool to watch."

“It's both,'' the 14-time major winner said about being motivated by the younger generation and the veterans. “To watch the young guys do what they're doing, that's what they're supposed to do. They come out on tour, established themselves. What Phil is doing is showing us we can still do it later in our careers. Davis (Love) did it at 51 (winning in 2015), Phil at 47. I think Kenny Perry won a handful of events (in his late 40s). So there are guys who can do it late in their career.”

Woods continues his latest comeback from injury at the Valspar Championship in Florida and said he was delighted that he had a chance to compete and fight for titles once again. During his time out with injury, there were spells when he was uncertain about returning to ever play competitive golf again.

The former world number one, currently ranked 388, played three events thus far this year with a best finish of 12th at the Honda Classic. Woods is aware that he is not yet at his best, but is confident of getting there as the season progresses.

“For me, I'm ecstatic to have a chance to play again and have a chance to win golf tournaments and compete. There's a while there where I didn't look like I was ever going to be out here again, not in the capacity of a professional player. But here I am playing again and it's a lot of fun,” the American added.