Tiger Woods has hailed Colin Montgomerie's eight European Order of Merit titles as "truly one of the remarkable feats of modern golf" and believes the Scot can one day win a major.
But Montgomerie has had little time to rest on his laurels after his record-breaking feat.
Despite feeling "physically and mentally whacked" he is here for the start of the new campaign and has Woods to contend with at the £2.7 million HSBC Champions' tournament.
They are paired together for the opening two rounds of Asian golf's richest event, with the world No 1 saying: "We battled this year at the Open and it's always a lot of fun competing against Monty, because he's one of the best competitors out there.
"Monty winning eight ( Order of Merit titles) is truly one of the remarkable feats of modern golf, because of the consistency that it takes to do that.
"As far as winning a major championship in the future, I can certainly see Monty doing that because he still has the game to do it.
"He drives the ball very straight and it's just a matter of him putting all of the pieces together at the right time, just like anybody.
"Now, with the added confidence that he has, he should be a factor in majors to come."
When told of Woods' assessment of his eight money-list crowns, the 42-year-old Scot raised his eyebrows and said: "That was nice of him - I appreciate it coming from him.
"As for his achievements, I can't say any more than anyone else has said.
"I truly believe that we have the best sportsman in the world playing the game of golf right now.
"Who could say that he would have won ten majors before he was 30? And who knows if he can't go on to have 19 majors in the bag? It would be astonishing to beat the one record (Jack Nicklaus' 18) we always thought would remain safe.
"He has certainly rewritten every record book going and we're all benefiting from the unique talent of Tiger Woods."
Montgomerie has yet to win an event in which the American has played but, in finishing second to him at the Open in July, he did outscore him - 70 to 71 - in the one round when they were playing partners.
Montgomerie went on to clinch yet another Order of Merit at Valderrama two weeks ago, but the Scot said: "I was very tired and lethargic afterwards. It was such a draining experience."
His mind was alert enough yesterday, though, not to be caught out when asked when he might win a major. "April," he said. "I would love to achieve it one day and the second Sunday in April is on the agenda."
After failing to qualify this year, he is back in the Masters then, of course.
World No 2 Vijay Singh and Ireland's Padraig Harrington, like Woods were all in Atlanta last week. Singh finished second to Woods on the US Tour money-list with well over £4 million, but after winning it last year and grabbing the world No 1 spot, the Fijian said: "I got very complacent. I kind of slowed down with the way I was practising and working out. There were a lot more obligations and they got in the way.
"I missed playing well. I missed winning golf tournaments (his last victory was in July) and I want to start doing that again."
This week's event is primarily designed to bring together the past season's winners, so it is easy to understand Sandy Lyle's delight at being part of the 75-man field. His last victory was 1992 and he lost his European Tour card last month. The 47-year-old from Shropshire received a sponsor's invitation last week. Lyle finished 147 places behind Montgomerie on the Order of Merit.
Lyle is joined in China by three more Midlanders, Atherstone's Paul Broadhurst and Steve Webster and Droitwich man John Bickerton.