Jack Nicklaus believes Tiger Woods is capable of overhauling his record of 18 major championship victories but says he needs to learn how to win again
Jack Nicklaus believes Tiger Woods can still overhaul his record of 18 major championship victories.
Woods last won a major almost exactly 10 years ago, when he battled to a memorable play-off win at the 2008 US Open at Torrey Pines in Southern California.
That victory left him four shy of Nicklaus’s tally of 18 majors, a target that has looked increasingly beyond Woods in recent years during long injury layoffs.
Live PGA Tour Golf
May 31, 2018, 5:30pm
Get Sky Sports Get a Sky Sports pass
Nicklaus however, who will host this week’s Memorial tournament in Ohio, is convinced Woods can win majors again after playing with him on Monday at Shinnecock Hills, the venue for the 2018 US Open.
“Tiger has not had that much fun the last 10 years – and I would hate to go through what he has been through as he has been through a lot – but he is a hard worker, he is a tough competitor and he is still driven, so that is why I would never count him out,” said 78-year-old Nicklaus.
“Nobody ever said ‘how’s your record, Jack?’ as I have always said that if Tiger comes back and plays then he has still got a shot at breaking my record.
“Whether he does or he doesn’t, and even with now 10 years passing, it doesn’t make any difference – he is still a great athlete and a great golfer.”
Woods has not tasted success since 2013 when he won an eighth WGC – Bridgestone Invitational title and Nicklaus believes Woods needs to rediscover the ability to win tournaments.
“Tiger does need to learn how to win again, absolutely”, said Nicklaus.
“I recall in the ’86 Masters. I hadn’t won for a couple of years and I got to the last round. I got into the back nine after struggling on the front nine but then I made a putt on nine and I finally remembered how to play.
“So, in holing a couple of putts suddenly you remember – particularly if you have been a champion at one time as you will remember and you will have that to draw on.
“That is what I had to draw on. Tiger also has that to draw on but he has got to go through the barrier of not having done it for a while.
“When you haven’t won for a while that always happens. That is just human nature but when you have a guy as good as Tiger is and as competitive as he is, he’ll break through that barrier. I would not be surprised to see Tiger win this week.
The 42-year old Woods has returned to the Nicklaus-hosted Memorial for the first time since 2015 to tee-up in what will be his ninth event of 2018. It will be his first tournament appearance since sharing 11th place earlier this month in the Players Championship.