Nicklaus: Woods can win majors again
Jack Nicklaus believes Tiger Woods can still overtake his major record despite being beset by injury woes in recent years.
Woods has been four short of Nicklaus' record of 18 titles since winning the 2008 U.S. Open at Torrey Pines – where he beat Rocco Mediate in a play-off.
Eclipsing Nicklaus seemed inevitable at that point but back and knee injuries, plus personal issues, have seen Woods fall from grace.
He has returned to regular action this year and recorded three top-10 finishes, although he was well off the pace at the Masters in April.
Augusta may not have delivered his first major in a decade, but Nicklaus is not dismissing the notion of Woods being a contender again.
"He is a tough competitor, he's a hard worker, and he's still driven,"Nicklaus said ahead of the Memorial Tournament. "So that's why I never counted him out. I still think he's got a shot at breaking my record.
"But whether he does or he doesn't, even with 10 years passing, it doesn't make any difference. I think he's still, he's still a great athlete and a great golfer.
"Tiger's swing right now is probably better than it was. If Tiger can just play reasonably well tee to green, with his short game, he will be in contention.
"I think he'll win [again] and do I think he'll win majors again? Yeah, I think he'll win majors again."
At the @MemorialGolf, golf carts yield for major champions. And for 4-time winners like @McIlroyRory, Barbara & I prefer to stop and chat! Welcome back, Rory, and best of luck this week, my friend! pic.twitter.com/6VIw9UNGup— Jack Nicklaus (@jacknicklaus) May 29, 2018
Nicklaus has not ruled out Woods winning a sixth title at Memorial this week, and says once he gets one victory, more could quickly follow.
"Tiger does need to learn how to win again, absolutely," added 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."