Golfing icon Jack Nicklaus believes fellow great Tiger Woods will never reach his major title record. Nicklaus is golf’s most successful major champion, winning 18 flagship events during his remarkable playing career.
It was expected that Golden Bear’s record would be broken by Woods though, after the American won a remarkable 14 majors in just 11 years between 1997 and 2008. With Woods just four major wins behind Nicklaus at the age of 31, he looked certain to pass the magic number of 18 at some point in his career.
Things have not gone to plan for the 82-time PGA Tour winner though, who was forced to wait another 11 years to add a 15th major after being crowned Masters champion in 2019. Woods’ slower win rate in recent years has been largely down to his struggles with injury.
This was only heightened in 2021, when the American suffered career-threatening injuries in a car crash in Los Angeles. Since then Woods has competed just six times on the PGA Tour, having withdrawn from two of these events due to his fitness problems.
Nicklaus believes this hampered the 82-time Tour winner of eclipsing his major record. Speaking to the Golf Channel, he admitted: “If he remained healthy I think he would’ve gotten it, but he didn’t remain healthy… I feel bad for him.”
Woods’ latest injury knock back came at last year’s Masters, where he was forced to withdraw after making the cut due to an ankle injury. This led to a eight-month spell on the sideline before he finally made his return at December’s Hero World Challenge.
Whilst competing in the Bahamas, Woods admitted he was hoping to play at least once a month in 2024, but is unlikely to feature. His return is expected to come next month, when he hosts the Genesis Invitational at Riviera.
It remains to be seen just how long Woods will continue to compete on the PGA Tour, and Nicklaus sees him taking the step to the Champions Tour, where he expects him to dominate. “I think Tiger will play the senior tour,” he added. “He’d be able to get in a cart, and he’ll absolutely kill everybody.”