Dec 16th, 2015
More Jack on Tiger
Still thinks he'll win Majors
Words: The Brigadier Photography: Getty Images
Jack Nicklaus has been in New York to accept the Muhammad Ali Legacy Award presented to him by Sports Illustrated magazine. He said he thought Woods should make sure he is healed from his back woes before returning to competition.
Jack Nicklaus believes Tiger Woods will then resume his chase of his all-time record of 18 major professional golf titles but believes he may have trouble with the emerging young guns.
"I don't know how much he'll return next year. I don't know whether his health will allow him to return next year," Nicklaus told Reuters before being given the award for embodying the ideals of sportsmanship, leadership and philanthropy.
"I know he'll want to, but I think he needs to be patient. Don't come back too soon: let him get healthy. He's such a great athlete and such a good competitor. I think he'll come back, but don't hurt yourself. Be patient. He's got a lot of good golf left in him," said Nicklaus.
Nicklaus also fully appreciates that Woods will find the competition very hard upon his return.
"We've got a bunch of young players that are really good. They have benefitted from Tiger's misfortune," Nicklaus said of the likes of Jordan Spieth, Jason Day and Rory McIlroy.
"Instead of Tiger just dominating the game, they've had the ability to learn how to win without having somebody dominate over them.
"I firmly believe Tiger will be back and when he does, he's going to have a bunch of guys that are pretty hungry and trying to win and know how to do it."
Asked if he thought his record haul of 18 was safe from Woods, the 75-year-old Nicklaus said: "Who knows? I don't know whether it's safe or not. If it isn't, it's OK. I think Tiger will come back and he's got more to win."
We don’t tend to argue with Jack Nicklaus, and he’s right that Woods needs to take his time, but we think the game moved on this past year. But we’d love to be proved wrong.