Nicklaus backing Tiger feat
Jack Nicklaus has told Sky Sports News that he expects Tiger Woods to break his record of 18 major victories.
Last Updated: 19/05/09 12:05pm
Jack Nicklaus has told Sky Sports News that he expects Tiger Woods to break his record of 18 major victories, even though he's not yet back to his best form.
The reigning world number one has managed one tournament victory - in the Arnold Palmer Invitational - since returning from major knee surgery.
Woods missed much of the 2008 campaign after going under the knife following his play-off win at the US Open. The victory at Torrey Pines was Woods' 14th major - putting him just four behind 'The Golden Bear'.
Nicklaus doesn't expect to remain on top of the all-time list for too much longer, though, and is hoping he can be there to congratulate Woods when he makes it to number 19.
"Tiger is probably not back at this point. He's still winning or getting real close, but he's not playing his best," he said in an exclusive interview.
"When he gets to his best he's going to be tough again because he's a great player."
When asked if Woods will surpass his 18 majors, he replied; "I think he probably will.
"His work ethic is good enough and he's young enough. He certainly should pass that. But he's had four operations on the knee. He's had to change his swing, he's struggling with other things. You just don't know.
"I would suspect he would and I hope that I'm around to congratulate him when he does."
Nicklaus believes Woods' biggest competition will come from some of the talented youngsters who are currently coming through.
He picked out Rory McIlroy, who finished in a tie for 20th at The Masters this year in his first appearance in a major, and Anthony Kim as two to look out for.
"I've always said that Tiger's competition is going to come from the youth - people we haven't heard of yet," he added.
"Young McIlroy is coming along and Anthony Kim is coming along. We've got a variety of young players coming along that I've never physically watched play the game.
"It's hard to assess them properly, but we're going to have some good ones."