Jack Nicklaus remains confident Tiger Woods will surpass his mark of 18 major titles despite facing a level of competition the Golden Bear says is as good as any that’s ever been in golf.
Nicklaus was in Charleston, S.C., for the opening of a pizza restaurant, in which he and son Gary are investors. Nicklaus said he’s never wavered from believing the 37-year-old Woods will eventually pull out of his majors drought — he hasn’t won one since the 2008 U.S. Open — and win the five titles necessary to move past Nicklaus.
These days, Woods “has as many good players as we’ve ever had in the game,” Nicklaus said.
“If you look at it realistically, Tigers’ probably got another 10 years of top golf,” Nicklaus said. “That’s 40 majors. Can he win five of them? I think he probably will.”
Nicklaus went through several major droughts in his career. He didn’t win for more than three years between the 1967 U.S. Open and the 1970 British Open.
Nicklaus said one major difference between his run and Woods’ chase is the national attention. Nicklaus didn’t even consider the historic context of his run until 19720 when a golf writer mentioned he had just won No. 10 — and the fourth of his six green jackets — at the 1972 Masters and trailed then-leader Bobby Jones by three.
“I never worried about it,” Nicklaus said. “I wasn’t thinking about records at the time.”
Champions Tour: Mark Wiebe opened with an 8-under 64 to take a two-stroke lead in the first round over Mark Calcavecchia and John Cook at the Pacific Links Hawaiian Championship in Kapolei. Brian Henninger was three strokes back.
European Tour: Francesco Molinari shot a 5-under 67 and shares the lead after the second round of the Italian Open in Turin. Molinari is tied with Felipe Aguilar of Chile and Simon Thornton of Ireland at 9-under 135.