Chasing history: Tiger Woods vs. Jack Nicklaus
Woods has been chasing Nicklaus' celebrated record of 18 major tournament wins (Masters, U.S. Open, British Open, PGA). But Woods missed the cut at the PGA on Friday, meaning he is 0 for 2011 and has failed to add any majors to his collection of 14.
Woods is 35. By that age Nicklaus had also won 14 majors, though the Golden Bear had a much better 35th year, winning the Masters and the PGA.
Woods' life and his golf game have been in a spiral since that car crash in November 2009, as he has tumbled from No. 1 to No. 30 in the world rankings and is winless on the course.
Although Woods and Nicklaus were both golf prodigies, Woods got off to a faster start by winning 10 majors in his twenties to Nicklaus' seven.
Nicklaus, though, was consistently great for a l-o-n-g time, with 24 years between his first major win and his last, at age 46 in the 1986 Masters. He also won eight majors in his thirties (so far Woods has four) and three more in his forties.
Next April, when Woods tees it up at the Masters, he will have gone nearly four years without winning a major. If Woods needs any inspiration, consider that Nicklaus won one more of each of the four major championships after turning 38.
Can Woods still beat Nicklaus’ major record?
Nicklaus was asked that question last spring. His answer: "He's still got to win five more, and that's more than a career for anybody else playing."
-- Barry Stavro
Photo: Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods during the Memorial Skins Game in June 2009 in Ohio. Credit: Jay LaPrete / Associated Press