Golden Bear predicts Tiger will struggle to catch him

It has always been a question of when and not if – but now Jack Nicklaus is not sure. In fact, the Golden Bear feels that if Tiger Woods's "indefinite break" from golf stretches too far into 2010 then his major record may yet live to fight another generation.

Nicklaus was asked for his opinions in a press conference which was supposed to mark the 70th birthday he will celebrate in two weeks' time. But in comments which sounded suspiciously like a challenge to the golfer who stands four off his major haul of 18, Nicklaus opened up on the subject currently obsessing the professional fairways.

"I don't know what he's going to do and where he's going to play," said Nicklaus. "But if Tiger is going to pass my record I think this is a big year. If he does not play this year, obviously the chore will be a little tougher."

The argument from Nicklaus is a persuasive one, regardless of whether the stature of Woods the competitor will be compromised by his new status as Tiger the serial philanderer.

As Nicklaus says about the venues which will host the first three majors of the year, "Tiger basically owns all three places". Consider the fact that half of Woods's 14 majors have been gained at these courses. He has won the Masters four times, the Open twice at St Andrews (by a combined total of 13 shots) and the US Open at Pebble Beach (by a record 15 shots).

Furthermore, while Woods has won seven of the 17 majors he has contested as a professional at these courses, elsewhere he has not been nearly as successful. The ratio stands at "just" seven from 37.

Not that Nicklaus is licking his lips at the prospect of a protracted period of Woods inactivity as Tiger tries to save his marriage in the wake of the sordid revelations of what he called "my transgressions". "Tiger is a big influence, probably the largest one we have ever had and, certainly, we hope he comes back and plays," he said.

However, if Woods chooses not to, Nicklaus is clearly not one of those doom-mongers who believe it would destroy the sport. "It's not all about one person," he said. "This game is a big game. There was Bobby Jones, Arnold Palmer, Gary Player, Jack Nicklaus... golf survived after us. It will continue to go forward."

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

Join the tequila gold rush

The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
12 best statement wallpapers

12 best statement wallpapers

Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

Paul Scholes column

Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?