Tiger Woods FEARS revealed by golf legend Jack Nicklaus after shock Masters win at Augusta. Woods closed the gap to three with his 15th Major victory at Augusta and Nicklaus predicts that will not be the end of the story.
He feels there are more Majors in Woods and believes this year’s schedule offers a golden chance for the 43-year-old to strike again.
“Everybody kept asking me: ‘What about Tiger? Can he win another Major?’ I kept saying: ‘I think he will’,” said Nicklaus.
“After seeing Molinari hit the ball in the water at 12 and Tiger put it on the green I said: ‘Tournament’s over.’ He was possessed to win a golf tournament.
“No-one wants their records broken but I felt for a long time he was going to win again and the next two Majors are at Bethpage, where he’s won, and Pebble Beach, where he’s won. So, you know, he’s got me shaking in my boots.”
Woods destroyed the field at Pebble to win the US Open in 2000 by a record 15 strokes and also won the US Open at Bethpage in 2002 where the next Major, the USPGA Championship, is being held next month.
The Open, which is the last Major of the season in golf’s revised calendar, will be staged at Portrush where Woods has never played but he loves links golf and has three Claret Jugs to his name.
The big four will be Woods’s priority in a slimmed-down schedule as he tries to coax his battered body towards the target. That is more difficult at 43 because of the restrictions his back issues place on practice. The ice bath has become his new best friend.
“The hard part is I can’t work on my game like I used to. I can’t work on all facets of my game every day,” said Woods.
“My body doesn’t move like it used to – that is just Father Time and the procedures I have had and that is the way it is always going to be. But my hands are still good.
“Peaking for big events is a little bit more of a challenge but I proved to myself last year that I could do that when I came close to winning in two Majors so there was no reason why I couldn’t win one down the road. It just ended up being this week.”
Woods’s longevity is underlined by the fact that Tom Kite, the runner-up in his first Major win was born in 1949 while Xander Schauffele, the runner-up on Sunday was born in 1993. But the manner in which Woods closed the deal at Augusta has convinced Brooks Koepka, who also shared second, that the chase is back on.
“I don’t know how it looked on TV, but it was amazing to be a part of. What Tiger did down the stretch was impressive. We already knew he was back, but I think he put the exclamation point on it,” said Koepka.
“This is definitely one of the greatest comebacks I think anybody’s ever seen. I think 18 is a whole lot closer than people think.”
The hype surrounding Woods will be off the scale as he pursues Nicklaus’s mark but his caddie Joe La Cava insists there is no rush.
“It’s nice to get to 15 – 18 isn’t a thought. Now 15’s here, let’s get to 16,” said La Cava. “Is it in play? Sure. The guy’s 43 years old and a guy like him could win when they’re 50 but 16 is the next mission.”