Tiger Woods’ recent struggles have been severe and well documented. Now, the person whose records he’s chasing, and perhaps his only historical peer, has chimed in.
Jack Nicklaus, winner of 18 majors, gave his thoughts on Woods’ woes on the course in a Golf Channel interview on Friday.
"Tiger is struggling, I don't think there's any question about that," Nicklaus said. “I think he's struggling more between his ears than he is anyplace else.”
Woods is in the midst of an indefinite leave of absence from the game to recover his form. It was recently reported that he will not be playing in next week’s upcoming Honda Classic. The break from golf comes after missing the cut at the Waste Management Phoenix Open after a second-round 82 and a withdraw at the Farmers Insurance Open. The two tournaments were his return to golf after a two-month layoff after back surgery. The 39-year-old has long-chased Nicklaus’ 18-major record, while other young golfers have begun to catch up to him. The big tournaments, however, are what matter to Woods and he appears to ready himself for the Masters in April.
Woods will have to work on his short game, where he has struggled most. He has frequently badly miss-hit short chips and pitches since returning to the game. Some have questioned his ability to return to the game, although it seems premature to write the legend off. Nicklaus agrees that the now 66th-ranked golfer can find his game.
"I think Tiger will turn it around," Nicklaus said. "He's too dedicated, he works too hard at it, he's got too much talent. He'll figure it out. And personally, I think he needs to figure it out himself. Because a teacher can't teach what's inside your head. You've got to be able to put that positive thought into your head yourself."
Nicklaus even went as far as saying Woods can still catch his record, a feat many have long given up on.
“He's got a lot of golf in front of him,” Nicklaus said. “But it's going to be up to him, he's still got to do it. He may; he may not.”