AUGUSTA, Ga. — Tiger Woods ended a decade-long majors drought with his victory at the 2019 Masters. A win that revived the discussion if Woods can catch Jack Nicklaus’ 18 majors mark. And a win that has the Golden Bear worried Tiger will.
Nicklaus, who served alongside Gary Player as an honorary starter this week, was in the Bahamas during Woods’ historic triumph on Sunday. But Nicklaus found time to call into “Live at the Masters” to give his thoughts on Woods’ feat. According to Nicklaus, this may be only the beginning of Woods 2.0.
“I’ve been saying—everybody kept asking me, ‘What about Tiger? Can he win another major?’ I kept saying, ‘I think so. I think he will,’” Nicklaus told the Golf Channel. “And the reason I said that is because it all depended on Tiger’s health. If Tiger is healthy, he didn’t need to worry about his driver. He never drove the ball straight anyway. He always, from somewhere, he got the ball up around the green. He’s such a great putter, he has such a great short game, he has such distance control with his irons – unbelievable distance control, the best I’ve ever seen of anybody in the game.
“If you get a guy who can do that, even if Tiger wasn’t healthy, if he could bunt the ball off the tee somewhere, with his iron game and his short game, he’s going to win again. And he topped it off this week, by driving the ball with it.”
Nicklaus continued that, with a 2019 major slate that’s historically favored Woods, he would be surprised if Tiger notched another major this summer.
“You know, the next two majors are at Bethpage, where he’s won, and Pebble Beach, where he’s won,” Nicklaus said. “So, you know, he’s got me shaking in my boots, guys.”
The subject of 18 majors also arose during Woods’ post-win press conference, but Woods, rightfully, was trying to stay in the present. “You know, I really haven’t thought about that yet,” said Woods. “I’m sure that I’ll probably think of it going down the road. Maybe, maybe not. But right now, it’s a little soon, and I’m just enjoying 15.”
The next major on tap is the PGA Championship. Held for the first time at Bethpage Black, the tournament begins May 16. Woods finished second at last year’s PGA Championship, while winning the 2002 U.S. Open at the Long Island venue.