Even though the two are likely to be linked together in golf lure for eternity, Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods are not best friends. In fact, according to Nicklaus, the two have rarely had a conversation of any substance. That’s not to say that there is any beef brewing between two of (if not the top two) greatest golfers in the history of the game. They just don’t hang out or chat on the phone. And there’s nothing wrong with that.
Nicklaus was speaking during The Masters when he expounded on his relationship (or lack thereof) with Woods.
“I never really had a conversation with Tiger that lasted more than a minute or two — ever,” Nicklaus said Thursday morning. “He stayed away from me from a conversation standpoint. Never had a conversation on the Masters in general. I’ve said, ‘Hello, how are you doing? Nice playing this year. You’ve played very well.’ End of conversation. People ask me, ‘Has Tiger ever talked to you about his record?’ Never one word.”
“The Golden Bear” went on to say that he finds the lack of conversation between the two in no way offensive, even if it did surprise him. I can imagine that it might be a little awkward for Woods to break the ice with the man whose record of 18 major championships he is hoping to surpass. If anything, the fact that he has kept his distance should be seen as a sign of respect for Nicklaus. After all, he is the man that Woods grew up idolizing, going so far as to keep track of when Nicklaus reached each milestone in his storied career.
“I asked him when he came to Florida if we wanted to come to The Bear’s Club,” Nicklaus said. “He stayed away from it. He didn’t want to intrude where I was. He never told me why, but other people told me, ‘He says he didn’t feel comfortable being there where I was because that was a record he was trying to break.’ I said, ‘I don’t care about that. We’d like to have you if you want to play and be part of it.’ He comes out and plays quite often. I’d include him in everything.
Woods is notorious for being a man that does his best not to let people get too close (I’ll pause while you try to come up with a joke about a Waffle House waitress), so it shouldn’t be too shocking that he’s kept his distance from Nicklaus. Tiger does what he feels is best for himself. And if that’s to keep Nicklaus at a bit of distance while still remaining cordial, there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.