Jack Nicklaus is the greatest golfer of all time and one heck of a classy individual. For more than a decade he’s had to answer questions and talk about Tiger Woods‘ pursuit of his majors record. Woods of course has 14 major wins on his resume, while Nicklaus holds the all-time mark with 18.
Tiger’s back surgery has put him on the shelf for the 2014 Masters, which will keep his major-win drought going. At this point, it’s going to hit the six-year mark — something no one would have believed back in 2008.
So given the ‘hard times’ that Woods has fallen on and the serious doubts around him breaking the majors record, Nicklaus has actually come out and said that he feels bad for him.
Here’s what the GOAT told Mike and Mike:
“I feel very bad for Tiger. He’s really worked towards my record. I still think he’ll break my record. As long as he is physically able to do it…He’s 38 years old and he’s probably got another 10 years at least of being able to compete — that’s 40 more majors to win five of them. It shouldn’t be too difficult. But then again, I’ve always said he’s just gotta do it. It’s gonna be difficult, but if I said anything different I think I would be a jerk. So I think I better say he will do that…and I actually believe that.”
As per usual, The Golden Bear stayed classy and respectful with his comments. But does he really feel bad for Tiger? I have a hard time buying it. But if he’s not willing to say it, I will — no one should ever feel bad for Tiger Woods.
Feeling bad for Tiger Woods because he’s having a hard time staying healthy at age 38, is like feeling bad for Warren Buffett when he loses a few million dollars on a bad business day. Point being — they don’t need any more glory or riches.
If Tiger’s career ended tomorrow, you could still argue that he’s the best golfer of all time. At worst, he’s probably a close second behind Nicklaus. Obviously, he wants to be the GOAT. But what highly successful athlete doesn’t?
On top of all that, Woods is rich beyond his wildest dreams and he can basically do whatever he wants, whenever he wants, for the rest of his life. I just have a hard time feeling bad for someone like that.
From a competitive POV, I get it. As a fellow professional and someone who’s been there, the Golden Bear feels bad for Woods. If you really think about it, he’s the only person in the world who could possibly understand what it’s like to be disappointed with 14 major wins.
For now, Woods will have to remain the greatest golfer of his generation. Poor guy.