PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. —
The Masters starts in 38 days, and Woods will be among the top two favorites to win a fifth green jacket, as he should be.
It’s foolish to suggest 37 is old, even on a left knee that has gone through as many surgeries as Woods has won green jackets. Nonetheless, with age time seems to go faster.
“I still think he can do it,” Nicklaus said. “But that said, he has still got to do it. He hasn’t won one in five years. He had better get with it if he’s going to.”
Even after the road to 18 majors went over a cliff at the end of 2009 — and it took Woods two years to recover from the public embarrassment of his infidelities, his injuries and yet another coaching change — Nicklaus stayed consistent in the belief that his own record will fall.
— “If Tiger is going to pass my record, this is a big year for him in that regard,” Nicklaus said at the start of the 2010 season, alluding to a major rotation that included Pebble Beach and St. Andrews.
— “I’m surprised that he has not bounced back by now,” Nicklaus said in March 2011. “He’s got such a great work ethic. He’s so determined to do what he wants to do. I’m very surprised that he has not popped back. I still think he’ll break my record.”
— “I don’t know whether he’s going to continue to beat guys ... whether these guys have all learned how to play or they all learned how to win, they’re probably no longer afraid of Tiger,” Nicklaus said in March 2012. “In my opinion, I still think Tiger will regain what he does. He will come back and play very, very well. Whether he breaks my record is another issue. I still think he will.”