Jack Nicklaus seems like the perfect person to diagnose Tiger Woods’ golf problems.
The Golden Bear is the only one ahead of Woods on the all-time majors wins list. But that hasn’t given Nicklaus a better feel for Woods’ struggles than anyone else.
“I’m a bit puzzled by it,” Nicklaus told NBC at the Honda Classic on Sunday. “I’ve seen Tiger a little bit in the last several months, but he looked great. Physically, he looks fantastic. Mentally, he’s talking. He sounded great.
“Then he goes and plays and he either physically can’t make it — maybe mentally and physically they work together. I don’t really know. I’m not sure if anyone knows. It’s sad to me because he’s such a great talent. He’s a good kid. He’s got so much ability. I’m sad to see it happen to him. I hope he gets it corrected.”
Woods once appeared destined to break — and possibly shatter — Nicklaus’ career mark of 18 majors.
Woods was 32 when he captured major No. 14, claiming the 2008 U.S. Open after a 19-hole playoff thriller with Rocco Mediate. Nicklaus got his 14th at age 35, a two-stroke victory at the 1975 PGA Championship.
But Woods hasn’t added to his major collection since.
He went from August 2015 to January without playing due to back issues, then promptly missed the cut at the Farmers Insurance Open. Back spasms forced him to withdraw after one round at the Dubai Desert Classic and kept him out of the Genesis Open, the Honda Classic and even a scheduled press conference.
“That is the biggest puzzle to me that I know,” Nicklaus said. “I just don’t know where he is and where his mind is.”