Nicklaus – Tiger’s here to win

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Jack Nicklaus believes Tiger Woods has every chance of adding to his tally of 14 major titles at this week’s Masters.

Jack Nicklaus believes Tiger Woods has every chance of adding to his tally of 14 major titles at this week’s Masters.

A fifth Green Jacket for the world number one would move him to within just three of Nicklaus’ record 18 majors and the golfing legend would not be surprised to see that happen on Sunday.

“Why do you think he is here?” Nicklaus said. “I don’t think he is here for his health. He is here to play golf and to win if he can – and he can. He is a very good golfer and it is the first major of the year.

“He has taken large steps to get his life back in order and he wants to play golf. He is excited about wanting to play, I think that is great for him and great for the game.”

Nicklaus is phlegmatic about the prospect of his record being overhauled at some stage.

He added: “As far as I am concerned I did what I did and my record is what it was. If somebody – Tiger or somebody else – breaks that record, then they break it.

“There’s not much I can do about it. I am too old to go out and compete again, that is for sure. My 95mph club-head speed just wouldn’t get it done any more!”

Meanwhile, world number two Steve Stricker has insisted that playing in the group directly in front of Woods for the first two days will not hamper his own chances this week.

The galleries are sure to be swarming around Woods on his return to competition five months after lurid details of his private life began to surface.

But Stricker said: “To be right in front of him, there is going to be some extra movement going on, but I am not with him, so I guess it is not a good or a bad thing. You have got to deal with it. I have been in tough situations before and learned from them. This will be no different.”

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