Nicklaus backing Woods to get back in winners circle

Golfing legend Jack Nicklaus is backing Tiger Woods to get back in the winners circle sooner rather than later.

The 14-time major champion has been clawing his way back up the world rankings since late last year, having finally recovered from three back surgeries.

Now, Woods returns this week to one of his happy hunting grounds at the Memorial Tournament, where he has lifted the Sunday silverware on five occasions and never missed the cut.

Woods arrived off the back of a positive start to the year, with a runner up and T5 finish under his belt in eight starts.

“I wouldn’t be a bit surprised to see Tiger win this week, not at all,” revealed Nicklaus on ESPN.

“I think he’s playing well, I think he loves the golf course; he’s always played well here and his [memories] of what he’s done here will come back into his head. That will help him play better.

“I would hate to have been through what he’s been through, because he’s been through a lot. But I think that he’s a tough competitor, he’s a hard worker and he’s still driven. That’s why I never counted him out.

“I think Tiger will be in contention for quite a while. I think he’ll win when he believes it himself between his ears. Maybe winning here, that would be one thing where he would start to believe he could do that. Wherever it might be. But I think he’ll win and I think he’ll win majors again.”

Standing in Woods’ way this weekend at Memorial are a host of superstars, including world number one Dustin Johnson, Justin Thomas, Jordan Spieth and last week’s Fort Worth Invitational winner Justin Rose.