Jack Nicklaus wasn’t surprised that Tiger Woods won the Masters on Sunday, while joking that his major record of 18 wins was in serious danger.
Woods ended an 11-year wait for his 15th major title at Augusta National on Sunday, re-igniting his quest to surpass Nicklaus on the all-time list of major winners.
— Jack Nicklaus (@jacknicklaus) April 14, 2019
Nicklaus’ record seemed safe as houses as little as two years ago when Woods could barely walk and was ranked outside the top 1000, but what a difference 24 months can make.
Still three years younger than Nicklaus when he won his final major, Woods must now be seen as a legitimate contender for the record, and Nicklaus doesn’t seem all that surprised that the winds have changed.
“You just watch it all day long and you say, ‘This is a man who is possessed. He’s possessed to win a golf tournament,'” Nicklaus said on Live from the Masters. “He’s absolutely under total control and he’s going to get it done. And he did.
“I mean there wasn’t any question in mind, after seeing [Francesco] Molinari hit the ball in the water at 12, and Tiger put it on the green. I said ‘tournament’s over.’ It doesn’t make any difference what anyone else is going to do. Somebody is going to make enough mistakes, and Tiger won’t make any, and he didn’t.”
Many have drawn parallels between Nicklaus’ Masters victory in 86, which came after a six-year gap where he didn’t add to his major tally, and Woods’ win on Sunday, but Nicklaus subtly but firmly brushed those parallels aside by suggesting that his victory was even more out of left field than Woods’.
“The difference is that this year Tiger was coming back and he expected to be in contention. I didn’t really expect in ’86 to be in position to win,” he said.
“I got myself in position, and when I did, I remembered how to play. Tiger looked like he got himself in position and he knew how to play.”
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