Jack Nicklaus Says He Doesn't Know Where Tiger Woods' Mind Is

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistFebruary 27, 2017

Jack Nicklaus, left, talks with Tiger Woods after Woods won the Memorial golf tournament at the Muirfield Village Golf Club in Dublin, Ohio, Sunday, June 3, 2012. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)
Tony Dejak/Associated Press

Golfing legend Jack Nicklaus said on Sunday during the NBC Sports broadcast of the Honda Classic that he doesn't know where Tiger Woods' mindset is at the moment.

"And now, I don't know about Tiger," Nicklaus said, per the Associated Press (via ESPN). "That is the biggest puzzle to me that I know. I just don't know where he is and where his mind is. I don't know."

Nicklaus further elaborated on Woods, per Josh Berhow of Golf.com:

I've seen Tiger a little bit in the last several months, not in the last month or two. He looked great. Physically he looks fantastic … but he goes and plays and then he either physically can't make it, or mentally and physically maybe they work together — I don't really know, and I'm not sure he knows. It's sad to me cause he's such a great talent, he's a good kid. He's got so much ability and I'm sad to see it happen to him. I hope he gets it corrected.

Woods, who didn't play professionally since Aug. 2015 due to back issues, returned to action in January at the Farmers Insurance Open but missed the cut. He's since withdrawn from the Dubai Desert Classic and both the Genesis and Honda Opens with back spasms and even had to cancel a press conference.

Additionally, his agent, Mark Steinberg, revealed that doctors told Woods to "just stay horizontal," per Berhow. Steinberg also noted that answering questions at a press conference wouldn't reveal anything new about his condition, according to the AP.

"I think he's absolutely right," Nicklaus said about Woods skipping the presser. "You're going to ask him the same exact questions; it'll be the same exact answers that he had before. And I think from his standpoint, he'd be tired of answering them."

At one point in his career, Woods appeared destined to break Nicklaus' record of 18 majors. Woods won 14 majors by 2008 and was not only the most dominant force in golf but arguably the most iconic athlete in the world.

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But scandal and a litany of injuries stopped Woods in his tracks, and the once-bright star has never been able to recover his dominance on the course. In the process, golf has seen a new crop of superstars emerge, led by Jordan Spieth, Rory McIlroy and Jason Day.

And Nicklaus' record, once in imminent peril, remains untouched.