Tiger Woods Admits Nicklaus Forever Better Than Me

Andy Reistetter@GolfWriter59Analyst IJanuary 6, 2010

DUBLIN, OH - JUNE 07:  Tiger Woods (R) and Jack Nicklaus (L) are seen during the final round of the Memorial Tournament at the Muirfield Village Golf Club on June 7, 2009 in Dublin, Ohio.  (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
Scott Halleran/Getty Images

Tiger Woods has razzle-dazzled us with his golfing abilities as he competed in 253 tournaments in a little over 13 years on tour. Winning 71 of them, including 14 majors,  he has earned the distinction of perhaps the best player to ever play the game sans Jack Nicklaus.

Many would argue the most important title of the best "golfer" of all time; not simply the best "player" of the game.

Tiger is on that track to challenge Jack Nicklaus.

Only time will tell if his greatness will extend beyond Nicklaus' in golfing lore.

Nicklaus with his 18 major victories played in 594 PGA TOUR events winning 73 of them.

With only three more victories Tiger will surpass Nicklaus.

On average, that is only a half a year's work for Tiger.

The only thing ahead of the now freshly minted 34-year old Tiger at that point to beat is Slammin' Sammy Sneed's 82 wins in the record book.

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That's another year and a half of work for the No. 1 ranked golfer in the world to overtake Sneed.

Wait a minute you say—hold the presses—isn't it all about winning Major Championships?

Yes it is and Tiger is four behind Nicklaus in that category.

Can Tiger get hot and win five-of-six Majors again like he did back at the end of 1999 through the start of the 2001 seasons?

Let's see where the majors are being contested in 2010.

At Augusta National (Masters), Pebble Beach (U.S. Open), the Old Course at St. Andrews, Scotland (British Open), and at Wisconsin's Whistling Straits (PGA).

Tiger is 4-for-15 at the Masters, never missing one since first playing there in 1995 as an amateur.

Tiger is 3-for-15 in U.S. Opens including 1-for-1 at Pebble Beach, where he won in 2000 by 15 strokes. He also has never missed a U.S. Open.

Tiger is 3-for-14 in British Opens including 2-for-2 at St. Andrews winning in 2000 and 2005. The last person to win an Open at St. Andrews other than Tiger is John Daly.

Tiger is 4-for-12 in PGA Championships though 0-for-1 at Whistling Straits.

Without a choice due to his reconstructive left knee surgery, Woods missed the Open at Birkdale and the PGA at Oakland Hills in 2008.

Get the picture here?

Not only is 2010 the Year of the Tiger in the Chinese Zodiac but as far as major championship venues, this is Tiger's year.

It is definitely possible that in two years time we could be sitting here with Woods as the undisputed best golfer of all time.

It will be a lively discussion…

Tiger has already stated his belief that Nicklaus is and will always be the best golfer of all time.

On the Wednesday of the 2008 PLAYERS Championship, Nicklaus received the Lifetime Achievement award from the PGA TOUR.

Tiger was neither able to attend nor compete in THE PLAYERS due to his third left knee arthroscopic surgery.

Commissioner Finchem read the following letter from Tiger to Jack:

"No one I can think of is more deserving.

"Your impact on golf has been incredible to say the least and I count myself among the millions of fans who consider you to be the greatest of all time .

"Your record of 118 (worldwide) tournament victories (including 73 sanctioned by the PGA TOUR) and 18 major championships alone is reason enough to receive this honor.

"However, equally important are your commitment to philanthropy, your skill as a course designer, and your steadfast dedication to family.

"These values insure your contribution to golf will forever be unmatched and make you the man whose path we all seek to emulate .

"Thank you for being such a tremendous mentor to me and so many others."

"Congratulations Jack, Tiger Woods"

And who says Tiger Woods is self-centered?

Let's compare his performance or potential in the areas of greatness he outlined in his letter to Jack.

Tournament records: It is probable that Tiger is likely to surpass Nicklaus.

Philanthropy: The billion dollar athlete will undoubtedly surpass Nicklaus if he has not already.

Skill as course designer: to be determined as Tiger is only getting started.

Steadfast dedication to family: well, not exactly as evidenced by recent disclosures.

So Wednesday, May 7, 2008 is the date stamp for Tiger Woods admitting Jack Nicklaus is the forever unmatched greatest golfer of all time.

However, President Clinton taught us it all depends on what the meaning of the word "is" is.

Maybe Tiger will sing a different tune once he has 83 victories and 19 majors in his pockets.

In the minds of many people it all depends not only on what Tiger does on a golf course over the next two years, but what Tiger does at home in the next two months with respect to his wife Elin and his children Sam Alexis and Charlie Axel.

Tiger: Do you want to be the world's all time greatest "player" or the world's all time greatest golfer?

Andy Reistetter is a freelance golf writer. He follows the PGA TOUR volunteering and working part time for NBC Sports, CBS Sports, and The Golf Channel.


He resides in Jacksonville Beach, Florida near the PGA TOUR headquarters and home of The PLAYERS Championship at TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach.


He enjoys pursuing his passion for the game of golf and everything associated with it. He can be reached through his website www.MrHickoryGolf.net or by e-mailing him to Andy@MrHickoryGolf.net

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