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Tiger Woods: Why He'll Break Nicklaus' Majors Record

William PenfieldCorrespondent IIJuly 16, 2011

SAN DIEGO - JUNE 16:  Tiger Woods celebrates with the trophy after winning on the first sudden death playoff hole during the playoff round of the 108th U.S. Open at the Torrey Pines Golf Course (South Course) on June 16, 2008 in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

As the Open Championship is being played at Royal St. George's in England, Tiger Woods is nowhere to be found.

It marks the second straight major Woods has missed leading many to question whether Woods will break the record he once seemed to be a shoo-in to surpass. 

Will Tiger Woods break Jack Nicklaus' record of 18 major championships?

It is the never ending debate, now with more steam than ever due to the longevity of Woods' recent injury troubles. 

Will he ever be the same? Will his body ever heal? Were the events of November 2009 the beginning of the demise of the greatest golfer of all time?

So many question marks, not enough answers. 

One thing we do know, though, is Woods is at the top of his game in any major championship he plays, no matter the amount of time he takes off. 

Without playing in a tournament for months, Woods began his 2010 season at the Master's and was in contention throughout, eventually placing fourth. In 2010, Woods also managed to finish in fourth place at the U.S. Open Championship. 

Without much preparation, Wood's was able to finish in the top five, twice, in 2010 Major Championships, despite having a sub-par year in other tournaments, missing the cut at Quail Hollow and withdrawing from the Player's Championship. 

Woods returned to Major Championship play at the 2011 Masters, where he was able to finish in fourth for the second consecutive year. Despite injuries, Woods was able to stay in contention throughout the weekend. 

It is apparent Woods plays his best golf in Major Championships, like he always says, "The whole idea is that I peak four times a year."

Even without winning a Major Championship in two and a half years, Woods is still on pace to break Nicklaus' record. 

At the age of 32, Woods recorded his 14th Major Championship win. At the same age, Nicklaus only had 11. Nicklaus didn't reach 14 until the age of 35, Woods' age now, and didn't reach 15 until the age of 38. 

After winning No. 14 at 35, Nicklaus took 11 more years to reach the all-time record of 18 Major Championships, giving Woods 11 more years to eclipse that mark. If Woods returns for the PGA Championship this season, that will give him 45 more Major Championships to break Nicklaus' record in the same amount of time.

With the talent Woods has, it is hard to believe he can't win five of the next 45 Major Championships. To this point in his career, he has participated in 61 Major Championships, winning 14 of them, for a win percentage of 22.9 percent.

If that win percentage holds true, although unlikely, Woods should win 10 more majors by the time he is 46. To break Nicklaus' record of 18, Woods will have to win just 11 percent of the 45 Major Championships he will likely play in by the age of 46.

Of course, all this depends on whether Woods can get healthy and stay healthy.

But, if Woods can stay healthy, expect him to surpass Nicklaus' record of 18 Major Championships and go down in the history books as the greatest golfer of all time. 

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