BETHPAGE, United States (AFP) – Jack Nicklaus says Masters winner Tiger Woods has a ‘‘very good’’ chance of setting the record for all-time major golf titles, while even the usually cautious Woods calls overtaking Nicklaus ‘‘a possibility.’’
By winning his 15th major title last month at Augusta National, Woods put what was once the burning question in golf back on the lips of fans – ‘‘Can Tiger beat Jack?’’
Nicklaus won a record 18 career major titles, the last of them at age 46 at the 1986 Masters, and 43-year-old Woods can boost his total at next week’s 101st PGA Championship at Bethpage Black.
Woods ended an 11-year major win drought by capturing his fifth green jacket, having struggled with knee and back injuries since winning the 2008 US Open.
‘‘If his body holds together and he doesn’t have any issues, I’d say the chances of him breaking my record are very good,’’ Nicklaus told KXAS-TV in Dallas this week.
‘‘He has certainly created a huge big spark back into the game again. I think he’s swinging better than he has ever swung before.’’
Spinal fusion surgery in 2017, a last-chance move by Woods just to avoid back pain and have a normal life, allowed him to return to elite golf last year and contend for major titles at the British Open and PGA.