The way Arnold Palmer seems to see it, getting a new rival to challenge Tiger Woods wouldn’t delay the sport’s greatest current golfer from taking the all-time majors record — in fact, it may be just what he needs to push him to it.
While Palmer was non-committal when asked by Yahoo! Sports whether Woods would pass Jack Nicklaus‘ record of 18 majors, he did say Woods was at least capable of the feat. He pointed out what he says needs to happen for Woods to punch out the final seven wins to surpass Nicklaus.
“If the competition is there, he’s going to be pressed to be better,” Palmer said, noting Woods hasn’t had a real rival pushing him.
Palmer also mentioned the mental toughness he says Woods needs to get the final majors. While Woods has regained his form recently, he’s flopped hard when it comes to majors, with some saying the pressure of the opportunities is too much for him, even if his skills haven’t diminished too much.
“The psychology of getting in position and then being able to carry it forward [to a win] … when he was younger, that was pretty easy to do,” Palmer said. “Now that he’s older, it will be more difficult. He’ll have to really struggle. I think he’ll find it. I think he’s still about as good as you can get, but it’ll be difficult.”
Palmer said Woods “can” catch Nicklaus, but he paused when asked if he “will.”
“Very questionable,” he said.
That’s a word that also aptly describes Woods’ recent majors play.