Jack Nicklaus Can’t Relate To Tiger Woods And Doesn’t Want To, Either

by NESN Staff

June 11, 2015

DUBLIN, Ohio — Jack Nicklaus gets asked more about Tiger Woods than he ever did about the golf ball.

Nicklaus was in the broadcast booth at the Memorial on Saturday afternoon watching the highlights — really, the lowlights — of Woods posting a career-high 85 on a Muirfield Village course where he has won five times. There was a mixture of sympathy and surprise.

“I don’t have an answer for it, an explanation,” Nicklaus said. “I’m sure that he probably doesn’t, either. I think he’ll get it back, though. I still do. I think he’s just too focused. He’s too hard a worker and he’s got such a great work ethic.”

Most awkward was Sunday morning, when the best players of each college division were honored with the Jack Nicklaus Award. They were sitting on a stage with Nicklaus when he was asked if he ever could relate to what Woods was facing, and the college kids also were asked to weigh in.

“I don’t want to relate to it,” Nicklaus said, “and I don’t think they do, either.”

It was in 1979 when Nicklaus went through his first year without a win on the PGA Tour. He was 39. When the majors were over that year, Nicklaus said he might have touched his clubs three times the rest of the year. His short game was so appalling (sound familiar?) that Nicklaus said he putted around bunkers. His swing had become too vertical. So he stepped away.

“It took me four or five months, but I got my game back,” Nicklaus said. Indeed, he won two majors the following year at age 40.

And that’s where the comparisons end.

Thumbnail image via Brian Spurlock/USA TODAY Sports Images

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