Woods eyes run at Nicklaus' major record

Tiger Woods is poised to make a run at Jack Nicklaus's record 18 major victories having won the Masters at Augusta National.

15-Apr-2019 By Evin Priest, Australian Associated Press
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Jack Nicklaus says the steely nerves of Tiger Woods mean it may be only a matter of time before his long-standing record of 18 golf major titles is toppled.

Capping one of sport's greatest comebacks, Woods breathed new life into his career-long quest to surpass Nicklaus by ending an 11-year major title drought with his fifth Masters victory on Sunday.

The 43-year-old took his majors total to 15 and sparked emotional scenes when he came from behind amid deafening roars around Augusta National to secure his first since the 2008 US Open.

Now the big question is how much more he can achieve.

"He (Woods) is playing so much better than anyone else, he deserves to win," an admiring Nicklaus said.

"Every shot I saw him hit (in the final round) was a smart shot."

Often considered impregnable, Nicklaus's record has stood for 33 years since he won the last of his six Masters titles in 1986 at age 46.

He treasures his place at the top in golf history but says it's Woods's putting performance that best indicates he can challenge it.

"To pinpoint one thing that helps longevity at Augusta National it's putting. @TigerWoods was perfect today inside 10 feet," Nicklaus posted on Twitter after the third round.

"Putting is about nerve (and) nerves. As long as Tiger has that under control, he can win at the Masters for (the) next 10 years. Tiger's nerve is still pretty darn good!"

An 81st PGA Tour win propelled Woods to world No.6 less than two years after he was ranked No.1199.

He started Sunday two shots off the lead and shot a strategic two-under-par 70 to win at 13-under 275 as his rivals faltered, triumphing by one shot from Dustin Johnson (68), Xander Schauffele (68) and Brooks Koepka (70).

"It's something I'll never forget," an emotional Woods said.

Plagued by chronic injuries, which forced repeated back surgeries, and off-course scandals, fans feared they would never see the superstar win on the majors stage again.

But Woods's last three results at the majors include this win, a runner-up at the PGA Championship and a sixth at the British Open.

"I can win majors now," said Woods, who also earned his first PGA Tour victory since 2013 at last year's Tour Championship.

"The win at East Lake was a big confidence-booster for me because I had come close a couple times without getting across the finish line," he said.

"I didn't do it at The Open Championship. I was a little better at the PGA but still I didn't win.

"I (can) still win out here and against the best players.

"My last three major championships have been pretty good, so that gives me a lot of confidence going down the road."

Fuelling hope Woods can reach a 16th major this year is the fact next two venues are courses he has won at previously.

The PGA Championship, in its new May date, will be held at New York's Bethpage Black.

Woods defeated Phil Mickelson there to win the 2002 US Open while he also finished tied sixth at the 2009 edition.

The US Open heads to Pebble Beach in June, the coastal California course Woods recorded the most dominant major victory in history when he won the 2000 event by 15 shots.


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