Nicklaus says Tiger will play in Augusta; I say, ‘Well, duh’

He’s embarrassed, sure, and it seems he’s contrite. But he’s also the world’s best golfer, and if you’re the world’s best golfer the one thing that overrides embarrassment and contrition is a major championship. And they hold one of those every April in this state.

Jack Nicklaus, who won 18 majors and therefore has a keen sense of their worth, said it Wednesday: Tiger Woods will be back when it’s tee time in Augusta. “It would surprise me if he didn’t [play the Masters],” Nicklaus told reporters in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., according to Bob Harig of ESPN.

Then, even more on point: “I can’t imagine in a hundred years he is going to miss Augusta.”

Unlike, say, Roberto De Vicenzo, Nicklaus is good at math. Forget the number of women with which Woods has allegedly dallied. (Last I checked, the estimate was 19, not counting his wife.) The key numbers here are 18 and 14.

Nicklaus: “If Tiger is going to pass my record, I think this is a big year for him in that regard. If he doesn’t play this year, obviously the chore is going to be a little tougher.”

Nicklaus won 18 majors. Woods has 14. As Harig notes, half those 14 have come at courses on this year’s major rotation. Said Nicklaus: “He obviously loves Augusta, Pebble Beach [site of the 2010 U.S. Open] and St. Andrews [site of the British]. He basically owns all three of those places.”

The Masters is next month, as you might know,  and guess what? According to an Associated Press press report that appeared Tuesday, Woods is home in Florida and practicing again after a week of family counseling in Arizona. And the third paragraph of the AP report, written by Doug Ferguson, will stand forever as a masterstroke of facts-with-a-twist  journalism. Here it is:

Woods returned to his home near Orlando on Saturday and has been hitting balls on the range at Isleworth, not far from where he ran his SUV into a fire hydrant and a tree in a middle-of-the-night accident on Nov. 27 that set off shocking revelations of infidelity.

I don’t know if they have neighborhood co-op meetings at Tiger’s ritzy gated community, but if they do, I’m pretty sure the first item on his agenda will be this: “Can’t we do something about all these darn hydrants?”

86 comments Add your comment

Liz

March 4th, 2010
12:29 pm

Damn so close

March 4th, 2010
12:32 pm

Gordon

March 4th, 2010
12:35 pm

Woods will come back stronger than ever, and will pass Nicklaus within 5 years at the latest, probably within 3. His marketability took a hit, not his golf game.

JTH

March 4th, 2010
12:40 pm

I hope he wins so we can focus on his golf game.

All I'm Saying Is...

March 4th, 2010
12:41 pm

Tiger messed up big time and he has paid and will continue to pay the price.

As for me, I’ve long since moved on with respect to the errors of his ways.

I want him back on the fairways, greens, traps, etc. of the golf course doing his thing and making the rest of the guys earn it.

I want him to come back, play the Tavistock event, then Arnie’s tourney, and then storm Augusta and WIN! That would be the highest rated sports event and story of the year.

You can do it, Tiger!

Let your clubs do the talking (behave yourself and take your family with you to every tournament to further ensure you stick to the straight and narrow!)

Curious George

March 4th, 2010
12:44 pm

Tiger may be playing in Augusta, but with WHOSE wife will it be?

Todd

March 4th, 2010
12:45 pm

It will be funny to watch him getting heckled on tour this year and see his reaction. I don’t think he wins a major. Too much going on inside his head.

Really Gordon?

March 4th, 2010
12:49 pm

I think his emotions and mental vitality took a tremendous hit and therefore his golf game. I’m not saying he won’t win tournaments but if he should come out and win within 3 months of playing again I would consider that a minor miracle. He is going to have a lot of NEW distractions.

fair and Balanced

March 4th, 2010
12:51 pm

As much as I would like to see Tiger at the Masters, I DON’t want to see the Masters turned into a circus by people heckling him (as much as he deserves to be heckled). Furthermore, in the minds of most golfers, if Tiger surpasses Jack’s record of 18 majors and goes down in history as the greatest golfer in the history of the game, there will be an asterisk. I for one, would like for Jack to hold the title as the greatest golfer of all time until the next superstar comes on the scene. The integrity of golf deserves that.

Harry the Hat

March 4th, 2010
12:52 pm

He’ll play in the masters. His goal now will be to have the number of wins at the majors exceed the number of women he’s… dallied with.

Paul in RDU

March 4th, 2010
12:53 pm

Tiger was up to 19? Isn’t that 5 more in the bag than the USGA rules allow?

Seriously though – I expect him to play at Bay Hill in Arnie’s tourney and then at the Masters.
It will be interesting to see how the fans behave his first time out. I’m sure that they will be respectful at Augusta because the fuddy-duddies who run the tourney will pull badges otherwise.

Brad

March 4th, 2010
12:56 pm

Not sure why anyone thinks he will win majors this year. How many did he win last year? A big fat 0. And it will take time to get back in shape and get his swing in gear. Even last year he struggled at majors with his swing. Now he will have a mountain of pressure on him, people talking about him, people heckling him and his problems at home. I don’t think the guy will ever be the same on the golf course. Too bad. Jack will still always be the best because he knew how to conduct himself. Plus Jack played against much tougher competition. Name one player tiger faces that has more than 3 majors? 0. Jack had at least 6-7 players while on tour that had 5-10.

EW

March 4th, 2010
12:57 pm

I think it will be interesting if Tiger plays in Augusta and plays bad. There will be speculation that the layoff and surrounding circus hurt his game permanently (or at least the mental part). Nobody has ever questioned Tiger’s ability, but I can see the critics calling a poor showing in Augusta a red flag that Tiger will never be the same.

Harry the Hat

March 4th, 2010
12:57 pm

I wonder how much heckling there will be. A golf tournament isn’t the same as a baseball or football game, where heckling is almost expected.

Bobbi Dud

March 4th, 2010
1:00 pm

Tiger has been de-clawed! He will never be the golfer that he was once was! He’s a mental head case now and his game will suffer! They better test him for drugs…once a liar…always a liar!

Dr.House

March 4th, 2010
1:03 pm

Yes…Tiger has been taking steroids I believe.

Brock

March 4th, 2010
1:10 pm

The Masters- Return of the Cheetah. Sounds like a bad kung fu movie.

Newbomb Turk

March 4th, 2010
1:12 pm

MB….can you at least tell me that you chuckled at that before you deleted it???

Brad

March 4th, 2010
1:12 pm

I don’t think there will be heckling when he’s on the tee but when he’s walking to his ball or waiting to play a shot, I guarantee you there will be some people out there saying stuff. Of course augusta won’t have that many. I wonder how you revoke a badge if someone sells it online or wherever. How can you punish that person who is a regular buyer and sells it.

Liz

March 4th, 2010
1:12 pm

Always wanted to be first. Enjoy the articles MB, but the Tiger story still makes me mad.

Another reminder that we shouldn’t keep sports figures on a pedestal. (Though I have to admit my favorite is Maddux, especially now that I don’t have to say to others that the expletives from the mound are only directed toward himself. Plus I can be pretty sure he never used steroids, he and Tommy have a commercial to thank for that.)

Larvell "SugarBear" Blanks

March 4th, 2010
1:24 pm

Fair and Balanced………I couldn’t agree with you more! Well said!

Worm

March 4th, 2010
1:31 pm

Hope he can handle the hecklers..Not as Augusta,but all the other events staged on not so hallowed grounds!

Bob Horner had a sweet compact swing

March 4th, 2010
1:36 pm

If he does play at Augusta this year…all we’ll hear about during Masters week is Tiger, Tiger, Tiger on ESPN….I dread that….

WonderDawg

March 4th, 2010
1:42 pm

I’ll bet Tiger doesn’t get to “go have a cold one with the boys” after his golf rounds anymore …

WonderDawg

March 4th, 2010
1:47 pm

Paul, we don’t know the number exactly, but Tiger was definitely on the “back nine!”

Clay

March 4th, 2010
1:49 pm

Mark, my wife is blonde and pretty, and wants to go to the TPC this year. Should I be worried?

Glenn

March 4th, 2010
2:05 pm

If he is not playing at Bay Hill in a couple of weeks you won’t see him at Augusta . Arnold Palmer was a womanizer as well . I bet those two could swap some great stories .

Jonathan

March 4th, 2010
2:11 pm

I agree with some of the comments here. Tiger will have to play very well to quiet the critics. I also agree that Tiger’s competition is not the same as Jack Nicklaus’. The Golden Bear had a much stronger field to compete against. But this is not about Tiger vs Jack, this is about whether or not Tiger can get back to playing golf. Has the time of Tiger passed?

bass stringerfish

March 4th, 2010
2:11 pm

Fair and Balanced…while I agree with you for the most part, I wonder why you feel the need for an asterik? Its not like the idiot Barry Bonds taking over Hank’s HR record…he screwed around off the course which has no affect on if he wins or not.
He will always have this blemish on his personal record, but not his golf wins. Bonds will never be recognized as the HR king because what he did actaully did affect the outcome of the game.
Make no mistake, I want Jack to keep that record too – against anyone, but if Tiger gets it, unless he has an unfair advantage (IE cheating that enhances his play on the course) not sure there is a need for the asterik.

Blue

March 4th, 2010
2:23 pm

All I’m Saying; He HAS been letting his “club” do the talking.

Blue

March 4th, 2010
2:29 pm

Brad; there is another way to think of things. I like Jack more than Tiger too…but I’m not buying the “less competition” thing. Kind of like with women’s college hoops…back then, it was easier to be dominant because there were fewer guys CAPABLE of winning on a weekly basis…Nicklaus and Palmer were TN and UConn. And this is from a guy whose favorite golfer was Tom Watson. There are more guys who are good enough to win now…and that gives the illusion to some that it is less competitive because it is harder for all of the others to separate from the pack. And also…Tiger is NOT playing the same courses (of course, not using the same equipment either). Some of these courses have been made MUCH harder because of Tiger.

mike @ calibre lake

March 4th, 2010
2:36 pm

i hope all you haters have the same hatred to your friends who’s cheated or effed up before. I know you have some. Do you bash him everytime for it??? I’m not saying what he did was right but i notice how many haters there are and calling the kettle black is a perfect fit in some of these responses. Also i’m sure all the peple who hated tiger before really loved this. good thing i gave up on people doing the right thing a long time ago!

What an oxymoron...

March 4th, 2010
2:46 pm

…”integrity in golf” is!!! Golf is a freakin’ 4 letter word, and is called golf because all the other 4 letter words were already taken…

Get over the Tiger bashing; he messed up and fessed up, so now give it a rest!!!!

Mark Bradley

March 4th, 2010
3:00 pm

I can’t imagine there’d be many hecklers at the Masters. Heckling isn’t allowed at that event.

WonderDawg

March 4th, 2010
3:05 pm

Not so sure about the HGH comment regarding Tiger, bass stringerfish. There’s a big investigation going on with the Canadian Dr Tony Galea, who was arrested smuggling steriods and hgh into Canada. A-Rod is to meet with the Feds regarding and Tiger flew Dr Galea to his home while recovering from his knee surgery. Doesn’t mean he’s guilty of anything, but why get some kind of treatment from a Doc who isn’t even licensed in the US? Most times, where there is smoke, there is fire …

WonderDawg

March 4th, 2010
3:06 pm

…Feds regarding his treatment and Tiger ….

Sorry..

Gordon

March 4th, 2010
3:11 pm

To “Really Gordon” at 12:49:

Yes, really. His mind does not work like yours or mine. He will have a “me against the world” outlook and be as determined as ever. He won the U.S. Open on one leg. He is stronger mentally than any athlete I’ve ever seen in any sport. Nadal in tennis is the only one who comes close.

Coach Cool

March 4th, 2010
3:11 pm

Really?

To his face?

Will that presser be held on Golf Channel?

Junior Samples

March 4th, 2010
3:19 pm

floosies are everywhere, even at augusta. stay alert tiger.

CatsFly

March 4th, 2010
3:21 pm

Look, Tiger will forever be judged by the lack of character he displayed. And its character by which we should judge people, not by anything else. That said, people can improve their character, but they shouldn’t look for others to hold them in any kind of high esteem after such conduct as Tiger displayed.

Dan

March 4th, 2010
3:30 pm

Fair and Balanced – with regard to your statement -
“Furthermore, in the minds of most golfers, if Tiger surpasses Jack’s record of 18 majors and goes down in history as the greatest golfer in the history of the game, there will be an asterisk”

Is that because we all know Tiger Woods is the only golfer to have won major and also cheated on his wife or because you are have unique insights into what “most” people think about anything?

If it turns out Tiger took performance enhancing drugs, I personally (unlike you I do not have the psychic powers to divine what “most” people think) believe there is an asterisk since that conduct presumbaly impacted the perfomance on the field. But if a golfer does not meet someone’s personal moral code then perhaps Arnold Palmer should be the greatest golfer because he had a more pleasing personality than someone who started out as Fat Jack and failed to fit the role model of athletes needing to be in good shape.

Unless you are talking about figure skating, the only true measure of an athlete’s ranking as an athlete (not as a spose, parent, or member of teh community of mankind) is the results on the field of play – if you start taking other factors into acccount the exercise lapses into subjective favortism.

We are talking about athletes, not role models – Charles Barkley got that one right.

WonderDawg

March 4th, 2010
3:36 pm

Wrong, Blue, there are a lot fewer pros who have won multiple majors now than in the Jack era. Remember, Arnie won his last one in the 60’s. Jack won majors until ‘86. Look at the guys with multiple majors Jack faced: Hogan, Palmer, Player, Miller, Weiskopf, Green, Watson, Trevino, Faldo, Seve, Norman and probably a couple I can’t remember. These guys didn’t melt on Sunday in majors. Currently there are what, 3 guys with more than 2 majors: Els (3), VJ (3), Phil (3)? And I can’t really think of anyone with 2 majors other than Daly and the current Masters champ from Argentina (name escapes me). There’s just no comparison in the competition Tiger and Jack faced.

Joe Fan

March 4th, 2010
3:51 pm

I believe Tiger will win majors well into his 40s but each one will be a labor and not come as easy as the previous 14. There was a crack in his armour in 2008 win he won zero and with the pressure he now faces getting five more will be a monumental challenge. He desrves the opportunity but shouldn’t be syrprised when there are few fans really pulling for him. I agree with WonderDog, Tiger has never faced the competition Nicklaus had when he accumlated his 18 and going forward lets hope that his competitors don’t look at him has being invinsible.

Bob Horner had a sweet compact swing

March 4th, 2010
3:52 pm

Angel Cabrera 2 majors, Padriag Harrington 3 majors…but I still agree w/ you WonderDawg….most of the pro wet their pants on Sundays when Tiger is in the hunt…..that said…that year he won at Pebble by like 12 strokes and set the record at Augusta and dominated the British Open was the most amazing thing I’ve ever seen in golf…

Russ, the Temporary Mascot

March 4th, 2010
4:11 pm

“Can’t we do something about all these darn hydrants?” – MB

Yeah, blame it on the hydrants just like blaming the a$$ painting on the dog.

Bob Horner had a sweet compact swing

March 4th, 2010
4:15 pm

Russ…you parents were both solid white….how did you get that brown spot..???

Shankit

March 4th, 2010
4:27 pm

Clifford and Bobby aren’t happy about the circus he will
bring to their tournament.

WonderDawg

March 4th, 2010
4:27 pm

Don’t forget, Jack won 18, AND finished 2nd in 20 more majors. He finished 1st or 2nd in 38 majors. Amazing.

Junior

March 4th, 2010
4:28 pm

“Elin and I never have had any episode of Domestic Violence”.

BRIDGE IN BROOKLYN for sale, call BR 549

Einsteindawg

March 4th, 2010
4:55 pm

Just read where Tiger’s caddy, Stevie Williams, said he “didn’t know anything was going on”. That’s like Mrs. Sonny Perdue saying, “I didn’t know my husband was Governor”. When might we have accountability and truth with public figures?