News & Opinion

‘Tiger needs all our help,’ Nicklaus says

DUBLIN, Ohio – For so much of his career, Tiger Woods has been linked to Jack Nicklaus.

The pursuit of Nicklaus’ 18 major championships propelled Woods during the past two decades. Woods even won five of his 79 Tour titles here in the Memorial Tournament at Nicklaus’ Muirfield Village Golf Club.

In light of Woods’ health and personal issues (“Woods blames prescription meds, not alcohol, after DUI arrest,” May 30,http://bit.ly/2qytw1U), Nicklaus’ majors record seems certain to be safe from Woods, whose 14th major title occurred nine years ago. Nonetheless, the men enjoy a strong bond and mutual respect.

Nicklaus, in his pre-tournament news conference here Tuesday, was asked about Woods after the troubled golfer’s DUI arrest a day earlier in Jupiter, Fla.

“I feel bad for Tiger,” Nicklaus said. “Tiger is a friend. He’s been great for the game of golf. And I think he needs all our help.”

Nicklaus, 77, said he enjoyed watching Woods win over the years and being associated with him: one generation’s transcendent star to another’s. “It kept me relevant,” Nicklaus said. “It was as good for me as it was for him.”

With talk about the PGA Championship possibly moving up in the Tour calendar, from August to May, Nicklaus said he offered first-year Tour commissioner Jay Monahan a schedule accommodation.

“I don’t want to be selfish with the Memorial Tournament,” Nicklaus said. “Anything that we can do to help advance the game …, we're willing and more than happy to try to help.”