DUBLIN, OH - JUNE 03: Tournament founder Jack Nicklaus poses with Tiger Woods after Tiger's two-stroke victory at the Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide Insurance at Muirfield Village Golf Club on June 3, 2012 in Dublin, Ohio. (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
If the Tiger Woods who surpassed Jack Nicklaus' all-time PGA Tour wins record shows up this week at The Olympic Club, game over, says the Golden Bear himself.
All Tiger Woods needs to do to walk away with his fourth U.S. Open title this week is to put on the same type of ball-striking exhibition he did at the Memorial Tournament earlier this month. So sayeth none other than the guy Woods seeks to surpass on his way to the overall majors record, Jack Nicklaus.
"If Tiger plays like he did at the Memorial, he'll be tough," Nicklaus told the Monterey Herald on Tuesday. Woods' performance in the Sunday finale at the Memorial included what Nicklaus described as “the most unbelievable, gutsy shot I have ever seen.”
Nicklaus, who holds 18 major championship titles, spoke during a stop at Pasadera Country Club to tout the establishment of a new venture, Nicklaus-China. Woods' two-stroke victory at Nicklaus’ Muirfield Village gave Woods his 73rd PGA Tour triumph and broke Nicklaus’ all-time career wins record.
Nicklaus, who said in a statement that his new partnership with a Chinese firm was designed to help in the “strategic, comprehensive, and responsible growth of golf in China” through “turnkey” course and residential development solutions, was not about to hand Woods his 15th major without a fight, of course.
"But there's also so many good players playing well right now,” Nicklaus told the Herald. “One thing's for sure -- it's going to be a great tournament."
Pasadera is a Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course that opened in the same week in 2000 that the legend played in his final U.S. Open at nearby Pebble Beach. Some 200 Pasadera members and guests gathered Tuesday to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Nicklaus’ first U.S. Open victory, which was also his first win as a professional golfer.