NEWJERSEYNEWSROOM.COMIn golf, “four” is the ability to drive the green on a par five. But for Tiger Woods, it’s the number of years he’s been trying to surpass golf legend Jack Nicklaus’ record.
In a career that spanned nearly 40 years, Nicklaus recorded 18 professional wins. Woods, whose last major win was the 2008 U.S. Open, has 14 going into the British Open next month; his first appearance there in more than a decade.
Whether Woods still has what it takes to surpass the record is a bit of an unknown. What is a little more discernible is his next victory; number 74. That will put him ahead of the 73 Nicklaus complied. For nearly 25 years, Nicklaus was second to only Sam Snead’s 82.
“At the time when [Snead] passed, people didn’t appreciate it, what he had done,” Woods said. “On top of that; that he did it against. You compete against [Ben] Hogan and [Byron] Nelson your entire career, those are two tough guys to beat, and he did it.”
At 36, Woods is nearly a decade and a half younger than Snead was when he won his final match.
“Sam's record doesn't get his due,” said Curtis Strange, the two-time U.S. Open champion. “In the Nicklaus era and forward, we've given the majors so much PR. When we talk about majors, we discount the other wins. We talk about how much harder the majors are to win. Sometimes, that's not necessarily true."
It took Nicklaus only 11 years to break Walter Hagen's record of 11 professional majors. In four decades, he could only get within nine tour wins of Snead's record.
At the AT&T National this week, Woods could close the gap on Snead’s victories. Next week, he’ll be teeing off at the Greenbrier Classic in White Sulphur Springs, W. Va., just the fourth time since the start of 2011 he will appear in back-to-back events.