Jack Nicklaus on Tiger Woods: ‘I just don’t know where he is’

With every passing year, it becomes less and less likely that Tiger Woods will ever match Jack Nicklaus’ record of 18 major championships, and Woods hasn’t added to his total since 2008.

Although Tiger made positive strides toward a comeback after missing the entirety of the 2016 season, back spasms forced him to withdraw from the Dubai Desert Classic early this month and clear his schedule as he recovers. There is currently no timetable for Woods’ return, but if he hopes to be in form by The Masters, he’ll need to get back on the course in the next few weeks.

Jack Nicklaus has been very supportive of Woods during his long (and increasingly frequent) recoveries, and has always maintained that he still believes Tiger can win again.

Woods’ latest setback, however, is troubling. He appeared to be fully healthy entering the season, and while he wasn’t playing particularly well, he did show flashes of brilliance at his own Hero World Challenge. His latest injury is fortunately unrelated to the nerve issues that have plagued him, but it was serious enough that doctors told him to “stay horizontal.”

During the Honda Classic broadcast Sunday, Nicklaus called Tiger’s situation a “puzzle,” and said that he doesn’t know what’s next for the game’s biggest star.

Via ESPN:

“And now, I don’t know about Tiger. That is the biggest puzzle to me that I know. I just don’t know where he is and where his mind is. I don’t know.”

Last week, PGA Tour pro Pat Perez gave a brutally honest and grim assessment of Woods’ prospects, and suggested that if Woods doesn’t return for the Masters, his career will be over.

“I can tell you that right now. If he does not play Augusta, it’s over… personally, I don’t think you’ll see him again this year.”