LOS ANGELES • Jack Nicklaus reckons his record of 18 Majors will probably be broken by Tiger Woods, who is on 15 after winning the Masters last month, as long as he stays healthy.
Nicklaus, host of today's Memorial Tournament at Muirfield Village in Ohio, said on Tuesday that Woods, who is 43, will likely have to manage the aches and pain that affect athletes in their 40s.
"Who knows how long his body is going to stay together?" he told a news conference. "When you've had as many operations as he's had, he may be solid enough that it's all right. And, if he is, I think he probably will break my record."
Nicklaus said he played a round with Woods about a month before the Masters and that the ex-world No. 1 looked great but afterwards complained about a neck problem.
Woods, who will tee off in today's opening round with fellow American Bryson DeChambeau and Englishman Justin Rose, can expect a lot more of those types of problems for the rest of his playing days, added Nicklaus.
The 79-year-old said: "He's at the age where he needs to pace himself and he can't just do everything everybody asks him to do. He's got to be a little selfish."
When Woods won at Augusta National, it not only proved many doubters wrong but also revived talk about whether he would catch a record many considered safe, especially given the many false-starts and setbacks he has endured over the years.
Nicklaus admitted that he wanted to see his record stand the test of time, but added he hoped it was not because injuries ultimately prevent Woods, who is also one win shy of matching Sam Snead's record of 82 PGA Tour wins, from giving it a proper chase.
"I don't want him to break my record, but I don't want him to not be able to play," said Nicklaus, who believes that Woods has about 10 years left competing in golf's four Majors.
"If he is physically sound... and breaks it then well done, that's what it should be. That's what sport is all about to me."