Haney: Woods' window to catch Jack may not be big enough
PGA Championship Tiger Woods News

Haney: Woods’ window to catch Jack may not be big enough

In the last three months, Tiger Woods has crafted a narrative to suggest he could win majors well past the age of 46, when Jack Nicklaus captured his 18th and final major at the 1986 Masters.

Former coach Hank Haney believes the math does not compute.

“When you look at all the factors that are involved in breaking Jack's record right now the odds probably don't favor Tiger,” Haney said in an interview with FOXSports.com.

Nicklaus won four majors after the age of 36 - Woods' age now, which will tick up one more year in December. Woods has not won a major since the '08 U.S. Open - on a busted leg - but did post his best major championship finish since the '09 PGA Championship when he finished T-3 at last month's Open Championship.

Medal-stand finishes are nice in majors. Nicklaus had 17 runner-ups alone. But they don't add to the tally or, more accurately, shrink Woods' gap to pass Nicklaus below five majors.

If Woods fails to win this week at Kiawah Island, he would have 36 more majors to catch and pass Nicklaus within the same window the Golden Bear won his 18. Woods has suggested the miraculous run of then-59-year-old Tom Watson at the '09 Open Championship is not a one-off, but rather something he could do, too.

That '86 Masters win for Nicklaus, however, came almost six years after his 17th major at the 1980 PGA Championship - easily the longest Nicklaus went without winning a major. Woods is at four-and-a-half years right now.

Until Woods again strengthens his wedge play - ranked in the bottom third on the PGA Tour - the drought may persist.

With a pair of shorter major venues lined up for 2013, including the U.S. Open at Merion, playing under 7,000 yards, the Open Championship at Muirfield, which played under 7K in 2002, Woods will be under more pressure to hone his wedge game to advance toward Nicklaus.

About the author


Ryan Ballengee

Ryan Ballengee is founder and editor of Golf News Net. He has been writing and broadcasting about golf for over a decade, working for NBC Sports, Golf Channel, Yahoo Sports and SB Nation. Ballengee lives in the Washington, D.C. area with his family. He used to be a good golfer.

Ballengee can be reached by email at ryan[at]thegolfnewsnet.com

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