It'll be news when Jack Nicklaus can say aloud he thinks his majors record is safe. That day was not Tuesday.
The Golden Bear said on ESPN Radio's "Mike & Mike" program that he feels Woods still will one day tally a 19th major, toppling his long-standing record.
"I still think he'll break my record," Nicklaus said. "As long as he is physically able to do it. ... He's 38 years old and he's probably got another 10 years at least of being able to compete -- that's 40 more majors to win five of them. It shouldn't be too difficult.
"But then again, I've always said he's just gotta do it. It's gonna be difficult, but if I said anything different I think I would be a jerk. So I think I better say he will do that ... and I actually believe that."
Woods, a four-time Masters winner, is not in the field this week after undergoing a microdiscectomy procedure on March 31 to alleviate a pinched nerve. He'll miss this major, but he hopes to return sometime this summer. Whether that's in time for the U.S. Open, Open Championship or PGA Championship is unclear -- including, probably, to Woods himself.
If the year is a wash for Woods, he'll turn 39 in December. By Nicklaus' estimation, the 40 majors would begin at the '15 Masters, almost seven years since the heroic 2008 U.S. Open triumph on a broken leg. The end of the stretch run in the Jack 18 would be in 2024, an Olympic year, at a TBD site of the PGA Championship. Woods would be 48, assuming he doesn't miss a major.
The oldest major champion in history? Julius Boros, who won the Wanamaker trophy in 1968 at the age of, you guessed it, 48.