• "Every honour Jack receives is well-deserved," he said
• Nicklaus backs Woods to be successful once again
TIGER WOODS | JACK NICKLAUS
The two most decorated major winners in the world of golf – Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods – have been trading compliments after the former received the Sports Illustrated Muhammad Ali Legacy award.
Nicklaus is only the third recipient of the award, which was presented in New York on Tuesday, and Woods released a statement on his website to congratulate the 18-time major winner of his achievement.
“I'd like to congratulate Jack on receiving Muhammad Ali Legacy Award,” he said. “Every honour Jack receives is well-deserved, and this one, that recognises the ideals of sportsmanship, leadership and philanthropy as tools for changing the world, is pretty special.
“Jack's tournament records are incredible, not just his 18 majors (plus two US Amateurs) and 73 PGA Tour wins, but his 19 second place finishes in the majors, which I think may be his most incredible stat. The way he would rise to every occasion with the shot it demanded under the circumstances are unparalleled. His skill, mind and determination allowed him to accomplish amazing things. My first real recollection of a major championship was his win at the 1986 Masters.
“Jack and Barbara are wonderful philanthropists supporting children's health. Among the many fantastic things they do is the Nicklaus Children's Health Care Foundation, which supports paediatric healthcare services in Florida and nationally.
“I'm extremely happy for Jack, and I've always admired his accomplishments, but it's a lot more than that. He's an outstanding person, and I'm honoured that I can call him a friend.”
And at his press conference for the Memorial Tournament, which he hosts, Nicklaus believes there’s plenty glory still ahead for Woods, who is confined to the sidelines for a significant period of time after undergoing back surgery.
“I think you'll see Tiger play a lot more good golf, I really do,” he said. “And I don't think Phil is done. We’ve got an interesting dynamic going on with the young guys that are coming on that have learned how to win, while some of the old guys are still going to come back – funny calling Tiger an old guy but his is because he turns 40 in another week or two.”
His comments came less than two weeks after declaring that he thinks Woods can still eclipse his record of 18 majors, a feat many are now doubting due to his injury woes and that he turns 40 in less than two weeks.
“He has always been a very focused young man with a great work ethic, and is tremendously talented,” the 75-year-old said. “To count him out of that (the majors record) would be foolish, he certainly has a very good chance of doing that.
“He still has a lot of good years ahead of him in my mind, but now he's really sitting back and saying 'You know if it takes that long'. He's got it figured out. Obviously it's frustrating for him, but we haven't seen the end of him.”
Tiger Woods :: Can he be successful again?
Jack Nicklaus think so, but can Tiger Woods reach the heights again? Leave your thoughts in the 'Comments' section below.