Tiger Woods has hinted at extending his golf career when he turns 50. But never have his words been as strong as those of Jack Nicklaus, the man Tiger is chasing when it comes to major championships.
Nicklaus was a guest of Nick Faldo when he started talking about Tiger using a golf cart because of his physical limitations.
“I told him, ‘Tiger, you’re eligible to take a cart,’” Nicklaus, the North Palm Beach resident, said on Faldo’s podcast. “He says, ‘I’m not going to do that.’”
Nicklaus continues: “He says, ‘When I get to the senior tour, I will.’”
Faldo then asked, “He’s actually thinking he would come back out at 50?”
Said Nicklaus: “He wants to play the senior tour.”
Players on the Tour Champions can use a cart. On the PGA Tour if they have a disability they must apply to ride during a competitive round. Woods certainly could do that now but he refuses.
Woods is 47. He becomes eligible for the Tour Champions when he turns 50 on Dec. 30, 2025. He’s proven he can still swing a club even after multiple back surgeries and a horrific car crash in which he nearly died.
But bouncing back from those injuries, more specifically that accident outside of L.A. two years ago in which he suffered two leg fractures and a shattered ankle, has been the challenge. Since the accident, Tiger’s biggest test has been walking five rounds (including one practice) in five or six days.
The Jupiter Island resident has played four events in the last year, the Masters, PGA Championship and Open Championship in 2022, and the Genesis Invitational last month.
Tiger missed the cut in the Open Championship in July; withdrew after three rounds at the PGA Championship last May, visibly limping and in pain; and played all four rounds at the Masters and Genesis.
He shot a pair of 78s the last two rounds of the Masters. At Riviera, he had a strong third round (67) before carding a 73 on the final day.
“It certainly was a little bit more difficult than I probably let on,” Woods said following his 45th-place finish at Genesis. “My team has been fantastic in getting my body recovered day to day and getting me ready to play each and every day.
“That’s the hard part that I can’t simulate at home. Even if I played four days at home, it’s not the same as adrenaline, it’s not the same as the system being ramped up like that, the intensity, just the focus that it takes to play at this level. I’m very good at simulating that at home, but it’s just not the same as being out here and doing it.”
Tiger’s next tournament will be the Masters in three weeks. With 15 major titles, he trails Nicklaus’ all-time record of 18. His 82 career PGA Tour victories are tied with Sam Snead for the most.