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Tiger Woods still ahead of Nicklaus at 28

Despite enduring his worst season since turning professional nine years ago, Tiger Woods says he is on track to overtake Jack Nicklaus's haul of 18 major championship victories.

"I'm still ahead of his pace. I'm still ahead of him by a year. I'm still right on schedule," world number two Woods told reporters here on Tuesday as he introduced a new version of his electronic golf game.

The 28-year-old Woods, who has pulled out of this week's Pennsylvania Classic due to fatigue, has eight major wins to his name, although the most recent was at the 2002 U.S. Open. Nicklaus had claimed seven majors by the age of 28. Woods has won only one strokeplay event this year, lost his world number one ranking to Fiji's Vijay Singh after a record run of 264 weeks at the top and last weekend was part of the U.S. Ryder Cup team handed an 18 1/2-9 1/2 drubbing by Europe.

The American has also had distractions off the course, with the news that his father, Earl Woods, has had a relapse of prostate cancer.

Woods, in New York to promote the Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2005 electronic golf game, offered no excuses for the U.S. team's poor Ryder Cup performance.

"They just outplayed us. Simple as that. They just played better than we did," said Woods, who picked up only two points from his five matches.

"It's very frustrating but they played better, so hats off to the Europeans."

Woods, who as a schoolboy tacked up charts of Nicklaus's achievements on his bedroom wall, believes he is close to finishing a retooling of his swing.

His slide began after a falling-out with swing coach Butch Harmon. After a period of do-it-yourself experimentation, he said he had received help from Hank Haney, who works with his friend and Florida neighbour Mark O'Meara.

"Hank certainly has helped me a little bit. We've had some good times," said Woods.

"I've had to re-do my golf swing to fix some of the faults I've gotten into, to get it more consistent, more repeatable and on top of that to have it hold up under pressure."

Woods believes it will not take much for him to begin a striking turnaround.

"It's just a matter of hitting a couple of critical shots at the right time," he said.

"It might simply be an up-and-down. It's just a matter of making the right shot at the right time and then getting things going."

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