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Jack Nicklaus says major target could be higher

Tiger Woods might have a more daunting career goal of majors ahead of him had fellow American Bobby Jones not retired at the age of 28, says Jack Nicklaus.

Nicklaus and his record of 18 major championships has long been the target for Woods, who is chasing his third major this year and the 11th of his career in the U.S. PGA Championship starting on Thursday.

The Golden Bear, who bowed out of major championship golf at last month's British Open, told a news conference at Baltusrol on Wednesday he was not as driven to achieve once he surpassed Jones's record of 13 majors and might have set the bar higher.

"Had Bobby Jones won 22 majors, maybe I would have had a little more desire to go after something," said Nicklaus, who passed Jones's then-record total with his victory in the 1973 U.S. PGA Championship at Canterbury Golf Club.

"Maybe I would have had a little more desire to go after something," added Nicklaus, who clinched his first major at the 1962 U.S. Open and his last at the 1986 U.S. Masters.

Amateur Jones amassed his 13 crowns in just eight years in the days when the game's big four events were the U.S. and British Opens and the U.S. and British Amateur championships.

Jones, who went on to build Augusta National and establish the U.S. Masters, signed off with the crowning achievement of his career when he completed the grand slam in 1930.

Winning begets winning, said Nicklaus, who feels this is one of the key ingredients behind the 29-year-old Woods's quest for the all-time majors record.

"When you get a guy who is used to winning, against guys who are not used to winning, winning breeds winning," added Nicklaus, 65.

"He's tough, no question about it, and tough until somebody comes along that all of a sudden wins a few tournaments and believes he's going to win again next time."

Woods's lengthy run at the pinnacle of the game reminded Nicklaus of the "King" of his own early days -- Arnold Palmer.

"When Arnold was winning, there wasn't anybody that challenged Arnold at all," he said. "Then Gary (Player) came along and started challenging and then I came along.

"Arnold had it to himself there for about five or six years and Tiger has had it much to himself for a period of time.

"His competition may be somebody you have not even heard of yet. Arnold was 32 years old when I came along on the scene, and Tiger is 29.

"Some time in the next three years a young Jack Nicklaus might come along to challenge Tiger, that's what I'm saying. But you just don't know."

 

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