Golf: Tiger has doubts over breaking Nicklaus record

Tiger Woods has admitted harbouring doubts over whether he could overhaul Jack Nicklaus's record of 18 Major titles and said a new generation, led by Rory McIlroy, had complicated his task.

Woods, speaking in Malaysia ahead of this week's CIMB Classic, said his confidence about reaching the magical 19 had "absolutely" wavered after going four years without a Major win since the 2008 US Open.

"It's like everybody else. I've gone through periods where I didn't hit very good, didn't chip very good, didn't putt very good," he said. "I know what I can do, but sometimes it just doesn't come out.

"That's when, for me, in the past and will always continue to be that way, I've just got to go back and work harder.

"Get out there and do my work on the range, do my work on the golf course at home and make that solid so when I get into a tournament situation, it is able to come out."

Woods' four-year Major drought follows a sex scandal that broke in 2009, prompting him to take a break from golf, followed by injury and a fresh attempt to remodel his game.

Three titles this season - breaking a two-and-a-half year barren streak - indicate the 36-year-old is getting back to form, but world No.1 McIlroy, 23, has now emerged as golf's stand-out performer.

"For a number of years I've been the youngest one. Throughout my years it's been Phil (Mickelson), Vijay (Singh), Ernie (Els), (David) Duval, Paddy (Harrington)," Woods said.

"All these guys won Major championships or were number one in the world or won a bucket-load of tournaments all around the world, but they're all older than me. I was the youngest of all of those parties.

"Rory is younger, so this is the next generation of guys... Rory is the head of the class of that by far. He's had an amazing start to his career, winning two Major championships and winning tournaments all around the world."

Woods said it was "good fun" to compete against the new players, but added that golf's strength in depth, aided by equipment and training changes, had made tournaments far more competitive.

"Look at how many guys won Major championships for their very first time. The game has gotten so much deeper in that regard," he said.

"So I think it's more difficult now to win golf tournaments in general because the equipment has nullified and brought the fields closer together."

However, the divorced father-of-two insisted that while Nicklaus's 18 Majors, and Sam Snead's record of 82 tournament wins - Woods is currently on 74 - were important, there were bigger things in his life.

"I certainly want to break Jack's record and catch Snead's record. Those are all things that I would love to do throughout my career," Woods said.

"But being the best father I can possibly be to my two great kids, that certainly is number one in my life."

- AFP

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on red akl_a1 at 18 Apr 2014 20:30:00 Processing Time: 389ms