PGA Tour

Nicklaus: Tiger faces tough road back

Tiger Woods (AFP)
Tiger Woods (AFP)

Washington - Jack Nicklaus says Tiger Woods will have a very difficult time making a comeback to competitive golf as he deals with physical injury issues and undergoes treatment for managing medications. 

Speaking Monday to USA Today at a charity tournament in Virginia, the winner of a record 18 major titles was not optimistic in the wake of Woods's arrest last month for driving while impaired and back surgery Woods revealed in April he has undergone. 

"He'll have a very hard time. I don't know whether Tiger will play much golf anymore," Nicklaus said.

"He might come back and play - I think it would be pretty tough for him, after getting (his spine) fused and as many problems as he has had recently. 

"His are more life problems than they are golf problems right now." 

Woods will not appear at this week's PGA National tournament in suburban Washington because he continues to undergo treatment for managing medications for back pain and a sleeping disorder, issues Woods revealed last week in a Twitter posting. 

Last month, Woods was arrested and charged with impaired driving near his Florida home. 

A breathalyser showed no alcohol in his system and he later said he was unaware he would have such a strong reaction to several prescription medications he was taking simultaneously. 

Woods ranks second in major titles with 14 and in PGA career titles with 79, three shy of Sam Snead's record total. But Nicklaus said Woods will not have his legacy defined merely by golf titles.

"Whether he plays golf or not, I think he has got an awful lot to offer the youth of the country and the game itself," Nicklaus said. 

Woods began his most recent comeback attempt in December in the Bahamas, but missed the cut at Torrey Pines in January and withdrew from an event in Dubai in February. 

In April, he announced his fourth back surgery and said he would not play again this season. 

Woods sends at-risk youth to college with money raised through his charity foundation. 

"Tiger is a good kid. He cares about people. And we'll just see what happens," Nicklaus told the newspaper. 

"I hope he gets his life straightened out with the problems he has had and be able to lead a normal life, but also use what he has done and his legacy to help a lot of kids and a lot of other people."

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