Tiger Woods hopes he has another 10 years to win majors and break Jack Nicklaus’ record haul of 18, but admits he will need plenty of help along the way.
Woods told Nicklaus “I’m done” at the Champions Dinner ahead of the 2017 Masters, but flew to London later that night to see a specialist, subsequently underwent career-saving spinal fusion surgery and won his 15th major title at Augusta National in April.
“Hypothetically if I give myself another 10 years that’s 40 majors,” Woods said ahead of this week’s US Open at Pebble Beach, where he won by an incredible 15 shots in 2000.
Woods said: “The trick is can I keep myself healthy and strong enough considering what my body has been through? That’s where I need help with all my trainers and physios and workout regimes, and hopefully, I can make that happen.”
Woods did not compete between the Masters and the US PGA Championship at Bethpage, where he was unable to practice the day before the first round due to illness.
The former world number one declined to reveal the nature of his problems, but asked if he was “physically sick or maybe just not as limber”, replied: “All the above. I was in rough shape.”
After taking a week off Woods returned to action with a tie for ninth place in the Memorial Tournament at Muirfield Village and feels his game is close to where he needs it to be to contend for a 16th major title.
“Augusta I was right where I needed to be,” Woods added. “Bethpage, a different story. I was good going into the week, unfortunately just didn’t feel well.
“And this week I feel like I’m trending in the right direction. I need one more day of prep. I want to see the golf course when it’s a little bit closer to game time.
“I know they’re holding it back. But I just want to see how much are they going to let it go and show us how it’s going to be come Thursday.”
Woods was the only player to finish in red figures in the 2000 US Open, his 12-under-par total leaving him 15 shots ahead of Ernie Els and Miguel Angel Jimenez, a record for any major championship.
“It’s crazy it’s been 19 years,” he added. “I still remember most of the shots I hit that week. It was just one of those weeks where I don’t know how I pulled it off, but on seaside poa annua (greens), I never missed a putt inside 10 feet for a week.
“It happened to be a very special week. I made everything. And not only that, I was hitting it well. And when I did miss it, I missed it in all the correct spots. So I had the best angles.
“And again, to be able to putt on greens this steep and bumpy as they get in the afternoon, and not miss a putt under 10 feet was saying something.”