Tiger can match Jack at Masters: Williams

Tiger Woods' former long-time caddie Steve Williams believes the 44-year-old can match Jack Nicklaus' record six Masters titles in November.

TIGER WOODS.
TIGER WOODS. Picture: Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

Accomplished caddie Steve Williams fancies former boss Tiger Woods' chances of matching the record six Masters titles of Jack Nicklaus if the postponed major is played in November.

The US PGA Tour is poised to resume events in mid-June, after announcements from organisers of the majors that the British Open has been cancelled, while the PGA Championship is rescheduled for August, the US Open for mid-September and the Masters for mid-November.

Experts, including Australian major champions Ian Baker-Finch and Steve Elkington, believe the postponement due to coronavirus will help the chronically-injured Woods' quest to surpass Nicklaus record for most major titles.

It allows him to recover physically without losing ground, having skipped three big tournaments in the lead-up to the Masters' original April date due to injury.

While 15-time time major winner Woods is now aged 44, Williams says passing Nicklaus' majors tally of 18 remains a real possibility.

"Age is not on his side, but you'd never ever put anything past him," Williams told AAP from Auckland.

"To break Jack's record is obviously going to take some kind of special achievement, but it's certainly something he could absolutely achieve.

"(Woods) is the greatest golfer who has ever played.

"There is no player who plays better under pressure than he does.

"When he gets in a situation to win golf tournaments, he has an incredible ratio."

Williams was on the bag for 13 of Woods' major victories, as well as Adam Scott's historic Masters win in 2013.

He rates Woods a great chance to match one Nicklaus record this year by collecting a sixth Masters title with a successful defence at Augusta National.

"Over 72 holes, (Woods') knowledge and experience at Augusta National is unrivalled," Williams said.

"If he's in good form, he will be near the lead.

"There's no reason he can't slip that green jacket on again when the Masters returns in November, if he is fit.

"Augusta National will be a stern test in November; cooler weather will make the course play longer.

"There will also be less chance of rain and cooler air, which should see firmer greens and that is when Augusta plays its hardest.

"Augusta will favour the longer hitters with the course playing longer and the greens firmer."

If he's to win, Woods may have do it without one not-so-secret weapon - the massive roars of the galleries who hang on his every shot at Augusta.

It's likely fans may not be allowed to attend tournaments for some time due to restrictive health and safety guidelines.

The US PGA Tour announced this week its revised schedule, beginning with the Charles Schwab Challenge in Fort Worth, Texas, from June 11-14.

The revamped schedule includes 14 tournaments concluding with the Tour Championship in Atlanta, Georgia from September 4-7.

"There is no guarantee any professional golf will be played this year," Williams said.

"However, should the PGA Championship, US Open and the Masters (go ahead) it shouldn't affect the players; they will all plan accordingly."


AAP