Nicklaus and Woods not talking, but texting

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Some text threads are better than others - especially the ones that include a combined 32 major titles.

Tiger Woods continues to battle a back injury that has sidelined him for nearly a year, and Jack Nicklaus told the UPI that he hasn't spoken with the man closest to his total of 18 majors since they were together at the Masters in April. But, Nicklaus added, that doesn't mean they haven't communicated.

"I've kept up with it and I've had a couple texts back and forth, but we really haven't talked," Nicklaus said. "He's struggling. I don't understand what he's struggling with, but I know he is struggling and he would be playing if he could play."

Woods, 40, last played at the Wyndham Championship in August and has been sidelined since as he recovers from multiple back surgeries. While he made multiple on-course appearances earlier this year, notably at his own Bluejack National in April, he announced last week that he had withdrawn from the PGA Championship.

The decision effectively ended his season and meant that Woods will miss all four majors in a calendar year for the first time since 1994.

Nicklaus admitted he never dealt with an injury issue of such magnitude, but he remains optimistic that Woods can return to competition and renew his quest for Nicklaus' most hallowed record, even though more than eight years have passed since Woods' 14th and most recent major victory.

"I think he's so talented and still relatively young in relation to the game of golf, that I still think he's got a very good shot at doing it," Nicklaus said. "I've never had a situation like that. I obviously don't understand it because I haven't been in the middle of it. You don't know what's going through somebody's head when they've been injured as long as he's been injured."