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Nicklaus: Tiger feels bad about missing Memorial

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DUBLIN, Ohio – Coming from anyone else it would have sounded like a “name drop” deal, but when Jack Nicklaus announced that Tiger Woods had called him Wednesday morning everything stopped.

“He was saying that he felt bad about not being able to be here,” Nicklaus said on Wednesday at Muirfield Village. “He said he's doing well, progressing well, and he's looking forward to getting back into the game.  He misses it.”

Woods has been on the DL since having back surgery on March 31 and announced last week that he has no timetable for his return to competitive golf.

Nicklaus’ mark of 18 major championships has always been the litmus test of Woods’ career. And when the Golden Bear was asked if he thought it would be Tiger’s health or the increasingly high level of play by younger players that will keep Woods from catching him, he had a quick answer.

“His biggest stumbling block probably is going to be his health, and I think his health is something that he thinks he's doing very well with,” Nicklaus said. “If he’s healthy, Tiger’s got 10 plus years to play top‑quality tournament golf.”

As for the rise of younger competition, “He will probably have more of those challenges because of the more young players coming along. But that's part of the game, and I think he expects that,” Nicklaus said.