Ah, but 18 looks deceptively close. Not long after Woods won his 14th major, his knee buckled, the tabloids screamed, and his story changed dramatically. On March 25 in Orlando, though, Woods won his first PGA tournament in more than two years. He looked strong, focused and (for the first time in a long while) steady. He's 36, he's a bit beaten-up, and he's still four majors shy of Nicklaus's 18. To give you a sense of the challenge Woods faces, consider that the second-best golfer of his generation, Phil Mickelson, has won four majors in his career.
Can Woods get to 18? For a long time the answer was, "Of course." Now among golf fans and analysts it seems to be, "It will be awfully tough."
I still like Nicklaus's answer best, though. "I think Tiger's going to do it," he says. Then he pauses, smiles and says, "But he's gotta do it."