Jack Nicklaus Shares Details Of Champions Dinner Chat With Tiger Woods

 Jack Nicklaus hitting his ceremonial tee shot at the 2023 Masters
Jack Nicklaus hitting his ceremonial tee shot at the 2023 Masters

Jack Nicklaus has shared a snippet of what he and Tiger Woods spoke about at this year's Champions Dinner ahead of the first men's Major of 2023.

Woods battled to make the cut at The Masters but was forced to withdraw during the rain-delayed third round at Augusta National, citing a return of the plantar fasciitis that he has suffered with since his horror car crash in February 2021.

Nicklaus, 83, praised Woods' "courage" during a press conference at the Insperity Championship on the PGA Tour Champions before revealing details of their conversation at this year's highly anticipated pre-Masters feast.

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"I don’t know a whole lot about what he’s been through," Nicklaus said. "He’s showed a lot of guts and courage to play and try to be part of what’s going on with the way he’s been. He’s actually swinging pretty well, he just can’t walk.

"We talk quite a bit. He said [at the Champions Dinner], ‘I’m really playing well. I’m hitting the ball great. My short game’s great. My putting’s good.’ He said, ‘I just can’t walk.’ And he says, 'If it helps where I can walk, I’m willing to do it'."

The 15-time Major champion has since undergone subtalar fusion surgery on his right ankle to relieve symptoms of arthritis that had been making it even more difficult to walk and complete 72 holes, which he has done just twice on his latest comeback to professional golf.

"He wouldn’t be having the operations if he wasn’t interested in wanting to continue to play," Nicklaus continued. "He’s a very motivated and dedicated young man to continue to play the game of golf."

While Woods looks set to miss the remaining three Majors of 2023, foot and ankle surgeon and consultant Nima Heidari believes the long-term prognosis is much brighter, telling Golf Monthly "there's no reason why he can't be absolute top of the game again" when he is fully recovered.