Nicklaus Reveals Champions Dinner Conversation With Woods

Jack Nicklaus sat next to Tiger Woods at the Champions Dinner at the Masters and revealed an insight into the decision which led him to tee it up

Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods in discussion
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Jack Nicklaus featured on SiriusXM PGA Tour Radio's Inside the Ropes, where he revealed he had arguably the best spot at the Champions Dinner at the Masters - directly next to Tiger Woods. 

With arguably the two best golfers to have ever walked the planet sat next to one another, one could only imagine the extent of the conversation that night. Whilst a lot will be left to our imagination, the eighteen-time Major champion revealed that only Woods would have been capable of playing at Augusta National after what he had been through.

“I couldn’t possibly give you any idea what he went through the last 14-months. I think only Tiger could do that,” he said. “I’m sure that what he went through was very difficult. Tiger’s a very driven young man with a great work ethic and he’s got a great desire to do the best he can. That’s Tiger. It’s always been Tiger.”

Nicklaus recalled his conversation with the fifteen-time Major champion and why ultimately, he decided to take the risk by competing at the Masters: “He says, ‘You know, I know I’m gonna hurt. The doctors told me I’m gonna hurt. I accept that,'” Nicklaus said. “‘What am I gonna be next year? And the doctor says, ‘You’re still gonna hurt.’

“He said, ‘Well, why in the world would I wait a year to play if I know I’m gonna hurt both years? Why don’t I just get back and start playing and just suck it up?’

“Which is basically what he did. I thought his performance was quite good. I mean, I think he wore out on Saturday and Sunday, but I think it was great to have him back in the game.”

Woods sent the golfing world into a frenzy when his name continued to appear as "in the field" on the Masters official website. Of course, as a past champion, the 46-year-old was deemed to have entered until he informed tournament officials otherwise. Something he would go on not to do.

Speculation continued to grow when Woods was spotted walking Medalist Golf Club with sources revealing he was "exhausting every effort" in order to tee it up at golf's holy grail. The American then made a trip to Augusta National alongside Justin Thomas and son, Charlie, to test the extent of his injuries; with fans spotting his private jet in transit.

Upon his first practice, Woods officially declared his participation in the Masters as a "game time decision." He would go on to compete and open with a one-under par round, placing him at T10. 

Now Woods' return to professional golf is confirmed, we look ahead at to when we will see him prowling the fairways again. The next logical option would be the PGA Championship next month at Southern Hills, the location of his last PGA Championship success in 2007. Failing that, it is almost guaranteed we will see him at the US Open, having filed for entry, and the Open Championship at St. Andrews, after he declared his participation when the Masters was complete. 

James Hibbitt

James joined Golf Monthly having previously written for other digital outlets. He is obsessed with all areas of the game – from tournament golf, to history, equipment, technique and travel. He is also an avid collector of memorabilia; with items from the likes of Bobby Jones, Tiger Woods, Francis Ouimet, Arnold Palmer, Lee Trevino, Adam Scott and Ernie Els. As well as writing for Golf Monthly, James’ golfing highlight is fist bumping Phil Mickelson on his way to winning the Open Championship at Muirfield in 2013. James grew up on the east coast of England and is the third generation of his golfing family. He now resides in Leeds and is a member of Cobble Hall Golf Club with a handicap index of 1.7. His favourite films are The Legend of Bagger Vance and Tin Cup.