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The Tour Report

May 31 2011

6:49 PM

Nicklaus thinks Woods will play Open

By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM

DUBLIN, Ohio -- Tiger Woods wanted to play in the Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide Insurance this week. He really did.

After all, Woods is a four-time champion of the event hosted by the man whose records he so doggedly has pursued. Finally, though, Woods knew he had to make the call -- literally as well as figuratively.

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The damage to his left knee and Achilles tendon -- which caused Woods to withdraw after nine holes of THE PLAYERS Championship -- still wasn't healed. So Woods picked up the phone on Friday and called Jack Nicklaus.

"He said, 'I tried up until today to see if I'm going to be able to come and play, but I can't,'" Nicklaus recalled. "He said, I'm still hobbling, and he said, I don't know whether I'm going to make the U.S. Open or not."

Nicklaus said he doesn't know the extent of Woods' injuries. But his gut tells him that Woods will play in the U.S. Open at Congressional in two weeks as he tries to get within three of Nicklaus’ record of 18 professional majors.

"I told Tiger when I was on the phone with him, which is the same thing I've said to him a thousand times, Tiger, nobody ever wants records to be broken," Nicklaus said. "That's obvious. I mean, I don't care who it is. 

"But I certainly don't want you not to be healthy and not have the opportunity to play to break records. I want you to get yourself healthy, do what you have to do to go play, get your golf game back in shape, and I wish you well, wish you good luck, which I would say that to any athlete and anybody, because I think that's the way it should be."