Jack Nicklaus talks about Tiger Woods and his recovery and influence to golf.
ALDIE, Va. — Sitting across from a course that he designed at a charity tournament that raised more than $1 million, Jack Nicklaus is living proof that life goes on after professional golf.
He just hopes Tiger Woods finds the same.
A statement from the Tiger Woods Foundation announced that Woods will not attend this week’s Quicken Loans National, a stop on the PGA Tour that benefits his foundation. The news comes in the wake of Woods being charged with driving under the influence in late May, and amid speculation about when he will return to the tour after undergoing fusion surgery on his back in April. It was the fourth procedure on his back since 2014.
Woods, 41, is receiving in-patient treatment to help manage medications as he deals with his back and a sleep disorder.
“He’ll have a very hard time. I don’t know whether Tiger will play much golf anymore,” said Nicklaus, who won a record 18 major championships.
“He might come back and play — I think it’d be pretty tough for him, after getting fused, and as many problems as he’s had recently. … His problems are more life problems than they are golf problems right now.”
But for Nicklaus, Woods will not be defined solely by whether or not he returns to compete. As Nicklaus spoke Monday at the Creighton Farms Invitational, a charity tournament that raises money for children’s pediatric health care programs, the Golden Bear pointed out that one’s legacy is about more than golf titles.
“Whether he plays golf or not, I think he’s got an awful lot to offer the youth of the country and the game itself,” said Nicklaus.
The Quicken Loans National, which tees off Thursday, benefits low-income students in the Tiger Woods Foundation’s college access programs. Though Woods was not expected to play, he had made appearances in past years.
To Nicklaus, who raised more than $1.4 million for charity at the Creighton Farms Invitational over the weekend, the impact of the Tiger Woods Foundation says far more than the results Woods has on the PGA Tour.
“Tiger’s a good kid, he cares about people, and we’ll just see what happens,” Nicklaus said.
“I hope he gets his life straightened out with the problems he’s had and be able to lead a normal life, but also use what he has done and his legacy to help a lot of kids and a lot of other people.”