Viktor Hovland made history, surpassing Jack Nicklaus for the lowest 72-hole score by an amateur at the U.S. Open.

Winner of a record 18 major championships, American great Nicklaus set the record via a 282 in 1960.

However, unheralded Norwegian Hovland broke the record with a score of 280 at Pebble Beach on Sunday.

The 21-year-old, who posted 69-73-71 in the opening three rounds, signed off with a four-under-par 67 to be tied for 13th.

Tiger Woods will play in the Memorial Tournament as preparation for June's U.S. Open at Pebble Beach.

Woods missed the cut at the US PGA Championship having played no tournaments between his victory at the Masters in April and his disappointing performance in the second major of the year at Bethpage Black.

The 43-year-old was also able to play just nine practice holes in Farmingdale because of illness, and subsequently finished five over to miss the weekend.

He will take a different approach ahead of the U.S. Open, confirming on Thursday that he will be at Muirfield Village Golf Course in Columbus, Ohio, for the 75-player invitation-only event hosted by 18-time major champion Jack Nicklaus, whose record Woods is chasing.

Woods has played the tournament 16 times, winning a record five.

In addition to chasing Nicklaus' career tally for major victories, Woods would tie Sam Snead's record of 82 PGA Tour successes with one more win.

The most recent of Woods' five triumphs at the Memorial was in 2012 and featured a memorable holed flop shot on the 16th hole of the final round that Nicklaus called "the most unbelievably gutsy shot I've ever seen".

After almost 11 years without a major triumph, Tiger Woods will seek a second in succession at this week's US PGA Championship.

Woods completed an extraordinary return from career-threatening injuries at Augusta last month, winning the Masters to claim his 15th victory in one of golf's premier strokeplay events.

The former world number one is now just three short of Jack Nicklaus' record haul of 18 majors.

Two of Omnisport's golf experts share their thoughts on whether Tiger can catch Jack.

 

The aura is back, if anyone can do this, Tiger can – Peter Hanson

If this question had been posed to me a year ago, I would have needed helping back to my feet after falling off my chair laughing. But the circumstances could hardly be more different now.

Tiger, beaten down by a series of agonising back injuries, himself admitted in late 2017 that he did not know if he would play again, let alone compete at the elite level of golf. This is no ordinary player we are talking about, though.

The statistics detailing his years of dominance make for remarkable reading. Even now there are times you have to double take to make sure what you are fact checking is correct.

Reeling in, and then overtaking, Nicklaus would have been a task much more achievable had Tiger converted challenges at last year's Open and US PGA Championship into victories.

Yet that inimitable aura is undoubtedly back. So are the club twirls, the exquisite wedges, the cocksure body language of a serial winner.

At 43, time is running out for Woods and even a player of Tiger's extraordinary talent cannot compete at the top level forever.

The competition is stronger than ever but if any player is capable of doing something to boggle the mind of even his most ardent supporter, it is Tiger Woods. He can win 18 majors and more.

 

It's too late now, Tiger – Russell Greaves

Golf is a sport that affords its legends a little more time to grace the stage, and not merely as bit-part players.

Well into their 30s, and in some notable cases their 40s, players can enjoy starring roles at major championships.

But when those in the latter age bracket do win one of the four headline events, it invariably proves to be their swansong.

Nicklaus was 46 when his 18th arrived and, though he flirted with more Masters glory after that Augusta triumph, he was essentially a spent force in that regard.

Gary Player managed to claim a green jacket at the age of 42, and Lee Trevino a PGA Championship title at 44.

But there is no trend of players winning multiple majors in their twilight years in the modern era. Every year from 40 onwards, it just gets tougher.

Tiger will face the same challenges as his predecessors when it comes to confronting his advancing years – an aging body, a talented new crop awaiting their turn, and the growing sense that time will prove his greatest enemy.

The debate about whether Tiger would surpass Nicklaus has been decided precisely because it has taken Woods 11 years just to add just one more to his tally. He will not get another four before the clock runs down.

Jack Nicklaus congratulated Tiger Woods after the 15-time major winner received the Presidential Medal of Freedom on Monday.

Woods, who has struggled with injuries in recent years, was awarded the medal by United States president Donald Trump after he shockingly took home the 2019 Masters title.

It was Woods' 15th major win but his first since 2008.

"Heartfelt congrats to [Tiger Woods] on receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom this evening!" Nicklaus wrote on Twitter.

"His impact on golf and his ability to inspire others to play this great game is on par with his incredible talent!"

Woods became the fourth golfer to be honoured with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Arnold Palmer received the award in 2004 while Nicklaus and Charlie Sifford followed in 2005 and 2014 respectively.

"Tiger Woods is a global symbol of American excellence, devotion and drive," Trump said on Monday.

"These qualities embody the American spirit of pushing boundaries, defying limits and always striving for greatness."

Woods was ranked as low as 1,199th in the world as recently as November 2017. He thanked his family and friends during the ceremony.

"You've seen the good and the bad, the highs and the lows," Woods said. "I would not be in this position without all of your help.”

The Presidential Medal of Freedom – along with the Congressional Medal of Freedom – is the highest award given to civilians in the United States.

Other notable athletes who have earned the medal include Muhammad Ali, Michael Jordan, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Jackie Robinson and Hank Aaron, among others.

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola thinks still being involved in the Champions League will not hinder Liverpool during the closing stages of the Premier League title race.

City have narrowed their focus on completing a domestic treble since they were knocked out of Europe earlier this month and know victories in each of their remaining three league games will be enough to finish top of the table again.

Burnley, Leicester City and Brighton and Hove Albion are the obstacles left for the champions to clear and Guardiola will have ample time to prepare his players for the final two fixtures without any further Champions League commitments.

An impending two-legged battle with Barcelona denies Liverpool the same luxury, with the prospect of five games in just over two weeks potentially prohibitive to the challengers' hopes of pipping City.

Guardiola, though, would welcome such a burden, referencing the Anfield club's warm-weather training camps in January and February as more valuable than additional rest in April and May.

"To be involved in the Champions League semi-finals, you are not tired. You don't feel any pain, nothing," Guardiola said.

"That is a better position to be in, to be in Liverpool's position and to be in the semi-finals.

"Regarding the toughest months of this competition - in December, January, February - and they have two weeks in training camps, [while] we have to be here and playing every three days, that is a big advantage for the opponent."

Liverpool could finish second with as many as 97 points if both teams win their remaining league games between now and the end of the campaign.

It is a tough reality that Guardiola says genuine title contenders must embrace.

"The people know that before [last season] you have to be close to 90 points and now you have to be close to 100," he said.

"We helped Liverpool to achieve that and Liverpool help us to maintain this level.

"It's like when Usain Bolt makes a 100 metres race - that's the standard, other people have to achieve it. Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods, that's the standard, it's the same.

"One hundred points in a season, if you want to compete you have to do that."

Tiger Woods claimed he had not yet thought about his chances of surpassing Jack Nicklaus' record haul of major titles, after moving to within three of the 'Golden Bear' with victory at the 2019 Masters.

Almost 11 years on from his 14th major triumph, Woods sensationally added to his tally with a one-shot triumph at Augusta National, completing an improbable comeback from career-threatening injuries.

Woods is now only three shy of Nicklaus when it comes to major wins, the latter's record of 18 coming back into focus once more.

"You know, I really haven't thought about that yet," said Woods, 43, in a news conference.

"I'm sure that I'll probably think of it going down the road. Maybe, maybe not. But right now, it's a little soon, and I'm just enjoying 15."

In a phone call to the Golf Channel, Nicklaus joked that Woods had "got me shaking in my boots", as he pointed out the fact the next two major championships will take place at courses where Woods has previously won the U.S. Open.

"I felt for a long time he was going to win again," said Nicklaus, who famously won the Masters for a sixth time at the age of 46 in 1986.

"And, you know, the next two majors are at Bethpage, where he's won, and Pebble Beach, where he's won.

"So, you know, he's got me shaking in my boots, guys."

Woods trailed overnight leader Francesco Molinari for much of the final round, but seized his chance after the Italian found water at 12 en route to a double bogey.

Nicklaus added: "There wasn't any question in my mind. After seeing Molinari hit the ball in the water at 12, and Tiger put it on the green. I said, 'tournament's over.' It doesn't make any difference what anyone else is going to do. Somebody is going to make enough mistakes, and Tiger won't make any, and he didn't."

While Nicklaus said he was certain of a Woods victory from the 12th hole, the outcome certainly did not appear certain as five players shared the lead with the final group coming down the 15th.

"There were so many guys that had a chance to win. The leaderboard was absolutely packed and everyone was playing well," acknowledged Woods.

The champion prompted laughter as he concluded: "You couldn't have had more drama than we all had out there, and now I know why I'm balding. This stuff is hard."

Tiger Woods is a major champion once again, having claimed his 15th title almost 11 years after he last won at the highest level.

Woods completed an extraordinary return to the top of the game, having overcome career-threatening injuries, by securing a one-shot victory at the Masters.

He had last triumphed at Augusta in 2005, but looked as imposing as ever down the stretch as he got the job done on Sunday.

Woods is now three short of Jack Nicklaus' record haul of 18 majors. Two of Omnisport's golf experts share their thoughts on whether Tiger can catch Jack.

 

The aura is back, if anyone can do this, Tiger can – Peter Hanson

If this question had been posed to me a year ago, I would have needed helping back to my feet after falling off my chair laughing. But the circumstances could hardly be more different now.

Tiger, beaten down by a series of agonising back injuries, himself admitted in late 2017 that he did not know if he would play again, let alone compete at the elite level of golf. This is no ordinary player we are talking about, though.

The statistics detailing his years of dominance make for remarkable reading. Even now there are times you have to double take to make sure what you are fact checking is correct.

Reeling in, and then overtaking, Nicklaus would have been a task much more achievable had Tiger converted challenges at last year's Open and US PGA Championship into victories.

Yet that inimitable aura is undoubtedly back. So are the club twirls, the exquisite wedges, the cocksure body language of a serial winner.

At 43, time is running out for Woods and even a player of Tiger's extraordinary talent cannot compete at the top level forever.

The competition is stronger than ever but if any player is capable of doing something to boggle the mind of even his most ardent supporter, it is Tiger Woods. He can win 18 majors and more.

 

It's too late now, Tiger – Russell Greaves

Golf is a sport that affords its legends a little more time to grace the stage, and not merely as bit-part players.

Well into their 30s, and in some notable cases their 40s, players can enjoy starring roles at major championships.

But when those in the latter age bracket do win one of the four headline events, it invariably proves to be their swansong.

Nicklaus was 46 when his 18th arrived and, though he flirted with more Masters glory after that Augusta triumph, he was essentially a spent force in that regard.

Gary Player managed to claim a green jacket at the age of 42, and Lee Trevino a PGA Championship title at 44.

But there is no trend of players winning multiple majors in their twilight years in the modern era. Every year from 40 onwards, it just gets tougher.

Tiger will face the same challenges as his predecessors when it comes to confronting his advancing years – an aging body, a talented new crop awaiting their turn, and the growing sense that time will prove his greatest enemy.

The debate about whether Tiger would surpass Nicklaus has been decided precisely because it has taken Woods 11 years just to add just one more to his tally. He will not get another four before the clock runs down.

Serena Williams revealed she was moved to tears while Jack Nicklaus sent his congratulations after Tiger Woods secured his 15th major at the Masters.

Woods carded a final round of 70 to win by one shot on a dramatic final day at Augusta, clinching a fifth green jacket but his first since 2005.

The 43-year-old has endured injury issues in recent years, raising doubts over his future in the game, but he completed a remarkable comeback on Sunday, much to the delight of those at the venue and millions watching on at home.

Tennis star Williams - who has returned to the court after giving birth to her first child in September 2017 - was quick to send out a tweet congratulating her fellow American, admitting she was inspired by Woods' success.

"I am literally in tears watching Tiger Woods - this is Greatness like no other," she wrote on social media.

"Knowing all you have been through physically to come back and do what you just did today? Wow. Congrats a million times! I am so inspired thank you buddy."

Woods is now one closer to the record of 18 major wins held by Nicklaus, who believes the result will provide a huge boost for the sport.

Nicklaus tweeted: "A big "well done" from me to Tiger Woods! I am so happy for him and for the game of golf. This is just fantastic!!!"

For the first time in almost 11 years, Tiger Woods has edged closer to Jack Nicklaus' record haul of 18 majors courtesy of his stunning victory in the Masters.

Woods triumphed by a single stroke at Augusta National on Sunday, completing a sensational comeback from multiple back surgeries.

Following his victory, we take a look at the six most prolific winners of golf's most prestigious strokeplay events.

 

1. Jack Nicklaus (18)

Nicklaus' tally of 18 major victories remains the benchmark. The 'Golden Bear' is the only man in the modern era to have won the same major six times, recording a sextet of triumphs at Augusta rounded off by a famous success at the age of 46 in 1986. Nicklaus also claimed five wins at the US PGA Championship, four at the U.S. Open and three at The Open in a remarkable career. Incredibly, he also recorded 19 second-place finishes in majors.

 

2. Tiger Woods (15)

Woods looked a near certainty to surpass Nicklaus when he registered major win number 14 at the 2008 U.S. Open, despite being inconvenienced by severe leg injuries in his final round. However, a 15th title was a long time in coming. Golf's biggest star has now won five green jackets, in addition to four US PGA wins and three victories at both The Open and U.S. Open. Can he now catch Jack?

 

3. Walter Hagen (11)

Hagen's prime years preceded the first edition of the Masters in 1934. After winning the U.S. Open in 1914 and 1919, he went on to claim four Open titles and five successes at the US PGA, including four in a row from 1924 to 1927.

 

=4. Gary Player / Ben Hogan (9)

Hogan only needed to play The Open once, in 1953, to complete a career Grand Slam. He also won the U.S. Open four times and claimed two victories at the Masters and US PGA. Player is the only non-American to have won all four majors, the South African's wins spanning the 1950s, 60s and 70s. He is a three-time winner of the Masters and The Open, who triumphed twice at the US PGA and once at the U.S. Open.

 

6. Tom Watson (8)

Only Harry Vardon, whose major wins came between 1896 and 1914, can top Watson's tally of five Open Championship titles. Watson lifted the Claret Jug at five different venues and also enjoyed two successes at the Masters and one at the U.S. Open. The US PGA Championship was the only major to elude him.

Gary Player marked the 10th anniversary of the last time he played in the Masters by getting the first major of the year under way along with Jack Nicklaus on Thursday.

Legendary duo Player, 83, and Nicklaus, 79, stepped up once again to perform their roles as honorary starters under blues skies at Augusta.

Three-time champion Player took his place in the Masters field for a record 52nd time in 2009 and still looked sprightly as he struck the first tee shot a decade on.

Nicklaus, winner of 18 majors in his incredible career, followed the South African with his drive before the tournament was officially declared to be under way.

Texas Open champion Corey Conners, Adam Long and Andrew Landry were the first group to go out at 8:30am in Georgia.

Favourite Rory McIlroy, Rickie Fowler and Cameron Smith were due to go out at 11:15am.

Four-time champion Tiger Woods will be in the group before that trio along with Jon Rahm and Haotong Li.

 

Past and present stars from different sports paid tribute to Tiger Woods after the 14-time major winner ended his drought at the Tour Championship. 

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