Global Golf Post’s John Hopkins was the award-winning golf correspondent for The Times of London from 1993-2010 and the Sunday Times from 1980-1993. A collection of his columns for both newspapers has been published as Fore! The Best Of John Hopkins On Golf. The following is an excerpt:
A friend posed an interesting question the other day. Did Jack Nicklaus have more or fewer challengers to his supremacy all those years ago than Tiger Woods does today? After consideration I said I thought that in Nicklaus’s day there were more really good golfers who were unafraid to challenge him, though fewer really good golfers in all.
I said that Arnold Palmer and Gary Player with 16 major championships combined, Tom Watson (8) and Lee Trevino (6) as well as Johnny Miller, Seve Ballesteros and Ray Floyd were more genuine contenders to Nicklaus’ title as the world’s best golfer than Ernie Els, Phil Mickelson, Vijay Singh, Sergio García, Pádraig Harrington, Geoff Ogilvy, Retief Goosen are to Woods now. Nicklaus did not spook his opponents the way Woods seems to.
This led to a discussion as to whether or not Woods will reach Nicklaus’s total of 18 victories in professional major championships or, indeed, pass it. My view is constant on this and always has been. I will not put any money on Woods even equalling Nicklaus’s record.