The 22 times Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods played in the same major

By T.J. Auclair
PGA.com
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Series: Golf Buzz

Published: Sunday, November 26, 2017 | 2:08 p.m.

You may not realize this, but the two greatest major champions in golf history -- Jack Nicklaus with 18 and Tiger Woods with 14 -- actually crossed paths in the majors on 22 occasions.

In a recent interview with Cigar Aficionado, which you can watch here, Michael Jordan -- arguably the greatest basketball player in history -- was asked who he believed to be the best golfer of all time.

It was no surprise that His Airness, who also happens to be a golf aficionado, wasn't falling into that trap.

ALTERNATIVE HISTORY: A look at Tiger's 79 Tour victories... without Tiger

"They're both great and I would never say one is greater than the other," Jordan said.

Jordan also said, "Jack and Tiger never played against each other. They never played in the same tournament. They never played with the same equipment. They never played with the same length of golf course. I never played against Wilt Chamberlain. I never played against Jerry West. To now say that one is greater than the other is being a little bit unfair."

Not all of that is entirely true, though we do understand Jordan's point. Woods and Nicklaus actually played in many of the same events early in Tiger's career, but at that point, the Golden Bear was well past his prime while Tiger was coming into his own.

Since the talk is always about majors when it comes to Nicklaus and Woods, we decided to breakdown the 22 occasions in which the two played in the same major.

A couple of fun stats that came out of this:

- Nicklaus got the better of Woods on five of the 22 occasions, most notably his T6 to Tiger's T8 in the 1998 Masters when Nicklaus was 58 years old.

- In four of the five majors where Nicklaus bettered Woods, Woods was still an amateur.

- Perhaps most remarkably of all, in the 22 majors where Woods and Nicklaus were both in the field, Woods collected seven of his 14 majors and finished in the top 10 nine times.

 

 

Here's the year-by-year, tournament-by-tournament of the 22 majors that had Woods and Nicklaus in the field:

1995 Masters, Augusta National Golf Club (Woods played as an amateur)
Woods -- T41 (low amateur)
Nicklaus -- T35
 
1995 U.S. Open, Shinnecock Hills (Woods played as an amateur)
Woods -- WD
Micklaus -- MC
 
1995 Open Championship, St. Andrews (Woods played as an amateur)
Woods -- T68
Nicklaus -- T45
 
1996 Masters, Augusta National Golf Club (Woods played as an amateur)
Woods -- MC
Nicklaus -- T41
 
1996 U.S. Open, Oakland Hills Country Club (Woods played as an amateur)
Woods -- T82
Nicklaus -- T27
 
1996 Open Championship, Royal Lytham & St. Annes (Woods played as an amateur)
Woods -- T22 (low amateur)
Nicklaus -- T45
 
1997 Masters, Augusta National Golf Club (Woods's first major as a pro)
Woods -- Won
Nicklaus -- T39
 
1997 U.S. Open, Congressional 
Woods -- T19
Nicklaus -- T52
 
1997 Open Championship, Royal Troon
Woods -- T24
Nicklaus -- T60
 
1997 PGA Championship, Winged Foot 
Woods -- T29
Nicklaus -- MC
 
1998 Masters, Augusta National Golf Club
Woods -- T8
Nicklaus -- T6
 
1998 U.S. Open, Olympic Club
Woods -- T18
Nicklaus -- T43
 
1999 U.S. Open, Pinehurst No. 2
Woods -- T3
Nicklaus -- MC
 
2000 Masters, Augusta National Golf Club
Woods -- 5th
Nicklaus -- T54
 
2000 U.S. Open, Pebble Beach 
Woods -- Won
Nicklaus -- MC
 
2000 Open Championship, St. Andrews
Woods -- Won
Nicklaus -- MC
 
2000 PGA Championship, Valhalla Golf Club 
Woods -- Won
Nicklaus -- MC
 
2001 Masters, Augusta National Golf Club
Woods -- Won
Nicklaus -- MC
 
2003 Masters, Augusta National Golf Club
Woods -- T15
Nicklaus -- MC
 
2004 Masters, Augusta National Golf Club 
Woods -- T22
Nicklaus -- MC
 
2005 Masters, Augusta National Golf Club 
Woods -- Won
Nicklaus -- MC
 
2005 Open Championship, St. Andrews
Woods -- Won
Nicklaus -- MC
 

 

T.J. Auclair is a Senior Interactive Producer for PGA.com and has covered professional golf since 1998, traveling to over 60 major championships. You can follow him on Twitter, @tjauclair.