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Tiger Woods may catch Jack Nicklaus' major mark with recent resurgence

By Brendan Savage
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GRAND BLANC TWP., Mich. -- The recent resurgence of Tiger Woods has convinced Rocco Mediate that his old adversary isn't finished winning.

Not just on the PGA Tour but major championships as well.

WATCH: Tiger's best moments from the 2018 PGA Championship

Mediate, who famously lost a playoff with Woods at the 2008 U.S. Open, has seen enough from the world's former No. 1-ranked player to believe that plenty of victories are on the horizon.

"I'm not surprised at anything he's doing," Mediate said Monday, when he was at Warwick Hills Golf and Country Club for The Ally Challenge media day. "I'm surprised he hasn't won. He's coming. He's coming back. He moved from like 8,000,000th in the world (rankings) to 30th.

"He's coming."

At one point in his career, Woods appeared as if he would be a lock to break Jack Nicklaus' record of 18 major championships.

MORE: A look back at the 22 times Jack and Tiger played the same major

When he beat Mediate in 2008 during an epic playoff at Torrey Pines in Southern California, he had won 14 majors at the age of 32.

But a variety of injuries and personal problems derailed Woods' career and that win over Mediate remains his last major championship.

But after watching Woods contend at the Masters and PGA Championship this year, Mediate thinks Woods is on the verge of winning again at a major.

"Several majors," Mediate predicted. "Jack's record is not safe. Trust me. Trust me. We're not talking about a normal guy here.

"You see it in his eyes. You saw what he did Sunday at the PGA. That doesn't happen. Many people don't do that. I think he's very close to where he wants to be.

"Golf needs him. He's the one that moves the needle. The only one."

MORE: How Tiger has done since switching putters at Quicken Loans National

Although Mediate won six times on the PGA Tour -- including the 2000 Buick Open at Warwick Hills -- while also capturing the 2016 Senior PGA Championship, it's the loss to Woods in the U.S. Open that still defines Mediate to many people.

And that's OK with Mediate, who calls it the highlight of his career.

"Of course it is," he said. "It's one of the biggest highlights of my life. It's the most fun you ever have -- national open against Tiger. Are you kidding me? Of course it's a highlight. I remember event shot, every smell, every person.

"It was definitely cool."

This article is written by Brendan Savage from MLive.com, Walker, Mich. and was legally licensed via the Tribune Content Agency through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.