Jack Nicklaus has backed Tiger Woods to impress at the US Open and feels the 15-time major champion is the man to beat at Pebble Beach.
Woods arrives in California looking to claim a record-equalling fourth US Open success, at the event and venue where he recorded the largest-ever major victory with a 15-stroke win in 2000.
The former world No 1, who registered a first major since 2008 with a one-shot win at the Masters earlier this year, can equal Sam Snead’s all-time tally of 82 PGA Tour titles and move within two of Nicklaus’ major record with a victory this week.
When asked who his favourite to win the third major of the year would be, Nicklaus told Sky Sports: I would think Tiger [Woods].
Tiger won there by a million there the last time he won, he grew around that area and he is smart, so knows how to play there.
I think Tiger will play well but a lot of the guys are playing well too, so it’ll be a good tournament.
Nicklaus won both the US Amateur Championship and US Open at Pebble Beach as well as the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am on three occasions, with the Golden Bear believing the course offers a different test to many other major courses.
Length is not the big issue there, the issue is being smart, Nicklaus added. A double-bogey happens real quickly at Pebble Beach.
You have to put yourself in a position to take advantage of a hole when you can. The greens are tough to make putts on, but the guys have played a lot there and understand a little bit about what goes on there.
If I had one round of golf to play that that’s where I’ve always said that where I would want to go, so obviously I love Pebble Beach too. I won the US Amateur there and quite a few other things, so it holds a special place in my heart.
Watch the US Open throughout the week live on Sky Sports. Live coverage begins with the On the Range show on Wednesday from 8pm on Sky Sports Golf.