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His health is becoming an issue with each year. Woods already has had four operations on his left knee, dating to his freshman year at Stanford to remove two benign tumors and scar issues. His most recent surgery was after winning the U.S. Open in 2008, and he wound up missing the next eight months after his left knee was rebuilt.

When he returned from a sex scandal last year at the Masters, Woods revealed that he had ruptured the Achilles in his right leg in December 2008, two months before he came back from the knee surgery. Woods had a cortisone shot in his right ankle last December.

Woods, who has fallen to a No. 6 world ranking, has not won since the Australian Masters in November 2009, the longest drought of his career. Eleven majors have been played since he last won, the longest he has gone without winning.

Nicklaus holds the record of 18 professional majors, a mark that once looked to be easily within Woods‘ reach.