• PGA Tour

Faldo: Woods blew chance to be best ever

ESPN staff
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Sir Nick Faldo believes Tiger Woods is too distracted these days © Getty Images
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Six-time major champion Sir Nick Faldo believes Tiger Woods' off-course indiscretions have ended the American's chances of being remembered as the greatest golfer of all time.

Woods, 36, has 14 major titles to his name but has not won one of golf's four most prestigious events since revelations about his private life emerged in 2009. And Faldo, whose last major victory came a year before Woods claimed his first, believes the Florida resident will never regain his former focus.

When asked if he thought Woods could still beat Jack Nicklaus's record of 18 major wins, Faldo told the BBC: "I think it's slim. I would lean towards no.

"It has been four years since he last won at the US Open."

Faldo believes the stories about his personal affairs, and the subsequent breakdown of his marriage, have had a long-lasting impact on Woods' professional life.

"They [the revelations] have done more damage than people would give them credit for," Faldo said. "People thought he would deal with it and then get back on the golf course.

"It's wrecked that wonderful tranquility you get of going to a golf course, tipping out a bag of balls and hitting them from 9-5 and just thinking of golf.

"When you're a golfer that is great. But now he has shattered that peace. He won't get that back. Once you lose that concentration and that ability to become completely engrossed in your golf ... then slowly things have changed for him.

"His swing - physically, technically, mentally, karma - it's a harder climb right now. Sure, he could come back and do things, but he won't be dominant like he was."

Faldo also believes age is beginning to catch up with Woods, something that cannot be said of 23-year-old Rory McIlroy. McIlroy, the world No. 1, clinched the Race to Dubai title on the European Tour on Sunday - and Faldo believes he has a long and illustrious career ahead of him.

"I have been very impressed with Rory. He is a special kid," Faldo said. "There has only been Jack [Nicklaus], Seve [Ballesteros] and Tiger who have won two majors before they were 25, and now there's Rory.

"It puts him in a very special category."

He did have a word of warning for the Northern Irishman, however, noting that the extra attention and demands that come with being a sporting superstar can be difficult to cope with.

"There always will be pitfalls for him," Faldo added. "He is already feeling it. He is in demand. You can't please everyone.

"You have to be your own boss. He has to pace himself and do all the right things himself. He has 20-odd years left in the game."

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