London – Tiger Woods' chances of surpassing Jack Nicklaus' record of 18 major titles were ruined by his extra-marital affairs, according to British golfing great Nick Faldo.
Woods, 37, appeared to be closing in on Nicklaus' mark after winning 14 majors but he is yet to prevail at a major championship since revelations about his private life emerged nearly three years ago.
The American took a four-month break from the sport after admitting to the affairs, but he has failed to recapture his early-career form since making his return.
Asked about Woods' chances of catching up with Nicklaus, Faldo said: “I think it's slim. “I would lean towards no.
“It has been four years since he last won at the US Open.”
Faldo, who won six major titles, believes the harm inflicted upon Woods' game in the aftermath of the scandal may prove irreparable.
“(The revelations) have done more damage than people would give them credit for,” he told BBC Radio 5 Live.
“People thought he would deal with it and then get back on the golf course.
“It's wrecked that wonderful tranquillity you get of going to a golf course, tipping out a bag of balls, and hitting them from nine to five 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.”
In the last 18 months, Rory McIlroy has emerged as the new shining light in world golf and Faldo believes the 23-year-old Northern Irishman is well placed to assume Woods' mantle.
“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.” – Sapa-AFP