Jack on Tiger's Slam bid: 'I wouldn't put it past him'

Count Nicklaus among those who wouldn't be surprised if Woods claims the Grand Slam this season. Chris Condon/US PGA TOUR/Getty Images

The Golden Bear is just as much in awe as the rest of us. Jack Nicklaus watches the dominant player Tiger Woods is today and hears the rumblings about this being a Grand Slam year.

Woods said he felt the feat of winning all four major championships was "easily within reason," and the talk will only intensify now that he has won his first two starts of 2008, including a stirring come-from-behind effort Sunday at the Dubai Desert Classic.

For those counting at home, that's four official victories in a row and six of his last seven, not to mention a win at his own unofficial Target World Challenge in December.

Gearing up for a Slam run is no surprise to Nicklaus because, well, that's what was always on his mind at this time of year, too.

"When I went into every season, that was my goal," Nicklaus said during a recent conference call to promote the Champions Skins Game later this month. "From about 1965 on, I felt like I had the ability and the potential to give it a run. I remember there were years I didn't win the Masters, and I felt like my year was shot. And that's sort of ridiculous.

"I got over that because I knew there were a lot more tournaments to be played. And more realistically, the Grand Slam was possible but not likely. And yet it was my goal to start every year. I started preparing in January for the Masters, and that's what I looked at. I think Tiger looks at in much the same way, but Tiger is probably more attuned to it because he's held all four of them at one time.

"That's a pretty lofty goal, but for a guy like Tiger, I wouldn't put it past him."

Woods won four straight major championships from the 2000 U.S. Open through the 2001 Masters. In 2002, he became the first player since Nicklaus 30 years earlier to win the Masters and the U.S. Open in the same year.

But for all of the Golden Bear's success, he never won more than two majors in a year. In 1972, because of a scheduling quirk, he held three majors at the same time because he had won the 1971 PGA Championship, which that year was played first, in February, then was not held again until the summer of 1972.

Nicklaus, now 68, completed the career Grand Slam in 1966 when he won the British Open.

"I don't remember what year it was, but I sort of kicked myself in the rear end because I felt I wasted a couple of other majors," Nicklaus said. "I didn't win the Masters, and I didn't prepare properly for the others. And I said, 'That's a bad attitude. That's an unrealistic way to approach what you're doing.' Then I realized if you didn't win, you do the best to win as much as you can.

"I had won the Masters in '63, '65 and '66. … And [when he didn't win after that], I was down for a long time. It was probably '68 or '69. I look back on it and thought how ridiculous it was."

Nicklaus came closest in 1972 and 1975. In 1972, he won the Masters and U.S. Open, and the British Open was returning to Muirfield, where he had won in 1966. Nicklaus finished second to Lee Trevino by a stroke.

In 1975, Nicklaus won the Masters and PGA Championship sandwiched around a tie for seventh at the U.S. Open, where he missed a playoff by two strokes, and a tie for second at the British Open, where he missed a playoff by one.

Woods' best chance came in 2002, when he won the Masters and U.S. Open and went to Muirfield as a heavy favorite. He trailed by just two strokes entering the third round, but had the misfortune of teeing off in a rainstorm and shot what remains his highest score in a major. He tied for 28th, but bounced back to finish second at the PGA.

In 2000, the year he won three straight majors, he did so after finishing fifth at the Masters.

So obviously, the disappointment of not winning didn't keep Woods down.

"Anytime you get close to something like that, it's disappointing. In '75, I missed it by three shots. In '72, I won the first two and actually almost got there but didn't quite, and I was pretty disappointed.

"I would have loved to have gone to Oakland Hills with a chance to do it."

Coincidentally, if Woods has a chance to win the Grand Slam, the last leg at the PGA Championship just happens to come at -- you guessed it --Oakland Hills.

Bob Harig is a frequent contributor to ESPN.com. He can be reached at BobHarig@gmail.com.