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Jack Nicklaus Responds To Tiger Woods' Comments On President Trump

Tiger Woods takes a shot at the 2018 PGA Championship.

ST LOUIS, MO - AUGUST 10: Tiger Woods of the United States plays a shot from a bunker on the sixth hole during the second round of the 2018 PGA Championship at Bellerive Country Club on August 10, 2018 in St Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)

Tiger Woods has been on an extended stretch of pretty inspired golf. Over the weekend, he found himself in a political discussion, after being asked about President Donald Trump.

Clearly, Woods did not want to make a big statement in any direction. He famously had a relationship with Trump prior to his presidency, which he acknowledged when asked about it by a reporter for The New York Times.

Via Golf Channel's Tiger Tracker:

"I've known Donald for a number of years. We've played golf together. We've had dinner together. I've known him pre-presidency and obviously during his presidency."

The reporter followed up with a question about Trump's immigration policies, and about those who "might find it interesting" that Tiger and Trump have a relationship.

Again, Tiger kept it pretty apolitical, saying that he "respects the office" that Trump occupies.

“Well, he’s the President of the United States. You have to respect the office. No matter who is in the office, you may like, dislike personality or the politics, but we all must respect the office.”

That answer hasn't flown with everyone. Max Kellerman, of ESPN's First Take, called it a “thoughtless statement dressed up as a thoughtful statement.”

“And it either holds in contempt the intelligence of people who hear it or else it’s just a stupid thing to say. … To say you must have respect for the office — Tiger, be clear. Are you saying that the office, therefore, confers respect onto its present temporary occupant? No. Having respect for the office means principally, in my view, is the office holder should have respect for the office,” Kellerman said.

“We are held to a standard of behavior, we at our jobs, right, people in their daily lives. The president, if anything, is held to a higher standard of behavior. It is not such that we have such great respect for the office that no matter what the behavior of its occupant, we must respect the occupant because of the office. No. Tiger Woods … is being slick. We must respect the office therefore that confers respect to the occupant. Tiger, is that is what you are saying? If that is what you are saying, that is a stupid comment.”

Trump himself weighed in on the comments, commending Woods for not "playing the game" with the media.

Now, Jack Nicklaus has weighed in on Tiger Woods' Donald Trump comments.

The Golden Bear, whose record 18 major championships Tiger continues to chase, was asked about the comments in a radio interview. He threw his support behind Woods.

From the Golf Channel:

Nicklaus was on Wednesday's "Morning Drive" with Major Dan Rooney to promote Patriot Golf Day, when he was asked to comment on Woods' response.

“I couldn’t have agreed with Tiger more. Whether it’s Barack Obama or Donald Trump in the office of the president, you respect the office," said Nicklaus, a vocal Trump supporter. "My political views might be different from somebody else’s political views, but it doesn’t make any difference. The office of the president is the head of the greatest country in the world.

"I think Tiger was very appropriate with what he said."

Nicklaus was also very complimentary of Tigers' recent outings, which featured two top six finishes in his last two majors.

"I think Tiger’s swing actually looks to be better than it’s ever been. His fusion in his back has not allowed him to dip down like he used to. He’s staying pretty much on top of the ball and I think he’s been very level, which has always, to my opinion, been one of Tiger’s problems," Nicklaus said. "I think he’s swinging very well, he’s hitting it very well. Maybe not made as many putts as he used to.

"He’s a great competitor, he's a great golfer, he’s a great athlete, he’s a good friend, and I continue to wish him well."

Tiger trails Sam Snead by three all-time PGA Tour victories, with 79, and has 14 major titles to Nicklaus' 18. If he can break through for another big win in the coming year, it will be absolutely thrilling for golf.

[Golf Channel]