Cape Town - Jack Nicklaus has defended Tiger Woods after he came under fire for not speaking out more strongly against US President Donald Trump.
Woods was asked about Trump in a recent interview, but seemed unwilling to offer any vocal condemnation about the president or his policies.
"I've known Donald for a number of years," Woods said.
"We've played golf together. We've had dinner together. I've known him pre-presidency and obviously during his presidency."
Asked if he thought badly of Trump because of his policies on immigration, Woods said: "Well, he's the President of the United States. You have to respect the office."
READ: Tiger stays out of Trump feud with NFL, NBA athletes
Many were clearly hoping for a more stern rebuke, and Woods was pilloried on social media and by several media pundits for not taking a stronger stance.
But 18-time Major champion Jack Nicklaus - who has previously revealed that he voted for Trump - was full of praise for Woods' words.
"I couldn't have agreed with Tiger more," Nicklaus said in an interview with Golf Channel.
"Whether it's Barack Obama or Donald Trump in the office of the president, you respect the office.
"The office of the president is the head of the greatest country in the world."
Woods' comments even drew praise from the president himself, who tweeted: "The Fake News Media worked hard to get Tiger Woods to say something that he didn’t want to say. Tiger wouldn't play the game - he is very smart.“More importantly, he is playing great golf again!"