World No 7 Jason Day was runner up in the Masters and the US Open last year. Photo Eoin Clarke/www.golffile.ieGolf pundit Johnny Miller reckons Rory McIlroy and golf’s rising stars could stop Tiger Woods breaking Jack Nicklaus’ major records.

Miller said he believes that Woods will match the Golden Bear’s 18 majors but won’t set a new record.

“I think Tiger will win four more majors and 30 or 40 more tournaments, which is fantastic,” the former Open and US Open champion said.

“But for him to win five and surpass Jack? There’s a great chance he’ll win four and tie with Jack, but I don’t think he’ll get the fifth.”

Miller believes that’s because golf’s new breed see Woods as just another rival right now and no longer live in fear of him.

He insisted: “You’ve got guys like Rory McIlroy and Jason Day who say, ‘Hey, I can beat you.’

“They might rethink their bravado if Tiger starts kicking butt again, but right now Rory’s thinking, ‘Hey, old man, you had your day. My time is now.’”

Woods hasn’t won a full field event since December 2009 and while he captured his Chevron World Challenge last December, his comeback bid suffered a major reverse at Pebble Beach on Sunday.

The world No 18 was outscored by 11 shots by arch rival Phil Mickelson, who romped to a closing 64 and his 40th PGA Tour win.

Despite his massive win, Mickelson thinks Woods is very close to playing his best stuff.

Phil said: “It’s such a night and day difference. He used to hook . . you were waiting for it and now he’s just striping it right at his target with a tiny little fade just like he used to do. And his iron play looked extremely sharp.”

Dubliner Padraig Harrington isn’t writing off Woods and insists he can still beat Jack’s major record despite his recent woes.

Harrington said: “I’d be still backing him to beat Jack’s record, absolutely. If he turns up and plays well, he’s going to win.

“He’s in the position that he knows his best game is a winning game.”