Besides, there is another side to the pressure factor, which is how Woods' competitors face up to it as they try to beat him. A case in point was the last round of the Masters, where one by one, Retief Goosen, Phil Mickelson, Ernie Els, Vijay Singh and Sergio Garcia dropped out and allowed Woods to play in a conservative manner because he was not challenged.
"Superb," Earl Woods called Tiger's closing round at Augusta. "It was textbook."
Besides, the elder Woods continued, Tiger is accustomed to being the one being chased.
"I don't think there will be any more players than usual shooting for him. They're always shooting for him anyway, trying to knock off the top dog. Everybody is doing their damnedest to do it.
"For Tiger, it is merely a matter of concentration and focus and being able to function under that kind of scrutiny and pressure. Very few people can do it. He has the ability to do it."
Since Muirfield last staged the Open Championship in 1992, 30 yards have been added to two par-three holes (the fourth and the 13th), but that's it, as far as length. The course measures 7,034 yards.
It is reasonable to assume that the Royal & Ancient is counting on the wind to make Muirfield a far more stern test. There has been minor tweaking, though, mainly to the bunkers. Of the 148 bunkers, 80 have been reworked and made steeper. The fairways, Nicklaus says, will be narrowed in the normal landing areas, but he says the real problem is the deep rough.
Nicklaus believes Muirfield will suit Woods.
"It's a golf course he will do well on," Nicklaus said, if Woods doesn't spend too much time in the rough.
"I don't care if you're Tiger Woods, Jack Nicklaus or King Kong, if it's knee-high rough, you're not going to get out of it."
Palmer also pointed out the rough as a major problem.
"It's going to be very tough," he said. "Under the circumstances, it's just my thinking, but the R&A and the people at Muirfield are going to be prepared for Tiger.... They're going to make it as tough as they possibly can.
"But it's a double-edged sword. If there's anyone who can handle it as tough as it is, it's Tiger."
It has been wet in Scotland and the rain has softened the course and probably taken some of the run out of the fairways and the hardness out of the greens. And the rough is likely to be lush instead of scraggly.
And if the wind blows and it rains during the tournament, whose advantage is it?
Woods shot a 66 on a bad weather Saturday at the Masters.
Woods also prevailed at the U.S. Open at Bethpage Black, which wasn't exactly a postcard for good weather.
If it rains and the wind blows, then the rain falls on everyone and the wind blows at every player. Earl Woods says the weather might not be as important a factor as something else--luck.
"It's all subject to the whim of a bounce or a gust of wind or a blade of grass.... You can prepare like hell, but those are the things that do it."
Woods missed the Western Open outside Chicago last week because of flu-like symptoms. He left home Tuesday for a fishing trip in Ireland and a couple of practice rounds whenever he could fit them in.
The last time Woods played in competition was the U.S. Open five weeks ago. It should be noted that in 1972, when Nicklaus came to Muirfield halfway to the Grand Slam, he had not played since the U.S. Open either.
Earl Woods says Tiger's health is what would concern him the most.
"That is the factor that gets me all the time," he said.
Nobody is playing better. Besides winning the first two majors this year, Woods leads the PGA Tour in scoring average (68.63), greens in regulation, final-round scoring average (68.20) and percentage of par-five holes that he birdies (52.4%). What's more, Woods is also second in total driving, a combination of distance and accuracy, trailing Garcia.
Palmer says the important thing to watch is how Woods bounces back if he hits a poor shot.
"I've seen him pull-hook a couple of shots and I'm sure he is quite aware he can't do that too often to do what he is trying to do," Palmer said. "If that pops up, he has to be prepared to take care of that.
"But there's no question about it, he's going to have to be very sharp. I think he can do it. No one has ever done it. But here's a man who has a chance."
Nicklaus says the only obstacle Woods is facing is himself.
"I don't think there is any bigger obstacle," Nicklaus said. "Tiger will try to do the best he can to prepare himself and his golf game to do his very best. Now, sometimes I played my best and I got beat ... at Turnberry [by Tom Watson in 1977], at Pebble Beach [by Watson in 1982]. But Tiger goes over and plays his 'A' game, he's a better player than they are, he will either win on his own merits or not win the tournament on his own merits. He's going to have other guys that play well, but he's the only thing he can control."
Earl Woods says the mental part of Tiger's game should be sharp because he already knows he can win majors--and win four in a row.
"He's already done it," Earl Woods said. "If you know it's doable, that's 80% of the battle."
And the battle begins Thursday, when Woods' quest for history brings him to one of the legendary layouts in golf. Like most everyone else, Earl Woods is eager to see what transpires.
"That is something that comes along once in a lifetime. There has been nothing like this in the past. Nicklaus, when he won the first two, it's really not the same. Nicklaus was depending totally on hitting fairways and greens. If Tiger can have his short game [on], that's the cure-all for a whole lot of sins, so his chances are much better than Nicklaus' were, in my opinion."
We have a week to find out. Until it happens, everything is speculation, but that's usually what you find on the road to a Grand Slam.