(Paul Ellis/AFP/Getty Images)

Talk about a backhanded compliment! Gary Player told Golf.com that if Tiger Woods hadn’t changed his swing after winning the U.S. Open in 2000, he’d have won at least 24 major titles by now. Woods has won 14 major championships. Effectively, Player’s saying Woods is both great and terrible at the same time.

The nine-time Major champion tells Golf.com:

“[W]hen Tiger Woods was playing his best, there was nobody that was even close to him — not even close! And if he was playing his best as he used to right now, nobody else is close to him. But he’s not. So now these young chaps have come along and they’re oozing with confidence and they’re not scared of him anymore and quite rightly so… If [Tiger] never had a lesson after he won the U.S. Open [in 2000] … he would’ve won, in my opinion, 24 majors minimum because he demoralized the field and he was so, so good.”

Player isn’t a mean guy, however. He’s saying what many people already think after watching Woods decline over the past few years. Plus, Player did make sure to add a no-strings-attached compliment, as well.

“I’m a big Tiger Woods fan,” Player said. “He’s the most talented man who has ever played golf.”

Woods, who won his last major in 2008, is set to tee off in the British Open on Thursday. It will be his first major event of the year after he took time off to recover from back surgery.