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THE PRESIDENTS CUP MEDIA CONFERENCE
February 27, 2007
THE MODERATOR: Good afternoon, I'd like to welcome those of you in attendance here at the Honda Classic, as well as those of us joining us on a telecom line. My name is Joel Schuchmann, I'm with the PGA TOUR, and at this time I'd like to introduce the captains of the 2007 Presidents Cup team. Jack Nicklaus, who will be in his fourth stint as captain of the United States team, and Gary Player who will be in his third stint with the International team.
Gentlemen, the third go-around for you. Let's maybe get some opening comments from both of you and then we'll open it up to questions. Whoever would like to start first.
GARY PLAYER: I think the Presidents Cup has grown in stature to a great degree. Jack has been more involved than I have, and I'm sure he would agree with that. We have just been told that at Royal Montreal this year I believe we'll be something like 700 -- if I'm not incorrect by representative of the media will go out to 220 countries in the world. It's quite significant, and it's really growing into a very popular event.
I think that the -- something that Jack and I insisted on with our teams at the very beginning that we didn't want any War of the Shore or any of these bad feelings about trying to beat the other guy by psyching yourselves up and trash talking and play in the right true spirit of the game, and that has occurred, and the Presidents Cups have been so exciting.
I say this tongue in cheek, it might be about 1,022 holes that have taken place, whatever the number is, and there's been one hole difference, which is quite remarkable. I think if we had had our No. 1 player Ernie Els playing, which we didn't have because of his knee problem, we could have tied again.
So it's been very, very exciting. I think the thing that is really commendable which is taking place in professional golf, which I'm sure you'll all agree, is the amount of money. If you look at the PGA TOUR, we're now starting on our second billion for charity, and I think everybody feels happy to be associated with an association that is deriving money for charity, and I think the Presidents Cup is up to $40 million, $30 and a half million that it's distributed in various charities around the world. I think that that is terrific.
We've both got I think this year very, very good teams. It's a tremendous thing for I think Royal Montreal. I think it'll be one of the big sports that have taken place in Canada.
Golf is obviously growing a great deal there. I'm sure Jack has designed some golf courses there. I'm doing my first golf course in a place call Cranbrook. In fact, I did my site visit on horseback. Thank God I'm a horseman, otherwise I wouldn't have been able to walk the next day.
When I went there, to Cranbrook they were all talking about the Presidents Cup, which was very, very encouraging for me to hear that, and I had a lot of the Canadians that are down in Florida this time of year playing some tournaments down in Florida, they were all saying how they're looking forward to it.
So the hype is being built up, and I believe they've improved the golf course -- you played the Canadian Open there, didn't you?
JACK NICKLAUS: A long time ago.
GARY PLAYER: But I believe they've gone in and redone the golf course, so I think it's going to be a great venue.
I know that the club, the one bit conference there that Jack and I went to had some of the Canadian representatives there that were very, very excited about it. Canadian golf has been on the (indiscernible). It's a small population, and Mike Weir, and Ames -- he's not a born Canadian, is he, he's from Trinidad, but living in Canada. So he would obviously qualify for my team if he produces this year.
All in all I think it's very exciting. I'm delighted to be captaining a team against my friend Jack. We've been very compatible; we've never, ever had an argument, which is terrific. We both try like heck to win, and I just think the spirit and having had President Mbeke and President Clinton there and President Bush, Sr., it's just been a wonderful experience.
To see the way the guys have played, wanting to win, that really have had, I think, a way better attitude. If you talk over the last X amount of Presidents Cups equal to that of the Ryder Cup, there would be no comparison in the actual behavior or attitude, whichever word you want to use.
JACK NICKLAUS: Ditto (laughter).
Well, unlike Gary, I have enjoyed the last two matches. I've had one more than Gary captaining in Australia where we got dusted pretty good.
But the opportunity to captain and represent your team again or represent your country again is obviously a big thrill to me. It's fun for both of us, and as Gary said, we've never had an argument, we've always worked anything we've had out together. It's been very friendly set of matches, which I think is what the whole idea of the whole thing is about. It's about goodwill, it's about bringing the players of the world and the players from America together and having them compete in basically goodwill matches. Sure, they play for pride, sure, they play to win, and as Gary said, we've only had one shot difference in two matches. That's pretty darned good.
I think that on paper, who knows who has the best team. Probably Gary will have more players in the top 20 than I will probably, but that doesn't make any difference. We get down to the matches and they're going to play the matches.
Royal Montreal is a good golf course. It's been changed totally since I was there, and I think I can remember my one Canadian Open I hit a 3-wood in the water at the last hole laying up and trying to put the ball with the driver over the corner and win the tournament. Barbara kept sending me back to Canada. She kept saying, "Go back until you do it right." I finished second seven times and didn't make it (laughter). But anyway, it's okay.
I know they're excited in Montreal. I know that the president there, and I just think we're going to have great matches. I don't think there's any question about it. I just hope it doesn't snow, that's all, which it could do.
Q. As we are aware, civility and sportsmanship may not be as valued as it used to be. Can you just speak why it's so important?
JACK NICKLAUS: I think that's the way Gary and I were brought up. I think it's a very important part of the game. The game of golf is the only game where you don't rely on an official. There are so many things about the game and the nature of the game that we hold so dear, and I think that's one of the reasons why Gary and I (indiscernible).
We do bring that to the Matches, and that's what a captain is supposed to bring. So, you know, I just feel it's an honor to be able to have -- I haven't had that much of a problem with any player, and I'm sure you haven't, either, have you? In any of the matches, we have not issued any of this, but as you see it. So hopefully -- not hopefully, I'm very sure the Matches will be played in the same spirit.
GARY PLAYER: Approximately -- you can almost -- I know when I was in China, and I would try and visit every year two or three times, I'd be in the gym and I'd see some golf event on and then I'd move on and come back to China and then they'd replay it, just like The Golf Channel are replaying a lot of the events. So I would conservatively say there will be a billion people over a month who will see the Presidents Cup.
I don't know what percentage are young people, but there will be an awful lot of them. I'll never forget -- I know I've always enjoyed watching the Ryder Cup. But the only time I actually turned the TV set off was when it was at Boston, when Johnny Miller was saying on the television, this guy hates that guy and the Europeans are slow-playing them. And then you saw Justin made a putt and the wives and the aunties and the grannies and the caddies all ran out on the green, and Olazábal waiting to putt. I've never seen that in my life.
And then Payne Stewart, God bless him, what a great sportsman and a decent man he was, playing with Montgomerie. He got on the last and said, "Let's call the match a tie; I cannot take this anymore." They were just heckling Montgomerie all the time. He walked off, and he said, "Let's tie the match," and they walked off.
It's very sad to see that, and to hear the statement The War on the Shore. If you've got a son who lost his life in the war you don't want to hear about a golf match being a war because it certainly isn't a war.
The spirit was going downhill until September 11th, and since then the Ryder Cup has gone on in a terrific atmosphere, absolutely marvelous. But prior to that it was terrible.
And Jack and I said, well, one thing we're going to do, we're going to make sure that our players try and win, but we're going to do it in a way that they can be role models to -- because young people are going to be watching this, and if they grow up and see this, that's the way they're going to play golf, and Jack and I don't want young guys play like that.
We used to play against each other and try and beat the living hell out of each other, and whoever won we shook hands and we'd look each other in the eye and said, well done, I'll get you next week. That's the way it should be. You can try like crazy but still do it in a way we were brought up to be. I think it's very important for young guys to come out with the right attitude when they play matches.
Q. Gary, in about a month you're going to hit a pretty amazing milestone. Could you just talk about what that means to you and what kind of experience that's going to be?
GARY PLAYER: I think the best milestone for me this year has been married for 50 years. I think I'm playing at Augusta for my 50th time, but having been married for 50 years, particularly being married to -- I think it must be really difficult to be married to Jack or myself or Arnold because we're always saying goodbye, and the three of us have been absolutely blessed to have the wives we've had. Through our wives we've been able to accomplish and do things in the game which has been of great sort.
And to go back to Augusta for the 50th time, it's a tournament that is, in my opinion, it's oozed with tradition. But having a great man like President Eisenhower, Mr. Clifford Roberts, who had the discipline that every great tournament really needed. They went through a lull when they didn't have all that, but it's been an incredible tournament and it's something that has given us great joy.
I think if Jack and I think back in our careers what it's done for us and the great joy of going there, the first major championship of the year, everybody in the world is there, the spring is out and it's just a feeling of the first major championship, and it's a thrill for me because I was the first international player to win.
There's been a lot of international players who have won, and it made me feel good because being small in stature I could go there and win, and these other guys said, listen, if that little runt can do it, I know I can. So it's encouraged people to go on and play well. But it's just been an honor to have been part of that great event.
There's no tournament in the world that compares to Augusta as far as running a tournament. Although when they are in the same place every year and they know exactly what they're capable of, it makes it a bit easier.
Q. Jack, with Gary playing his 50th, could you just comment on Gary's ability and just what made him a champion?
JACK NICKLAUS: I've said for years that he's the best golfer that ever lived, and he just sort of always -- he needed that competitiveness to compete. He didn't have the distance, he didn't have the physical strength that some of the rest of us were blessed with, but he sure had the determination to win.
I mean, he's been in the Hall of Fame, all the miles he's traveled, all the places he's been, some of the places he's played, I've always taken my hat off to Gary. He's done a great job, is a great champion, and he always will be in my mind.
Q. Jack, going back to something you alluded to before that Gary may in fact have more players in the top 20 or top 30 than the Americans this time and that Azinger now has asked for four wildcard picks, do you anticipate the selection process changing and do you wish you had a couple more wildcards this year?
JACK NICKLAUS: (Indiscernible.) We're playing the Presidents Cup, not something else. I don't know how else to answer your question.
GARY PLAYER: I'd like to ask a question on that subject. In other words, the new format for the Ryder Cup is that instead of selecting two they can select four, both sides?
GARY PLAYER: So they can select who they want, any four that they like. So it doesn't apply like the Presidents Cup?
JACK NICKLAUS: I think that I have no idea, absolutely, why he did it. (Indiscernible.)
Q. Jack, a couple of times over the last year some of the top players, the Americans principally, have said that maybe it's a bit too much playing an international competition every year, the Ryder Cup and then the Presidents Cup. Although from the outside, of course, it doesn't seem like that. But to the players -- can you ever foresee a day when one of the top players might just take a pass on the Presidents Cup and what harm that would do to it?
JACK NICKLAUS: Well, I think that -- didn't we have one of the top players take a pass in the Ryder Cup? I thought he did. He was one of the top two or three players at that time. I don't think that hurt the Ryder Cup very much. The way I've said it to the players all along is, Guys, I don't really care if you play or don't play, just give me 12 guys who want to play, and that's really all I care about.
I want the guys there -- we learned that when we went to Australia. I think I had a half a dozen guys, maybe I'm guessing on this because I never really saw it there, that didn't really want to be there, and they -- several of them came back to me later and said, "Captain, we didn't give you a fair shake. We weren't really ready to play. We'll be ready the next time."
I said, "Guys, if you don't want to play, don't play." I mean, I can understand playing year after year after year in an international competition and giving up your time, particularly in this coming year where you've got four -- the tournament end, whatever that thing is the week before -- oh, there's a week in between? But anyway, could it be that somebody is going to be tired this time or you might have an injury? That's very possible. Gary had one with Ernie last time. It's very possible.
So you just don't know. But I'm sure that there will be 12 guys there that want to play golf, and will the Presidents Cup go on in spite of somebody not playing? Absolutely.
GARY PLAYER: I think if you did a survey and asked many of the players what they prefer because I've heard them say that but I'm not going to speak on their behalf, they prefer the Presidents Cup to the Ryder Cup, very top players, very top players.
JACK NICKLAUS: I think they like the format because they play every match. See, Ryder Cup you don't have to play. Ryder Cup it's eight out of 12 play, and at the Presidents Cup 12 out of 12 play except for the day that you have two rounds, and then 10 out of 12 play each day, each match. So everybody plays every day. That's a big part of it.
I don't know what's going to happen anymore. The day could come when you've played -- of course I said it many times, you could play king of the hill. There's three different organizations you play, and there still could be a Presidents Cup and still could be a Ryder Cup, just could be different teams every year. It could be international playing Europe, whoever is defending, it could be the next year after that. If you did that I don't think anybody would ever skip. Once you win, you want to stay winning.
We could do that if that became a problem, but today that's not a problem. Today it is what it is, and it's a strong event.
JACK NICKLAUS: Well, Gary's team plays every other year. I think the Ryder Cup playing every other year is fine, but playing every year, it's tough.
I often put myself in Tiger's shoes and I say, you know, here I am, I've just finished winning two or three major championships, I've just finished playing a year-end tournament that was designed to get me to play again, and now I've got to go play again for the glory of the game every year? That is a tough thing. It's not tough, but it's something -- it's not questioning whether it's tough because more than likely everyone is going to do it. The problem is how do you get yourself up to play after you've played and won a couple of major championships and then played in the --
Now, for the top two or three guys on each team that can be that case. The other guys who absolutely work their tails off all year long to make that team, the last two years to make the team, so there's a different story for them. But a couple of guys, I can see them feeling that way.
GARY PLAYER: I've gone through that. I found that very hard. As I say, I have respect for a person's feelings, but I can't see that because the most amount of tournaments you're going to play is -- let's take the top players. The most they'll probably play is -- what does Phil Mickelson play? Tiger plays, what, 17 tournaments or something?
Let's say even 25. 25 weeks you're not playing. When you're playing one -- you're playing 25 tournaments and you've got to one put week aside each year to be playing for your country and something that's going to promote golf? I mean, the Ryder Cup has been a tremendous promoter of golf, and now the Presidents Cup, don't we owe it -- Jack is saying this, but in the meantime, Jack and I both got on planes for virtually no money, went round the world, South Africa -- we never skipped one.
JACK NICKLAUS: No, I understand that, but I can just say I can see other people's side if I put myself in their shoes. I'm not saying they would feel that way.
GARY PLAYER: My point is I want to re-emphasize the fact that money should not be the only criteria surely. Don't you think that there's privilege in sports today? A guy gets paid X amount of money and he doesn't even play, sits on the bench. This is something that doesn't happen in my country and the rest of the world. I find that hard to comprehend. Golf, no play, no pay. That's what I believe it should be, but I obviously don't understand your sports industry like you do.
And for me to ask to see a person play once a year, is that really asking that much when you think of what it does for the game of golf? Don't they owe it to golf, or are we going to be insular and say, I'm not going to play, I'm tired, I've done this, I've got the money? Surely we've got to think of more than that. The average businessman goes to work 50 weeks a year, 49 weeks a year. It doesn't matter how rich he is. And he is under big pressure. I think we're going into an age where we spoil golfers quite honestly.
JACK NICKLAUS: You're talking this is strictly -- we're talking about a strictly hypothetical situation of something that could happen. We shouldn't be sitting here talking about the negatives. Why don't we talk about the positives of what's going to happen in the Presidents Cup, the amount of money that this is going to bring to charity, the number of people that are going to see it, the number of young people that are going to be influenced by this and so forth and so on, and if somebody happens to skip it, then somebody skips it. I think the positives are far more important -- we've spent 15 minutes talking about negatives.
Q. It sounds like you two are having your first argument. It's hard to hear everything from here (laughter).
JACK NICKLAUS: We'll kiss and make up later.
Q. Gary, I had a question about Mike Weir. As you know, he's stumbled well down the rankings. He's now 21st. Is there any scenario by which Weir would not be on the team for a Presidents Cup in Canada?
GARY PLAYER: Well, first of all, it's my job as captain -- and you're correct, he's 21st. It's my job as captain to put in the very best team. I can't just put a Canadian in because we're playing in Canada and the people would love to see it. It's my duty as captain to put in the very best team.
Now, I am really pulling for Mike Weir because it would really be fantastic to have a Canadian. You can correct me; is Stephen Ames Canadian or not Canadian?
Q. He got a citizenship about a year and a half ago.
GARY PLAYER: I would just love to see a Canadian make the team. But if he's in 21st position, I know that Mike Weir wouldn't expect to be in the team. Whoever it is has got to earn his spot in the team.
Now, what I did a few years ago, I put Immelman in the team in Australia, and the entire press crucified me. How could I put Trevor Immelman in? They had five Australians in the team as it was, and I picked Immelman, and Immelman is now becoming one of the best players in the world, one of the very best in the world. But I never hear them say you were right or I apologize. I was the bum. Now I know they were the bums because they made a terrible mistake, and this guy has got from strength to strength.
So we might find Mike Weir really improving, and he might be lying 13th, and the guy who's lying 11th might be going down the list and I'll put Mike Weir in. I can't tell you at this time, sir, what the situation is. It's too far away.
Q. Could I get both of you to comment on the USGA's proposal that was revealed today to introduce new regulations for the grooves?
JACK NICKLAUS: I don't know enough about it to comment to you to be honest. I think they basically said that they're going to eliminate U grooves and go back to V grooves. How they're going to do that, I have no idea. I mean, you can't make a casting onto a V groove, so I have no idea how they practically can do that.
And then they had some other thing, what was it --
Q. Adjustable drivers.
JACK NICKLAUS: I need one every day anyway, so that's all right. I need an adjustable driver. You never know what swing I'm going to bring along.
I don't think either one of them mean very much, but it's -- I guess it's a start, I suppose. But it's the chair off the Titanic, I guess (laughter).
Q. Jack, this is another regulatory question. I enjoyed your comments in Golf Digest with Jaime Diaz on many subjects, but the suggestion about rolling back the ball 10 percent, which I know both of you had advocated. Jack, where would most of the opposition to doing this actually come from? And the other question is for the average player, would they -- what would be the benefit, potential benefit, of doing that?
JACK NICKLAUS: Well, there's several things. We don't have time for all of it. But one, if you take the ball and roll it back, whatever the percentage might be, you really are bringing about 17,000 or 18,000 or 19,000 golf courses in the United States that are basically obsolete to the professional, you're bringing those back into play for a possible event or something where the professionals can go play.
If you have the average golfer, now has a golf ball that is so high tech and clubs that are so high tech that they may hit the ball on the face of the golf course maybe one out of ten shots, and when they hit one out of ten shots on the face, they say, wow, look how far that goes, and they love it. But the other nine shots, because it is so high tech when they miss it, it goes much shorter than it would have if they didn't have such a high tech piece of equipment or ball.
So learning how to play golf -- part of this whole thing is to bring people in the game and keep them in the game. And if you have a golf ball that you don't know whether you're going to hit it on the face or not hit it on the face and there's 50 yards of difference between a good shot and a bad shot, it's hard to learn how to play golf.
Back when we were playing, granted, the ball didn't go as far, the clubs didn't hit it as far, but the difference between me and the club champion in most places was 15 or 20 yards at max. I could go to any course and play an exhibition, and I'll bet Gary can say the same, we'd go to play an exhibition and the club champ was playing, in the old conditions the club champ had a chance of beating us. Today, 7,400, 7,500 yards, 7,600, that the pros have to play it from to be competitive, the club champ has got no chance. I'd love to see the game be brought together for the average golfer and the pros together.
Now, you say what's the advantage to the average golfer? Well, the average golfer, they have the ability to always move back on the golf course, the pros don't. Likewise, they have the ability to move up on a golf course, and so do the pros. If you're playing the average golfer at 6,500 yards and it's too long for them, they can move to 6,400 or 6,300 pretty easy.
I just think making a game, playing it -- I sort of liken it to the small ball and the large ball 35 years ago, whatever it was, in Britain. They took the large ball and made a condition for competition and made it the same as a U.S. ball. And after about a year or so, they left the small ball and all the conditions that the small ball had for the average golfer.
Well, after about a year or so, they found that the college players, the junior golfers, the amateur golfers, anyone who wanted to play competition were playing the large ball, and the rest of the golfers were left out by playing a golf ball that was not the same. So they actually legislated -- I think the legislature came more from the average golfer than from the pros to bring the large ball for everybody.
I would rather see the same thing here. If you decided -- if we only did it for the pros and made the conditions for competition, then all of a sudden I think that would be a step in one direction, and then all of a sudden the average golfer is always going to play to want what the pro plays.
Right now all they advertise on television is, "play what the pros play." Well, they can't play it. They just don't have the clubhead speed to play it. But if we brought everything back -- we could get everything back relatively the same. If you left the golf ball for the average golfer in conditions for competition, I think the average golfer in a year would ask for the other ball and the other condition.
The whole point of that whole thing is to try to bring the average golfer or the good single-digit player and the pro closer so when they're watching it on television or they're watching the game that they feel like they're watching the same game that they might have a chance to play.
Q. Where does most of the opposition to doing that come from?
JACK NICKLAUS: Well, I wish I knew, really. I suppose there are probably -- I don't know. Could be ball manufacturers probably, but not -- I never really spoken to any ball manufacturer who has actually told me that they're against it. I've spoken to quite a few who are for it.
Q. This question is for both you. With Tiger and Phil getting into the golf course design business, I wonder if you can tell me to what degree does being a great golfer help you become a great golf course designer?
GARY PLAYER: I think if you asked me today who's the best golf designer in golf today, not because Jack is sitting here, but without a question I would say it's Jack Nicklaus today. Nobody started -- because we all start and we're all learning, but today I think Jack Nicklaus builds the best golf courses in the world.
Why? Because he was a hacker, believe it or not, at one stage in his life, then he became a reasonable player, then a better player, then the best player in the world. So he could look at a golf course from all different angles, whereas no other golf architect who's a 15 handicap can ever possibly do that. It's quite impossible for him to do it.
It makes a tremendous difference if you get somebody who has had the experience of all degrees of play, and I believe that emphatically today there's so many good grasses, the machinery is so good, I was just saying the other day -- as far as Tiger is concerned, I think it's fantastic that Tiger is doing a few golf courses. I don't care how much he gets paid. The more he gets paid, the more he raises the bar, the more I can charge.
So I think it's wonderful that he's doing it, and I think that Tiger is a very astute young man. You've got to be careful what words you say about people nowadays. He's a brilliant young man, and I think that he'll associate himself with people that can do the job well and he'll do a very good golf course. I think that's very, very good. Obviously he's got a great eye for the game, he's a very sharp young man, and I think he'll do a tremendous job. I think they've done a very good job in selecting Tiger.
Q. Can I get your thoughts on that, Jack, how Tiger being just such a fantastic golfer helps him entirely?
JACK NICKLAUS: Well, first of all, let me thank Gary for a very nice compliment.
I think that being a player, I've always felt like it's very difficult if somebody -- guys who design golf courses that are average players, and they say, "well, we can design just as good as anybody else," and I firmly don't believe that. Do they design nice golf courses? Sure, they can design nice golf courses.
But I think you really need to be able to understand the game from all standpoints, and Gary is right. Gary, all of us who have come from being a kid and learned how to play a game, have worked our way right through that gamut. That doesn't mean -- you don't have to be a top champion of the world to design a golf course, but it helps because you see it in so many different ways.
To have Phil and Tiger come into the profession is something that we welcome. I'd love to be able to see people who have the opportunity to get good jobs and be able to design good golf courses for the people around the world to play.
One of the big excitements that I know that Gary is going through and I'm going through right now is the emergence of so many new markets. Gary is all through the Eastern Block; I am, too. We're through so many different places. Gary is doing nearly as many golf courses as I am, maybe more than I am, but you're doing a lot of golf courses, I'm doing a lot of golf courses, but to go into places where the game has not necessarily been played. And when you go to those places and be able to design a good golf course for the youth of that country and the people of that country to learn on and to learn the base the game on, that to me is exciting. That to me is being involved in the game of golf and making your game grow.
Right now I'm working in 29 countries that I've never worked in before, and I've got -- and I've worked in 26 other countries previous to that. So that's a lot of countries.
And to have the opportunity to influence that many people in so many places is a big thrill to me, and I'm sure it is to Gary because we both feel like we're going to do nice golf courses and we're going to give those people a place to play. To have Tiger and Phil come into that, they'll have name recognition and they too will be asked to do golf courses in those countries.
Gary is right, they're not going to be able to do it themselves, they're going to have to associate themselves with people who understand how to construct, design and put courses together, and they will put their touch on it, which will help. I think it's great.
GARY PLAYER: Just if I may add, to think of a brilliant young man like Tiger Woods, who is the best player in the world by a long way at the moment, when he does a golf course, and he comes in, you can take the top architect or the people I'd like to select, if he's not a champion golfer, he certainly can't go in there and invite 500 kids and give them a clinic, and give enhanced added value to the owner. The owner is so happy to have -- they need memberships to be sold, so these kids come with their parents and grandparents and they buy property, and Tiger has got a tremendous amount to offer.
Q. This is for both of you guys. Just wanted to ask a Tiger question. What do you think -- in this day and age Tiger has impacted so many things in the world of golf. What is his biggest influence? Is it the money in the game or the exposure or simply the style of play that's now being exhibited out on the Tours?
JACK NICKLAUS: I'll answer that in one word. "Youth." He appeals to so many young people.
GARY PLAYER: I can only tell you that when Tiger played in South Africa, and I'm sure you've heard of Soweto, which has millions upon millions upon millions of people in that area, and all these little children have a television set for sure, and you can imagine these little black kids sitting in their villages all over South Africa and seeing the best two players in the world at that time at Sun City, Tiger Woods and Vijay Singh, both play. First time in history, two black golfers at No. 1 and No. 2, and they could sit in their little villages in front of their TV sets and see these two great icons playing and doing so well, it fulfilled a dream for them. It gave them a place in the future, a great dream that can be fulfilled. I think that's very exciting.
Wherever he goes, I think he exemplifies something that I have believed in, and that is your health is still the most important thing that you have, and the way he's worked out. I can only say that as a young man having started in professional golf I was ridiculed at doing weight training to a great degree. In fact, one famous golf architect said "Gary Player will never last past 35 with all this weight training."
And I was in Dubai the other day, two weeks ago, and I saw Tiger Woods in the gym in the morning, and he was playing that day.
Now, this to me was incredible.
And I worked out, I think, extremely hard for 63 years. I just turned around, and I thought, I'll watch him and see what he does. He was playing at 1:00 that day. He grabbed two 25-pound weights, and he was -- (indicating rapidly lifting weights). I thought I was seeing things. He was playing that day at 1:00 o'clock, and here he was pumping this iron, and I said, well, he's raised the bar even further.
And what he's done, he has raised the bar, and all golfers all over the world do realize you do not do weight training and you do not look after your body, you won't be a world champion. And Ernie Els is in the gym now and Phil Mickelson is working out; they're all working out.
And this is its effect. There's going to be so many things, technology is improving all the time. And the next big thing in technology is going to be food. So it's been golf equipment, golf courses, accessibility, working out in the gym, and the next one is going to be food.
I saw him working out. I mean, this was an education. Before he played at 1:00 o'clock. I go in there and you'd see everybody go and stretch, take a light weight, stretch, bend over. I'm thinking, "Good luck." I mean, this guy deserves every bit of success he gets.
JACK NICKLAUS: He works hard.
GARY PLAYER: One of the things that I fear the moment I see already, you can't compare Tiger Woods to Jack Nicklaus. Anybody that does that really in my book does not understand golf.
I was telling somebody the other day, what's the biggest change in technology? I went like this: "Do you see on the bottom of my shoes? Spikes." He said, "What are you talking about?" Well, last year or the year before, I'm not sure, Vijay Singh was playing behind Phil Mickelson, and Phil Mickelson had five spike marks on the green. And Vijay, who was playing in front of me, we came in -- you'll remember there was a massive argument going on, and I just thought to myself, There were five or ten spike marks on the green. When we played, the whole green was spike marked. People wore steel spikes. That was the most significant thing. Every time Jack putted, he putted -- he teed off last every damn time, all these spike marks.
And now you've got a ball that goes 55 yards further. Let Jack Nicklaus in his heyday hit the ball 55 yards further and see what he would have done, and have a driver that doesn't hit the ball off-line as much and a ball that keeps it straighter and grooves that stop the ball out of the rough and a lightweight shaft.
You can only say the best striker I ever saw in my life, ever by a mile, was Ben Hogan, but he was the best in his era. He was the best in his era, and Tiger is the best in his era. Give Ben Hogan this stuff and let's see what happens then. Ben Hogan might not have left the fairway in a month.
I'm not joking when I tell you that. I mean, he was a machine. With that crappy stuff? I watched him the first time I played in my life in America at Seminole. You cannot believe how he played. I mean, it's very important to put things in the right perspective.
Q. It's been well-chronicled how time-consuming it is for the captain of the Ryder Cup, especially the year of the event. I'm just curious how time-consuming and strenuous your guys' job will be this year.
GARY PLAYER: I put it on an equal basis. We've got to keep watching how your team is doing. You know when it comes to the Presidents Cup you've got the whole world watching, the golfing world watching who you're picking and who's playing, and you've got to stay in touch with your team. We have meetings with them when it's possible.
I would put it pretty much on a par.
JACK NICKLAUS: Well, I'm a little different. I guess I'm a little bit more relaxed. I don't really put a lot of work in it. You know, I feel like it's -- all the captain does is make sure he has clean towels, sun cream, things like that, sets up the matches. Obviously I keep up with it on a week-to-week basis, see what's going on. I don't really make a big deal out of it.
We have a couple of meetings, and it's the players' event, not my event. I'm there to help bring together an American team and bring them together. Gary is there to bring together an International team. Gary's job is tougher because he's got guys playing all over the world. Most of my guys are playing here. It's really not that hard for me.
I have, I suppose it's parts of a half a dozen days in the year I suppose before we get that, besides the little bit we do at home.
It certainly doesn't -- it's an honor and it's a real privilege to be able to be a part of that and to be able to do that. I wouldn't consider anything we do a burden.
JOEL SCHUCHMANN: Captain Nicklaus, Captain Player, thank you very much. We'll see you the week of September 24th.
End of FastScripts