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June 1, 2017

Jack Nicklaus

Dublin, Ohio

JACK NICKLAUS: When somebody passes it's a sad thing. Roberto de Vicenzo was not only a great golfer, but he was a great friend. I think the last time I was with Roberto we were in Argentina, and it was only about three or four years ago, I think. And we were with him and he always talked about how he said, I'm stupid, because what he did at the Masters that one year. He still talked about it, 40 years later he still talked about it.

He was a nice man, nice player. We had only one time that we came down the stretch playing against each other, which I guess was the British Open in '67, I believe. That hole I ended up losing to him. I think he birdied 17 and I did not birdie 17. And then I didn't birdie 18. I think I may have bogeyed 18. But I don't really know what to say except that I think he represented his country. He represented the game of golf. He was one of the really good guys.

I do remember something else, too. I remember my first U.S. Open, 1957, I remember going out and after I missed the cut I went out on the -- I think it was the 15th hole at Inverness, I remember crawling on my hands and knees up through people to watch de Vicenzo take his 3-wood, bang it on the ground, put the ball on, and drive off. He was playing Peter Thomson that day. So that was my first time --

Q. You said how strong he was?
JACK NICKLAUS: Oh, he was a strong, strong, good player. I think he was an instinctive player. He played with his feel. He just played by feel. And he was strong. He was very long for those days. But I just remember we played not a lot but we probably played -- I probably played with him, I suppose, a dozen times. And we played a few tournaments. We played a few practice rounds. And I just always enjoyed his company. He was a nice man, and you always miss nice guys.

Q. Do you recall what it was like in the aftermath of the scorecard issue at the Masters, was there overwhelming regret from him?
JACK NICKLAUS: I don't remember a whole lot about it. That was '68?

Q. Yes.
JACK NICKLAUS: I think he -- he didn't blame Tommy for it. Tommy kept the card. And he came in and said, I am stupid. I think that was what he said. He said -- he just -- I think he was so excited and euphoric about the way he played, when he didn't do the most important thing of all to have the right number to turn in, he was upset. It happens. He was a good man.

Q. Is it sad to know that, as you just said, for 40 years afterwards that he was still upset about the fact --

Q. That seems so unfair?
JACK NICKLAUS: That was just Roberto. I think he always dwelled on the fact that he screwed up. He had the Masters in his hand. And we honored him here in '86, I believe. He played in the tournament, missed the cut. I guess he was 62 years old at the time.

I think Sam played when he was honored here. Probably the only two when I played. I don't know. Maybe not.

Q. Your travels to Argentina, how much of a sense do you get of his impact on the game?
JACK NICKLAUS: He was a god in Argentina. I mean they -- Roberto was Mr. Golf in Argentina, no question about that. Every place you go people would say, "Roberto, he's coming, he wants to see you today. He was here last week and he played the golf course."

He really loved it. He was very, very, very well thought of and liked and respected in Argentina, no question, and around the world of golf.

Q. Did you have any problem with the ruling in '68? If it happened today people would say, hey, why do we have to sign score cards?
JACK NICKLAUS: Did I have a problem with it? No, I didn't have a problem with it. I didn't dwell on it much because that's what you have to do, that's part of the deal. You have to sign your scorecard. And we all made mistakes -- I don't think I made one, but I think that his -- what he did in '68 influenced a lot of players to work pretty hard.

I know Gary Player, he goes over it forward, backwards, sometimes turns it upside down (laughter).

Q. There's a controversy, with all the electronic scoring, why do the golfers have to be responsible for their own scorecard?
JACK NICKLAUS: It's the name of the game. With all the electronic things out there, why don't we bother to play? Why don't we just play on video? Same thing.

Q. In 2010, he was in St. Andrews. Did you meet him there?
JACK NICKLAUS: Yeah, I saw him there, sure. In 2010? No, I didn't play in St. Andrews, did I?

Q. You didn't do the Champions Challenge?
JACK NICKLAUS: 2010? I think the last time I saw Roberto was in 2005, in St. Andrews. The last time I saw Roberto was in Argentina. That was probably the -- the last time I was in Argentina, was that three or four years ago? Maybe five years ago, last time I was down there.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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