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July 14, 2005

Jack Nicklaus


JACK NICKLAUS: Well, my thoughts were that I started off and I said, Well, that's pretty good, had a nice 3 wood and a 7 iron in there about 6, 7 feet and made it. I said, Well, that's a great start. And then I hit a nice tee shot and what I thought was a nice second shot at the second hole. And I'm looking for the ball and waiting for an applause, and I never saw the ball come down. Steve said, he said, I saw it bounce, but nothing much. And I got up there and I found my ball a hundred feet over here to the right of the hole.

Of course it's St. Andrews. I caught one of those little ridges, I guess. I have no idea where it hit. I 3 putted that. I was lucky to even have a second putt from where I was. And then I sort of played scratchy for about, I don't know, three or four holes, and then I started playing good again.

But then I started 3 putting. I 3 putted I guess four in a row. And that just sort of killed the round. Three in a row, maybe. I don't remember what it was. Three in a row. Was it 11, 12 and 13? I bogeyed 10. So it had to be 10, 11, 12, 13. So that sort of put me behind the curve and I never really recovered from that part of it. But I played a lot of decent shots in the last I guess last 12 holes or 11 holes, just not enough good shots. I'm a little disappointed in 75, obviously, and that means I have to shoot a pretty low round tomorrow.

Q. (Inaudible)?

JACK NICKLAUS: It was all right. It was decent. I didn't drive the ball as well as I've been driving it, although I didn't drive it terrible. I ended up hitting a couple of bad drives and got away with them. I hit a bad drive on 6 and ended up on the 13th fairway. And hit a bad drive at 13 and ended up in the 6th fairway. They both turned up just fine. But a couple of other ones I didn't hit very well. But most of them it was decent.

Q. Did the occasion encroach on your concentration at all? Did the crowds make any difference?

JACK NICKLAUS: No, I'm here to play golf, first. And until I don't think that I have much of a chance to do much of anything, probably realistically I should say that right now, but I'm not going to. I'll go out and see if I can shoot a good round tomorrow. I'd like to walk across the bridge on Sunday, not on Friday, so that's really my goal.

Q. (Inaudible)?

JACK NICKLAUS: That was very nice. People were terrific. They were great on every hole and that was very, very nice. I think we all enjoyed it. I think all of us in the group. Luke played very, very well and got a very nice response from people. Tom, obviously very popular over here, plays very well over here. He got a nice response. We all did. It was actually a very nice day. Unfortunately, for Tom and myself, neither one of us did what we wanted to do.

Q. Tom said you had a number of exchanges back and forth. Do you remember any of them?

JACK NICKLAUS: Tom said that? I think they were probably pathetic exchanges, not really funny. They were funny they were so bad, the way we hit some shots. But it wasn't that bad.

Q. Were you aware of the fast start that Tiger made while you were out on the course?

JACK NICKLAUS: No. What did he do?

Q. (Inaudible)?

JACK NICKLAUS: I knew that. That's not fast for him. That's just a normal start (laughter).

Q. (Inaudible)?

JACK NICKLAUS: I don't know. You heard what I just said a minute ago. I don't know what I'm going to do. Obviously I'm going to have to play well tomorrow. I'm going to have to shoot probably 4 or 5 under tomorrow to make the cut tomorrow, I would think. And I doubt if par will make the cut. So we'll just have to see.

Q. (Inaudible)?

JACK NICKLAUS: Well, I just got through getting mad at myself for missing a birdie putt. And I tapped it as soon as I tapped the ball in they asked us to stop, on 16. And then we waited then Tom putted after that.

Q. (Inaudible)?

JACK NICKLAUS: I know he's capable of winning it. And he's going to win some, it's just when is the question. He's a very, very nice player. It's obvious that he is an excellent putter. It's obvious he has a wonderful short game. And to go along with a very, very, not spectacular long game, but a very steady, solid, strike the ball solid, put the ball in the right place, play smartly, and that's the kind of golfer he is. He's a very, very good, solid golfer. He's going to win a lot of golf tournaments.

Q. (Inaudible)?

JACK NICKLAUS: I feel my age every day, every minute out there. I know exactly how old I am.

Q. Are you prepared for what might be your final walk down a major championship golf course tomorrow, the 18th hole, especially?

JACK NICKLAUS: What do you think? What would you think? Am I prepared? I'm here. If I wasn't prepared I wouldn't be here.

Q. But the prospect that you might

JACK NICKLAUS: Let's worry about that tomorrow, the prospect.

Q. This morning as you were headed toward the course, did it feel any different or was it similar

JACK NICKLAUS: Same thing you asked me this morning as I got in the car, "Do you have butterflies?" I have butterflies every time I play a round of golf. We all do. I think that's perfectly normal. The anticipation of wanting to play and wanting to get on and play tournament golf, and I didn't feel any different this morning than I did 150 other times.

I got up and got myself organized and did my exercises and did the things that I needed to do to go play a round of golf. I got off to a pretty nice start with four pretty solid first shots that I hit, and I walked away with a birdie and a 3 putt. And that's not really what I wanted to walk away with.

Q. (Inaudible)?

JACK NICKLAUS: Yeah. When we walked on the second tee.

Q. What was it?

JACK NICKLAUS: I don't remember. I made a comment. I don't remember what I said. I made some comment about the fact that I made a comment they liked it, they laughed, so whatever it was (laughter) I can't remember.

Q. (Inaudible)?

JACK NICKLAUS: He pulled 14 Nicklaus clubs as we went around, yeah. I've never had a caddie pull a club yet. In 40 some years of playing tournament golf, I would never blame a wrong club on a caddie, because that's the player's choice. The player has to pull the club out of the bag. Steve does a good job. I think Steve was more nervous than I was. The first couple of holes he had the two books and the ball and the towel and the clubs. I said, "Take your time. You're all right. It will be all right. We'll figure it out. We're not going anywhere." But you've got so many things to try to figure out on this golf course, depending on where you are. You have so many yardages, so many different shots.

Like 17, I took a 4 wood off the tee, and the probably should have hit more. Tom hit an iron. It depends on where you land. And I ended up with 220 yards to the hole. I didn't want 220 yards to the hole. But there was 20 yards from the top. And it's 30 some yards on the green. So I said, Okay, all I'm going to do is play a shot that I want to go 200 yards and I said, "What do you think?" He said, "I think that's proper." Then you leave yourself a shot play it as a par 4 and a half.

Well, I hit a 3 iron, and cut it, just like I said. Next thing I know that ball is zipping across the green, and I hit it 250 yards. It wasn't me, you know. It's the bounce you get and where you land and how the result of the shot is. And so you're trying to play good, solid, smart golf, yet the course sometimes doesn't let you. It's a little more difficult from the places I play, too. The places I used to play from were pretty good. The places I play from now are tougher.

Q. Obviously you played here so many times and won here twice, but didn't the shot, say, in '70 or '78 skip or bounce the same?

JACK NICKLAUS: I think the course is faster now than I've seen it here in a long time. The course is really fast. And I think The R&A wanted it that way. When was the last time we had rain here? It's been a couple of weeks, ten days, whatever it's been. They haven't had much rain lately. They had a lot of rain before the tournament. That's why you have so much grass on the golf course. But it will get very bouncy, which is what St. Andrews is. I played over here in May and it was rainy, and it was still bouncy, I mean really bouncy.

Q. You tend to keep to yourself when you're off the course here. What do you plan to do tomorrow before your tee time?

JACK NICKLAUS: Sleep. When I get up, I'll go do what I did today. I'll just start later. I'll stay up later tonight. I went to bed at 9:30 last night, and I'll probably stay up until midnight tonight and get up at 8:30, 9:00, something like that, get a good night's sleep and then take my time and get here. I don't know what time I play tomorrow. 12:58 or 11:58, what is it?

Q. (Inaudible)?

JACK NICKLAUS: I don't think that's correct. 12:58, isn't it? That's what I thought I saw. I'll show up sometime, whenever it is. I'll be here (laughter).

End of FastScripts.

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