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June 2, 2005

Jack Nicklaus


Q. Do you still have a semblance of a game?

JACK NICKLAUS: I had a chance to shoot a pretty darn good score. Even after I double bogeyed the 3rd hole, which was kind of crazy, I hit a terrible tee shot and had to pitch it out, then I didn't do very well.

Anyway, and I birdied 5 to get back, then bogeyed 6 but then I birdied 7 and 8. It was just the perfect length putts, one was about six inches and one was about four inches. I did pretty well with those.

Then I made a nice par at 9, came out at even par.

I bogeyed 10 but made a nice birdie putt at 11. So I made plenty of birdies today. I'm going down I got a really great up and down on 12 from the back bunker, hit it in about four or five feet at 14. I said, hey, you've got a chance to be under par.

I was afraid to hit the putt through the break and it broke hard, and I missed the putt.

Then going downwind at 15, it was like, well, I want to be able to make birdie here. Then it hit it in the rough and hit two shots about six inches behind them and walked off with 6. It was crazy giving away two shots. Those are the kinds of things you do when you don't play. If you're playing golf you don't do those things. But I'm not playing golf.

Then the last three holes I limped in with a couple of bogeys at 17 and 18, which are pretty hard holes.

I had a chance to play pretty decently. I shot 75, that's about my game.

Q. Comparatively when you play with a guy like Els shooting 73 today, I mean, he said 75 was a great score today.

JACK NICKLAUS: Well, a great score? I don't see anybody else I don't see anybody being scared by it (laughter). It didn't scare a soul except me.

Yeah, I mean, I was somewhat competitive, yeah. With the group I played with, I had a chance to compete with Ernie and David today. They both play better than I do, but I had a chance to compete.

Q. You hear the crowd when you come up here. It must mean a lot to you knowing where you are. What is kind of the feeling when you come to these people who

JACK NICKLAUS: Well, this is my home. I grew up here. Not with most of these people out here; they're younger than when I moved out of here. But Columbus is still home, and my objective is to do the best we can for The Memorial tournament, bring golf to Columbus. I think it's great that they come out and see it and it's great that they come out and they actually see that old guy out there, and they say, "hey, he had something to do with this."

Q. Bit of a milestone, 30 Memorials this year?

JACK NICKLAUS: I've got lots of milestones. 29 is a milestone, too, but then 30 and 31 and 32.

Q. And what you've built here?

JACK NICKLAUS: Yeah, we're pretty pleased with it. I think we're going to make a pretty concerted effort to try to keep elevating what we're doing and keep trying to do that, keep trying to do a better job every year with the tournament, and I think we do a pretty good job with the tournament.

The golf course is really good. It's not a golf course that is out of balance from length and finesse. You've got to hit some strong shots on the golf course, yet you've got a variety of short holes, short par 4s and actually a couple of pretty short par 5s that you've got a chance to do some things with.

So it's a balance to where David and I were talking about it coming up 18. He said, "You know, you've put some length somewhere but you've also given the guys that aren't so long a chance to do a catch up, too," so not everybody is banging driver and 2 iron all the time.

That's what I'm trying to do, trying to get a good balance on the golf course so everybody has a good chance if they play good golf to be rewarded.

Q. Encouraged about tomorrow then? You said you left some out there.

JACK NICKLAUS: That's a different story, but I'll be all right. Actually I think I might have a chance to play a decent round. We'll just see.

Q. In four plus decades of tournament golf, you've probably hit people before.

JACK NICKLAUS: Well, I wasn't shook up, I just don't like to hurt somebody. I hit him right here and put a pretty nasty cut just below his mouth. He seemed all right. I know he had some stitches put in it, and he's not going to be real happy later. He's a big guy, too (laughter).

Q. Well, he was.

JACK NICKLAUS: He was. No, but I think he's fine, at least everybody reported he is.

Q. What did you do, mis club on 6?

JACK NICKLAUS: No, I misclubbed there. I had 185 to the hole, I took a 6 iron and tried to hit a soft 6 iron up there and the ball just carried. I don't think I could have hit 7 iron that far.

Q. Have you ever seen anyone hit their second shot on that hole where Ernie did today?

JACK NICKLAUS: No, I've played my third shot from there lots of times, never my second. He had some enormous drives today. The ball hit the cart path or not on 2

Q. Yeah, it did.

JACK NICKLAUS: Because he was down there four miles on 2. The drive he had on 6, he had a great drive at 7.

But the golf course balances out for a guy like me.

Q. What do you like about his swing?

JACK NICKLAUS: He's got a great swing, great short game, great putter. He didn't play well today, yet he just kept plugging along, no attitude, no nothing, just trying to do better, and he said, "I'll do better tomorrow." That's the way he felt. He's a good player.

End of FastScripts.

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