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June 6, 2004

Jack Nicklaus


Q. You wanted that last putt pretty badly?

JACK NICKLAUS: I would have liked to have shot under par, yes. If I play again, then it won't make much difference, but if I don't play again I've shot under par the last tournament round I've played.

Q. Are you pretty happy with your round?

JACK NICKLAUS: I was happy with it, yeah. I struggled with a few things but basically played a pretty darn good round of golf. I had a chance to shoot a pretty darn low round, actually, and screwed it up a little bit, but still played all right.

Q. (Inaudible)?

JACK NICKLAUS: What do you think? What did I just say?

Q. That's why I'm asking.

JACK NICKLAUS: That's just what I said.

Q. Are you happy how the course performed? You got a chance to play it four days. Really no changes except for thinning out the trees, the course could have played relatively difficult for four days.

JACK NICKLAUS: Yeah, the greens were quick. The greens were probably not quite as hard as they could be, but I think that that's still -- when Paul came in here last fall, these greens didn't have any grass on them at all. They were awful. He has to develop a base -- he hasn't developed a base yet. He's got these greens back basically just a little bit better than they were last year before the tournament, and I expect this summer to see him develop a base on them to where he develops a little bit of the thatch where if he wants to firm them up they'll have a little thatch for the ball to bounce on rather than splatting and splattering difficulties, although they held together pretty well. He did a nice job with that, and I think what he'll do with the fairways will speed up the golf course a lot.

I think the members will enjoy that, and when the guys get back here next year -- I talked to Craig, he was saying -- I was telling him what I was going to do, and he said, "If you're going to do that to the fairways you can count on me being back."

The guys that don't hit it really long, it's a hard golf course for them if it stays wet, and it's an easy golf course for the guys that hit it a long way, so what I really want the golf course to play as is a relatively fast golf course. If you have rain you're not going to have a fast golf course, but if you have fairways that will drain, you have a chance of having a fast golf course just with one good day of wind.

We had rain a little bit on Wednesday, very little, mostly Tuesday night, and this course never has dried out. The fairways are still soft. If we get the fairways the way we want them, then the fairways become dangerous. That's really why the golf course was -- when we played the first ten tournaments here, nobody broke 280, something like that, 10 or 12 tournaments or 8 tournaments, what it was, and it's really because you had a hard time keeping the ball in the fairway, and that's really what the golf course is all about.

Q. Are you surprised at how much thinning out the trees has made a difference in how the course plays?

JACK NICKLAUS: I don't think it makes a difference in how the course plays. It makes a difference agronomically. There's really no trees in play that are out.

You want what I did today, my round?

Q. Please.

JACK NICKLAUS: First hole, I drove it in the bunker, hit a 7-iron on the green, 30 feet, two putts.

Second hole -- is that what you want me to do? I'll do it and you can throw away what you want.

Second hole, I hit a good drive and an 8-iron about 20 feet, almost made it.

Next hole, hit a driver and a 9-iron about six feet, made it.

Next hole, hit a really good 4-iron on the right and it stuck on the right fringe. Perry hit it right and his release went down six feet from the hole and I three-putted from the right fringe because I couldn't get the ball near the hole. I couldn't get enough break.

5, I knocked it on in two, hit a driver and 4-wood on the green, about 25 feet behind the hole and two-putted it for a birdie.

6, I drove it in the left bunker -- almost in the bunker, just in the grass. If I would have been in the bunker it would have been all right, but I had to stand down and had a bad shot. I pitched it on, knocked it on about ten feet and missed the putt.

Next hole, I had 25 feet and two-putted it.

Next hole was about the same distance, two-putted.

9, I hit a driver and a 8-iron about six, seven feet, made that.

10, I hit a driver and what I thought was a good 8-iron. It hit a bank and came down in the bunker and the sand was wet and I couldn't get the club underneath it, and I went 25 feet by the hole and two-putted it.

11 was driver, 4-iron, 9-iron about six feet, made birdie.

Next hole was 7-iron about 25 feet, two putts.

Next hole, driver, 7-iron about 18, 20 feet, made that for birdie.

Next hole, I hit a 4-wood, hooked it into the water, dropped it, knocked it on the green about 35 feet and two-putted it, bogey.

Next hole I hit a bad drive, pulled it into the trees, pitched it out, hit a 4-iron on the green about 20 feet and almost made it.

16, 4-iron about 35 feet, two-putted it.

17, I hit a driver and a 5-iron, hit the back fringe and jumped in the back bunker on the downslope, and I got that up-and-down, made about a five or six-footer.

18, I hit a 3-wood and a 4-iron, which I thought was a really good shot. Perry hit 6-iron, thought it was a really good shot, wind wasn't what we thought it was, I guess. Both of us were short. We both got it up-and-down. My last putt was probably eight or nine feet, I suppose.

Q. At the risk of being redundant, was Bob's question when you said this was your last, is that your emphatic response to playing again?

JACK NICKLAUS: No, no. I said if that was my last round, I was very pleased with shooting under par the last round I played in a tournament. And if I play again, then that doesn't mean anything. But it was a good round for me. I'm quite pleased to shoot 71 on this golf course where the pins were today in the last round of this golf tournament. I'm delighted with that. All that means is that if I'm really happy with 71, and any one of these guys in the lead would actually be chewing nails if they shot 71, obviously I'm not competitive. So that's why I said it's time to hang up my spikes.

Q. But we will be in suspense until then.

JACK NICKLAUS: You will be in suspense, hopefully, for a lot of years because you never know when I might show up. I may show up back here next year, I don't know. I mean, I'll be here hopefully.

Q. If you get a 69, and 15 and 16 are a foot short and they roll in, does that change your mind that 69 --

JACK NICKLAUS: That doesn't make any difference. Obviously I would have loved to have shot under 70, but under par is pretty good.

Q. You got up-and-down out of the bunker very well.


Q. No, today. 17, 18?

JACK NICKLAUS: I think that's the only places I got up-and-down. I think I had three bunker shots. I was in the bunker on the tee shot on 1, if that's what you're talking about.

Q. With the weather the way it is today, do you see a lot more golfers -- (inaudible).

JACK NICKLAUS: Well, I think you'll see some good scores today. There's not a lot of wind. It's a beautiful day. The golf course is not hard. I mean, it's not hard -- not firm, I should say. It's hard, but not firm, hard meaning difficult, but it's there. If a guy plays well he'll shoot a good score. The pins are tough, but they've been tough every day. That's what the Tour does and that's good. I thought the pin placements the Tour did this week were fantastic. I love to see a golf course play difficult, and that's -- they used to listen to all the whiners, oh, how can you put a pin there, we can't throw our driver at it and stop it, that kind of crap. I get so tired of that.

You know, they can play golf, and that's good. I think the guys on the Tour are seeing it more every week and so they're more used to it. They're more used to seeing conditions like you would see at Augusta or U.S. Open or something like that. That's good, it makes them better players.

Q. With the tournament as competitive as it is and the changes that you've made, do you foresee any other changes coming up next year?

JACK NICKLAUS: I've got little things I might do, but nothing significant at this point. I mean, I might. I might add a couple bunkers someplace or I might change a tee. 9, I've been talking about that for about three years, and I won't do it until we do the irrigation lake. We've got to dig out the irrigation lake, and when we dig that lake out we're going to make a mess back there anyway. When we make that mess back there I'll change the 9th tee. There's a cart path and people look up at the 9th tee and I always thought that was an awkward shot, so I'd like to take the tee and move it over. So when you could come off the 8th green you have a gallery mound so the people to the left of 8 can see, and then it goes over and have a gallery mound and drop the tee down 10 or 12 feet, then everybody on the side can watch them tee off on 9, so hopefully it'll separate the holes a little bit better. I won't do that until we do the lake, and whether we do that this year or next year, I don't know. But that's about the only thing I'm thinking.

I saw where everybody drove it at 10 yesterday and I'm trying to figure out what to do there. God, they hit it long. I hit it long. I drove it 30, 35 yards past the bunker today.

Q. What did you hit into 10?

JACK NICKLAUS: I hit a little 8-iron, 138 yards, but I hit the ball -- I put it in the blasted bunker, hit the bank, came back down.

Q. How far are you hitting the driver?

JACK NICKLAUS: Too far for me, same as everybody else does. I don't know what my stats are, but of course you only measure them one or two holes, but I probably drive the ball an average of -- not on this golf course, but I average 280, 285, but not on this course. I'll probably average 265 or 270 here probably because you don't get any roll.

Q. The guys on 10 are taking it -- are fading it over the tree and just taking everything out of play.

JACK NICKLAUS: Everything out of play?

Q. Up the hills they're hitting 3 --

JACK NICKLAUS: Well, that's just what they do today. I don't really know what to do. Anything I do up there will certainly not affect the membership, and I've got to think of that every time I do something on a golf course. I sort of might want to bring that right side in a little bit and put a bunker up there somehow, but it'll take some earth work to fiddle with that and make it visible. Then they've got to take it over the bunker on the left or hit it inside the other bunker. I don't know, it's kind of a hard situation to fix, but they really did drive it long yesterday at 10.

I don't have any other holes that I'm having any problem with. 1 is -- I might slip the tee back five or ten yards at 1 so you don't drive it over everything.

Q. People have been bogeying 1. Tiger bogeyed 1 twice.

JACK NICKLAUS: But they don't play driver, most of them. Most of them were playing 3-wood or 2-iron or something and trying to blow it over the bunkers, and I really don't want them to blow it over the bunkers. 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, and the little change at 9, that will be it. The front nine. I've got to think about 10, but there's nothing at 11, 12, 13, 14. 15, I said I might drop that tee back a little bit. We've got plenty of room there to do it if I want to. There's nothing at 16, 17, 18, so very little. It'll be tweaks, basically, based on equipment and ball.

See, what I don't want to do with the golf course is make it a golf course that becomes totally a long hitters' golf course. I just think that's the mistake that everybody is trying to do. They make everything long, and when they make it long, then it just eliminates a bunch of players, and I don't want to eliminate a bunch of players. I want to make it so you have a game that they're got to play.

Q. 14 is a great hole -- (inaudible).

JACK NICKLAUS: Sure it does. I went in the locker room and the guys said, hey, you got another retirement point.

Q. I want to ask you if you're the oldest since Lee to make the cut on the PGA TOUR.

JACK NICKLAUS: I didn't know I was the oldest of any kind until yesterday. I got up and Nantz said, "Well, you're the second oldest. Snead is, I think, six times older than you are."

Q. (Inaudible).

JACK NICKLAUS: He was 67 last time he did it. I said, "I'll be back when I'm 68 then."

Q. What has the feedback been so far on the players on the new fairway bunker on 18? Do they like it?

JACK NICKLAUS: The only guys that wouldn't like it are the guys that I restricted. They would be the only guys that wouldn't like it. Although Vijay, he said, "Why would you put that bunker there?" I said, "Vijay, you drove it in it and knocked a wedge on the green, so why complain too much? Next year it'll be deeper."

Q. Was he in the farthest one?

JACK NICKLAUS: The second to the last one. But I did that when I was here a week ago. I took a ball and I just tossed it down in the bunker and I said, "Guys, I don't think they're deep enough." I tossed a ball in there and went down there with a wedge and knocked it on the green.

Q. (Inaudible).

JACK NICKLAUS: I just changed the angle of it a little bit. I changed the bottom of the bunker just a little bit to make sure that the ball gets to the front part of the bunker. I don't care about the other bunkers. The bunkers that are in play on the golf hole, I want those to be playable. I just want them to not play up here. I want them to play the strategy of the golf course. That's all I'm asking them to do.

Q. Then you have to put the furrows in?

JACK NICKLAUS: I don't know why they don't put light furrows in the bunkers, frankly. We used to have rakes that went in there and made a mark about this deep, which meant that you didn't get a perfect lie every time. If we did it today guys would scream bloody murder because you couldn't have a bunker shot. They aim for bunkers they're so good. Really, a bunker is supposed to be a penalty. That's why it's there. It's no penalty at all. The rough is far more a penalty than the bunker.

Q. Is there a Tour rule against it?

JACK NICKLAUS: No, you can -- I wouldn't be the first to do that. I don't want to gimmick up the golf course. I want to make it a good, solid, fair -- I don't care if they shoot lower scores, as long as the golf course is competitive for everybody. The guys hit it further, the equipment is easier to play, they should shoot lower scores. You can't take it and try to protect par anymore, because par can't be protected.

End of FastScripts.

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