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June 3, 2004

Jack Nicklaus


Q. You had some ups and downs today. Talk about your round.

JACK NICKLAUS: Well, my round, I wasn't happy with my swing yesterday after I played. I went out to the practice range and I made a fairly significant change in the swing and did it more because I was hitting so many golf shots fat. I worked well with the short irons, but I took it to the golf course through the bag and I drove it pretty good off 1 and hit a horrible iron to the left of the green, but I got it up-and-down.

I hit a pretty good drive at 2 and hit a horrible iron to the left of the green.

Then I hit a horrible tee shot at 3. I was that way all day long, just sort of kept myself in the game. I only made a couple birdies, but those couple birdies were good birdies. I birdied the 5th hole with a couple decent shots and a nice pitch and then made about a 10-footer, I suppose.

And then I hit one real good shot at 14. I hit an 8-iron in there about 12 feet and made that. That was about it.

I drove it in the water at 18, so that didn't obviously sit very well with me, having a chance to put it in the fairway and get a chance to birdie the hole to get back to even par and then shoot 74. I did manage it reasonably well, but I didn't really do a whole lot.

Q. The swing change, can you elaborate what you tried to do?

JACK NICKLAUS: I can tell you what I tried to do, because I spent the rest of the day getting rid of it after about the third hole. I spent the rest of the day trying to figure out what kind of a swing I wanted to use.

Q. I think everybody left something out there.

JACK NICKLAUS: I think everybody leaves something out there every day. I left an awful lot out there. Maybe I never took it out there, I guess. That could be part of it, or I didn't have it to take out there.

Q. Do you have something you feel you can build off of at all?

JACK NICKLAUS: Well, I hit eight greens and I guess I only missed a couple of fairways, but I was all over the club face with the driver. I putted well. I haven't been putting well. And actually, I gathered the groups on Monday. My son Jackie picked up what was wrong with my putting, and that's helped me more than anything, is what Jackie helped me with on Monday. I putted the ball very well. I have no complaints about that.

Q. Do you feel like you can get something going?

JACK NICKLAUS: If I can hit the ball halfway decent I can shoot a decent score. Physically, I feel good. I'm upbeat, the golf course is great. It's going to get a little bit faster as the week goes on. We've had some nice rounds, nobody has torn the golf court apart, pretty darn good first day.

Q. A few players this morning said they should have played lift, clean and place.

JACK NICKLAUS: They don't want to play golf then. That's absurd.

Q. (Inaudible).

JACK NICKLAUS: Well, I had a chance to really butcher my round at 18, and basically the putt I made at 18 salvaged at least a bogey out of the hole after hitting driver in the water. You realize any time you hole a putt at the last hole it gives you a little bit of an upbeat for the next day, sure, but I shouldn't have hit it in the water. Let's just start with that.

Q. Terrific approach on 17. You could have stolen a birdie there.

JACK NICKLAUS: Yeah, 229 is actually what I had. I took a 4-wood and stuck it up in the air and cut it, tried to let the wind kill it and drop it to the right, which I did, and hit it about 12 feet and hit a really good putt that just didn't go in.

Q. Did the ball actually cut for you?

JACK NICKLAUS: The ball actually cut, which means -- it was one of the two -- I basically felt I had a two-hitter today, my 8-iron at 14, and my 4-wood at 17. That was my two hits. I pitched well today.

Q. Not a perfect game, but --

JACK NICKLAUS: Not a perfect game, but it was a two-hitter.

Q. Nobody that's ever led this tournament after round one has ever won it.

JACK NICKLAUS: Really? Tom Lehman didn't? I thought he did.

Q. It's always kind of been where you've got to work your way into the week, it seems.

JACK NICKLAUS: Well, I've got a lot of work. Hopefully I've got enough time to do so.

Q. You plan on playing the weekend?

JACK NICKLAUS: Well, I hope I play the weekend. I've got to shoot a good enough score. I don't know what I'm going to have to shoot tomorrow, but I would imagine somewhere around par would get me there for the weekend. For somebody my age, that's all right. I'll go ahead and see what I can hack away and see if I can get something in there decent, give it a try anyway.

Q. Ben Curtis, I believe, is having a really good round today. I don't know if he's finished yet --

JACK NICKLAUS: I have no idea.

Q. It's nice to see kind of an Ohio kid coming in.

JACK NICKLAUS: Well, we gave Ben an exemption before he had done anything and he was very appreciative, and then of course after this he went and won the British Open, so maybe the Captain's Club made a good decision in giving him an exemption and he's coming back in here this year and playing well. That's nice to see.

Q. Zach talked about how special it was for him to play. You've done that a bunch of times it seems like, the kids get to do it once and that's the first time --

JACK NICKLAUS: Zach is a nice player. I gave Zach the Player of the Year award from the Nationwide Tour I guess about a month ago down in Greenville. We gave him that award, and that's where I met Zach, and we turned around and got paired together. We had some nice conversation. Nice young man, and he played very well today. He'll get a lot better.

End of FastScripts.

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