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June 29, 2003

Jack Nicklaus


JACK NICKLAUS: You want an early synopsis of somebody who has finished four hours before the leaders tee off.

Q. The only side bars --

JACK NICKLAUS: It only took me 63 holes to learn how to play this blasted game; didn't it. What can I do for you?

Q. Your putter was working today?

JACK NICKLAUS: I made short putts, one 20-footer and the rest of them were all 4 -, 5 -, 6-footers type of stuff. You got to make 4-, 5-, 6-footers on this golf course, that's what I said all week. You got to chip, putt, and make a few putts, you got to make the shorts putts or you just don't score.

Q. Obviously you hit a lot of good shots coming in, but 11 where you hit it five feet past the hole -- you made some birdies?

JACK NICKLAUS: I never thought of it that way, if you say so.

Q. You talked early about keeping the round going?

JACK NICKLAUS: Did I say that?

Q. Yes, you did?

JACK NICKLAUS: Okay. He is not going to get let me get away with this; is he?

Q. Give it to me?

JACK NICKLAUS: Every putt is an important putt when you are -- I can't fight this golf course. I can't get by the first five or six holes. It's just, you know, not that the first hole shouldn't be hard because 3, 4, 5, 6, just -- 3, 4, 5 particularly are just so tough. You know, you are always over par seems like when you get done with that stretch and I was 3-over today after 5, right. And then I played well after that. But how far you get over, how far you get down on yourself. I made a really good par at 8, sort of scratched out a par at 8 even though I got on in regulation but I still scratched out a par. Then I played well. A 7-iron, 9, seven , eight feet, I suppose; six , seven, eight feet.

And then 10 I hit it in five or six feet.

11, I hit the 9-iron that went through the green. I misjudged what the chip was.

Q. Did you chip or putt that?

JACK NICKLAUS: I sand wedged it and pitched it and it ran by about five feet and I didn't think it was going to do that but it did. I made that putt then I hit it close to the next hole about two-and-a-half, three feet.

Q. 8-iron?

JACK NICKLAUS: 8-iron. And then I hit a driver that just went about a foot in the rough at 11. Then I hit a 4-iron, I tried to hit the bunker shot underneath the hole which did I, I left it six or seven feet and I made that putt. And then I hit the darn tee shot in the rough and played a really good shot out of the rough at 14.

Then I had a really tough pitch and I rolled it down about four feet and holed another four-footer.

15, I holed a 20-footer. I hit a 6-iron in there.

And then 16 I had a long putt that I thought I made.

And 17 I had a really nice up-and-down out of the left. Those are things I haven't been getting up and down. Those are the kind that save your round which you were talking about. I made a really nice pitch and made a 3-footer and then, of course, 18 who can hit it up there and keep it up there, you know? I hit a 9-iron on the green and 2-putted it.

Anyway, it's at least nice to shoot one decent round for the weekend though I did start out lousy and playing 5-under the last 10 holes is pretty good.

Q. What adjustment do you want to make heading to the TPC in Dearborn?

JACK NICKLAUS: I don't know, I probably will use a different fly. The last time I fished the river -- I'm going to fish tomorrow. I didn't catch very much fish. I'm going to change my flies. I'm not going to worry about golf. I didn't mean to be a smart alec about it.

Q. No?

JACK NICKLAUS: You know me. I don't even worry about golf. I go play and I show up and I try to be halfway decent but I won't change anything from what I am doing now.

Q. When are you planning on showing up at Dearborn; do have you a plan yet?

JACK NICKLAUS: If they let me in the Pro-am I will show up then. Wednesday? Yes. I think one practice round will be enough. I played the course enough.

Q. Can you talk about the adjustments you made in your spring; did you bring your right foot back to give yourself more room; is that what you are talking about?

JACK NICKLAUS: I have been very steep and in an effort to play left to right I've been working on playing open. I found myself getting too steep and found myself to not have any power and be able to penetrate the ball and put too much spin on the ball. So I just sort of shallowed out -- I pulled my right foot back, that made me get back behind it and that shallowed out my swing and it made me hit the ball a little in the rear end and I got more out of it. And I lost confidence with it at the end of the round yesterday. I lost confidence a little bit at the end of the round today. I think that's just from not doing it enough, not having played. Not having the confidence that you should have. But it was a lot better. When I wanted to put some heat on the ball I could put some heat on the ball which I haven't been able to do without hitting it all over the world or even missing the world.

Q. What are your impressions of the crowd and community?

JACK NICKLAUS: We have always had great tournaments here. People have always supported the tournament well. The gallaries have always been very responsive. You're not unlike Columbus in that outside of Ohio State football we really don't have a whole lot to watch down there. The people get excited, they come out; the same thing here. I can't imagine they get all that excited about the Mudhens, do they? What kind of crowds do they draw?

Q. 5,000?

JACK NICKLAUS: 5,000; you're not drawing a lot of people. It means these are the kinds of communities, this community, Louisville, places like --

Q. Des Moines?

JACK NICKLAUS: Des Moines -- places like where they don't get a lot of other sporting events, they really support golf well. They have always done a great job here. People have always been great, they have been very enthusiastic. You have a wonderful golf course, it's tough, but it's a great golf course. You got a great history and they love it.

Q. Jack, any nostalgia playing your last competitive round here where you played your first Open?

JACK NICKLAUS: I thought my last competitive round here might be Friday the way I was playing. I said I started out missing the cut and ended up missing the cut 46 years later.

Q. Do you wish you had another crack at it, one more crack?

JACK NICKLAUS: No, I have had enough cracks at this golf course. I finished up -- this is the last time I'm going to play this place. That's fine. I never played well here. I said that at the beginning of the week. I always had trouble with it. It's not my style of golf course from the way I play golf. It's a golf course that you really have to grind it out, not hit it long, hit it very straight, chip and putt very well for four days. I might do one day or two days of that, but I have never be able to do four days of it. I always struggled here. Not that I don't like it. I like it. It's just always been very difficult for me. It's very much what I grew up on. 15 holes of this golf course are very much like the old Sciota. The other three aren't, but 15 are.

End of FastScripts....

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