May 27, 2003
JOAN vT ALEXANDER: Thank you, Mr. Nicklaus for joining us.
JACK NICKLAUS: Sure.
JOAN vT ALEXANDER: You made some changes on 17, start with that.
JACK NICKLAUS: I will start with the golf course. As it relates to changes to the golf course, we felt like every year we nursed the greens in past tournaments. We tried to identify greens here and the sodded greens haven't worked anyplace else. They became a fan about 5 or years ago. We found they failed every place. They are fine during the tournament but after the tournament they started deteriorating threw the summertime.
Last year we decided to say, we are going to redo the greens properly and reseed them. And when we decided to reseed all of the greens, we closed the course down in August. So we felt it was the opportune time to be able to do 17. That's why 17 was done. I wanted to do it some time, so.
Anyway, I felt like this golf course, if it kept looking the way it shaped out, and the way it played during the golf tournament, starting at about 12, where you start to get into the play of what's happening, 12 is a nice little par-3, and a pretty hole, one that a lot of birdies were made. But there are always a lot of danger. And 13 became what was our longest par-4 with the narrowest fairway and the smallest green on the golf course. So we thought 13, and the way the green played, we thought it was a good strong hole.
Then we started and came back to 14, which I felt was always one of the most dangerous, but one of the neatest par-4's in golf. Probably one of the best holes I ever done. I think the guys feel that way. It's a really good hole. You can make a birdie and can you make a bogey real quick.
So we went to 15, and 15 always had the excitement of having the possibility of making an eagle or birdie, or if you didn't hit a good tee shot, you were struggling to make par. I thought that was always a good change for things moving.
I thought 16 was just a good, strong, solid par.
But then 17, to me, I was trying to figure out, I didn't have a description for 17. 18 I think is a really great finishing hole, a strong hole. 17 was sort of uh! to me. It's always been sort of uh! How do you spell uh!? I'm not sure.
I thought we needed a little bit of spice coming in and having so excitement coming down the stretch with the last couple of holes. 17 was a place I started to work on. I have been thinking about it two or three years, or six years, and I always wanted to say, we didn't get a very good gallery situation at 17. When we did the golf course, there was a line of trees to the left of that and there was nothing but a field until we got to Dublin, Ohio. Obviously, there was houses and everything else put in since then. Everything was manufactured. And the bunker put in there was something put on top of the land. It was put there. I never like the way the fair went bent off, and I didn't like the patio off to the right about 28 yards. Yes, we took the patio out, obviously I'm being facetious. It wasn't strong enough. The gallery was tight behind the green. It wasn't there. I set out with terrible goals in minds: 1, strengthen the hole; 2, make it a good gallery hole; and 3, try to spice it up a little. Get more room around the green.
The first thing I did, I said I wanted to move the green forward. I moved it to the brink of the hill, which is about 7 or 8 yards forward, and I dropped it because I felt like if I drop it and move it forward, it will relate better to what's below it. There was a pipe drainage through it before, a swamp earlier years and we piped it.
So I moved it forward, put it on the brink of the hole and opened the creek bed back up. We have a creek bed that fits in front. It's a steep bank. I treat it like the other ones. If you hit ball to green and spin it off, the ball will stop to the green every time. If you hit a bunker shot, the ball will stop in the bank. If hit a shot coming in, it's going to be short. It sits on the thing, it will bounce and come back down the hill and you have a good chance of putting it in the water. It plays well as a hazard. It's a dangerous situation; you have to watch what you are doing. By moving the green forward, we open more gallery in the back, more on the left. By dropping the green, it increased the pitch up to the gallery, which meant more people could see. I said, if I'm going to do that, how am I going to be able to make that green visible in the creek bed? So we took the knob that went over and down the creek. I cut the whole thing down probably about 20 feet. And by cutting it down 20 feet, I cut the hole fairway down. But I cut that fairway down, I created enough dirt to create gallery mounds along the hole. So I come off the trees to left, and you have slight movement up, not much, then it falls down in to the hole. We were able to have a gallery on the right side which supported the right side of the hole and drop the thing in.
I said, okay, what kind of strategy did I want? I designed the green the same size the hole was before. This may be a longer description than you want. I'm going to give you the whole thing. The green is about the same size. It's protected from the right side, similar to what it was before. The trees now, because I dropped the green and moved it forward, the trees frame it and it's more important to hit the ball in the center of the fairway. It's dangerous to try to play between the trees unless you are center.
Anyway, so I tried to design a strategy that would be an advantage to if you hit the ball to left side of the fairway to get a good angle into the green. I put a bunker out 260 yards and carry the -- first of all, I took the tee back as far as I could. And it makes the hole 78 yards I ^ lengthened it 80 yards. I put the bunker 260, downhill, down wind, prevailing wind. Most of the guys would play a 3-wood over the that bunker. If you don't hit the ball solidly, you are going to hit the ball in that bunker. I put a bunker about 85 on the left. I put a bunker about 305, 310 on the left, and more in the center and I put a bunker at 295 on the right side, and I took both the 310 bunker and the 295 bunker. And I put yards in between them. So I felt like, okay, I'm going to give you an opportunity to drive it in between those two bunkers but if you don't get it between those two bunkers and you don't put it in the fairway, you can hit it down there, and hit a sand wedge to the green. If you don't put it between those two bunkers, both of those bunkers will be penal enough if you don't get it to the green. That's what I tried to do.
And then if the wind turns the other way, I felt, well, you are going to have to watch that 260-yard bunker. Me, particularly, I would have to hit it to the right. Not a very good angle but I'm playing it into the wind, which meant that the green would hold the shot all right.
That is what the strategy was, the idea was, to flow around the right side. They do it better to get into the hole. What you are going to try to do is carry the ball past 36 on short of 205, hit it out 28 on 290, you will leave yours -- if you are on 28 you will leave yours on 65, 70 yards. Most of the guys will be playing somewhere between an 8- and a 6-iron probably. A 5-iron. So you have a pretty medium length par-4, even though it's 478, it's still a medium length plane. You have a water hazard. You have bunkers that really make you play the ball straight, and you are facing 18 right in front of you. So if you are coming down with a one-shot lead with holes to play, you are going to have to play golf.
Q. How have you played the hole, Jack?
JACK NICKLAUS: I haven't hit the green yet. I played it four times. I played it here a week ago Sunday, and I played into the wind, and I hit a driver out to the right, and I played a 4-wood into the green, and then I hit it -- the last three days, we haven't had any wind help and I played it Friday, Saturday and Sunday, and I hit a 5-iron, 5-iron, 4-iron without any help. If I had wind behind me, I will play a 7-iron, which is fine as long as I put it in play.
Q. What will they have the most trouble with when they play, if you can generalize, possibly, what will they have the most trouble with?
JACK NICKLAUS: It's a multiple problem. If you hit the ball -- if they hit the ball over the bunker to the left side of the fairway, which is plenty wide, it's going to be a fairly simple iron shot. But you got to put the ball into that position. If you ball out to the right, or put it in one of those bunkers trying to get it into that left side, then you've got -- if you put it out to the right, you have a tree hanging to the right side to contend with. Or if you are in a bunker, you've always got something to contend with when you are in the bunker, particularly if you got the bank there with the green up at the bottom. You have a lot of things to contend with.
I don't think the hole will play 40 yards longer than it did before. But with a nice tee shot and nice second shot, you have not a lot difference. The problems we created for the hole are a lot more difficult. Before that, the waste bunker, you hit the ball there, it was the best angle to the green, an easy shot, nothing in front of you.
Q. If the wind is behind them, will they drive it?
JACK NICKLAUS: They will play a 3-wood mostly. I will hit a driver, yes. Well, there are times that I hit a 3-wood if I had a good strong wind. They will want to hit it into an area, which is what I wanted. I have a crown that goes between the first bunker and the bunker to right, which means if you tag it over that bunker, you are going to hit and feed it in the left side. But if you shy away from it, the crown will take you to the right side and give you a little more difficult angle.
Q. Is there anything left to do, Jack?
JACK NICKLAUS: On that hole?
Q. In general, on the golf course, are there other things that would you like to do?
JACK NICKLAUS: Little, tiny things. I went through it last night at the board meeting and I said, okay, -- they feared that I was so successful what did with 17, how much more can I have to do? I really don't find much more. Little, tiny things. When we deepen the bunkers at the 10th, we didn't get them deep enough. I wanted them like the front bunkers at 18. And the guys misunderstood me and they didn't get it right. We lowered them a foot and a half; I wanted them lowered four or five feet. So they will be done that way next year. That's a big, key thing. Little tiny things.
Really, no construction left. No, that I know of. I'll tell you what I have to do: I will start bringing the driving range up to date. When you start working on the driving range, then you are done with the golf course. I want to change the target greens on the driving range, give them better targets to play to and more definition on the range. The range is 30 years old. It needs a little sprucing up.
Q. There was some talk a long time ago when that tree left of 18 dies, that you would run the amphitheater all the way down that side?
JACK NICKLAUS: I might, yes. That's a possibility. But that's not the change in the golf course, that's just gallery situation. That tree is getting pretty -- it's getting pretty rotted. I'm more worried about it falling down and hurting somebody than I am worrying about the tree dying. That tree will live for a while. But that's not a golf-course issue.
Q. In doing the greens, as I understand it, you redid the contours on 10 of the 18 greens?
JACK NICKLAUS: I just finished off -- I had the opportunities, when we redid the greens six or seven years ago, whatever it was, we really adjusted the contours a little bit. Maybe not that long. So I went through the golf course and looked through the greens. I thought one was fine. We tweaked a little bit the back right to make sure I got a better pin placement back right, which we didn't have a good pin position, which it was flatter. A knob in the back of the second green, we softened that, so we added a little. Third hole didn't change. Four didn't change. Fifth hole, I felt we got too easy off the right side of the green. I raised the roll of the right side of the green, so that if a ball is hit into the -- misses the green to the right, it will get away from the green more but will have more pitch going toward the water, pitching back. So the right side is not a piece of cake anymore. You have to be very careful with the chip shot you play.
I reduced the pitch. It still functioned the same way but a ball didn't. It will still do that. But it was almost impossible to try to get from one side to the other. It took the green almost to the fringe. 7, when we did it before, I think right over the bunker to the left, it was not maybe as friendly a pin placement as we probably would have liked. I think the Tour wanted to shy away from it a little bit. I softened it to make sure it was a better pin placement, so you would have that pin placement.
We found 8 and 12 are the two greens on the golf course that we were having trouble growing grass on in the summertime. It was the hardest place to do it. We found both of those greens had less than a one percent pitch throughout the green as an average. It meant we weren't getting water off of the green or irrigation. By sitting in the trees, it was just sitting there baking. We increased the pitch, kept the greens the same, created better pin placement on both of those greens and increased them, maybe, somewhere between one and two-and-a-half percent throughout the greens. So the water got off and we also ended up creating better pin placement.
9, I don't think we changed anything at 9 that I can think of. I thought the front last time was sort of penal. You can spin the ball right off the front of the green, almost spin it back in the water. I took that up. I didn't think that was a fair statement. You wanted to do that with a golf shot playing to that front pin placement. I took five feet off of the green, if the ball spins back, it stops in the grass. It plays like the other one; it hits the back and goes in the water.
10, we didn't change 10. We might have changed it just fractionally off the left side to make the left bunker shot not so easy. The left bunker shot was an easy shot. Took a little pitch off the bunker. It changed the roll of the green a little bit.
11, I didn't change much. The back right was a little bit steep roll, we softened that slightly.
12, I told you, we increased the crown in the center which increased the pitch to get the water off of the green.
13 didn't change at all.
14 I didn't change at all.
15, when we did the green, we couldn't get probably as good as pin placement right over the left bunker that I wanted, and we worked real hard to get a good pin position over that bunker. The four pin positions I hope the TOUR uses was the front of the green, just over the bunker to the left, just middle back left, and clear back right. Those are the four that I wanted. And I think we have the center of the green and the ridge we have the membership play, that's not what I wanted the TOUR to play. I would have played that twice the first year we did that green. I wasn't happy with that. We built a green and didn't use what we did. I wanted to make sure we got the greens where we were supposed to be.
16 we didn't change anything. 16 was fine before.
17 is a new green, and what I tried to create there, five pin positions. I'm not sure that, the TOUR, we use front right, back right, back left and back center. I don't know whether they use the front left or not. It may be a little severe. If that is too severe, we will find out later. If that is, we might make the minor adjustments we have to make.
18 we didn't change at all.
Q. Would you expect these changes, for the players who have been coming here for years and years, to introduce dramatically different breaks?
JACK NICKLAUS: No. It's minor. No, but it is different. Any time you redo a green, it's different. You go to Augusta and they redo their greens every year. They resod it. They resod it like every summer. It was fine for them, last one or two years. It will not last a year for the membership. You go into Augusta every year, every pitch at Augusta is slightly different every year. Not that it's meant to be. They try to put it back identical. But you can't put it back identical.
Q. Would you expect guys to come off playing their practice rounds thinking those putts are a lot different?
JACK NICKLAUS: I think they will say they putt differently. I did change them a little bit. I increased some of pitches where I was having half to one percent pitches, where I might have had water not getting off the green properly. By increasing the pitch a little bit, I also did other things. I have to cut the greens quite as short to get the speed because have you a little bit more much.
Q. Jack, a tournament question for you: Is the Memorial actively seeking a title sponsor? Is reaching a stage where you might need one?
JACK NICKLAUS: Morgan Stanley is our present sponsor.
Q. A title sponsor?
JACK NICKLAUS: We will never have a title sponsor. I don't think. Morgan Stanley is as much of a title sponsor as can you have. It presents our television. They present the tournament. And they are in the same mind that we are, without having a commercial name on the top, the tournament means more, it feels more like it's not a common commercial event. We are delighted to have Morgan Stanley back. It obviously was Dean Witter before now. They merged. We have 8 members from Morgan Stanley that have been here ever since they were here before and added to it. 9 members now. I said 8 yesterday. Now it's 9 today. A new member, good deal. I don't know.
Q. You will never have a corporate name in front of the tournament?
JACK NICKLAUS: Never is not a good word. That's not our intention. I would hope not. I think Morgan Stanley is not having that too. We are delighted to have them. We want the best quality golf tournament that we can have. They were here before 9 years. We had a great relationship. It was not an issue with them. We don't expect that to be an issue. They are very happy to be here and we are very happy to have them.
Q. Along those lines I was curious if you heard anything out of the Wachovia which I think was one of the newest tournaments since the Memorial, they went to enormous lengths to pamper the players with courtesy cars, police hotlines, day care, outlandish perks, do you see any problem with tournaments trying to raise the level more and more on things --
JACK NICKLAUS: You are about 15 or 20 years behind the time. They started that 15 or 20 years behind.
Q. I just got here.
JACK NICKLAUS: I don't understand what your question is. Because every tournament does that.
Q. It seemed like it was over the top?
JACK NICKLAUS: Well, maybe it was over the top. I don't know. From day one here our goal was to make sure that we took care of the players so that when they came here they felt like they were at home. They were taken care of in every way they can be taken care of. We tried to do all of that here. I don't understand what your question is. Except, I think every tournament feels like they are in competition with every other tournament and they try to make sure that every player, all of the players are taken care of. Their needs our taken care of, from the family standpoint, transportation standpoint, whatever it might be, accommodations, child care. We have all of the same things here. We have had them for years. I had a couple players saying we select our tournaments based on the child care. I said, I'm sorry. I beg your pardon. He said no, when we want to go and travel with our families -- it's different than when we played. We took care of our own kids. One wife would go to the golf course one day and the other wife would go the next day. Get to see one or two days. It doesn't happen that way now.
Q. You built your schedule around what?
JACK NICKLAUS: Child care, obviously. I built my schedule around the golf course that I was going to play. It was always around the golf courses. The ones that I felt were the greatest challenge. It was built around the Majors. And then built in between with the ones that I wanted to play that I felt were good golf courses and I would enjoy playing.
Q. Do you think that's still the case by and large?
JACK NICKLAUS: Yes, I think that is the case by and large. I think the guys go to the golf courses, where they have the good tournaments and places they enjoy going. A lot of people like to go to New Orleans because of food. A lot of guys want to eat the oysters and the crawfish and so on. They don't really care what the tournament is. There is other people might want to go to Las Vegas because they like to go to Las Vegas. I mean I'm hoping people come to the Memorial tournament because they want to play a quality golf course, quality tournament, played like a golf tournament. That's why I want people to come here. We want to take care of the players the best way we can take care of them. The fans the best way. We built this building because we wanted you guys to come. We want you guys to come and enjoy it, and gals, and make sure this is what you want to cover.
Q. I ask 15 or 20-year-old questions?
JACK NICKLAUS: Yes, ask 15 or 20-year-old questions, that's right.
Q. Are you happy where you are in the schedule?
JACK NICKLAUS: Yes. I think we are right where we want to be. We have had the opportunity to change out of this dated several times. We have always come back that we haven't found that we wanted to be anywhere else. The golf two weeks prior to the U.S. Open is strong. Just coming out of the winter in Columbus, sometimes staying in the winter. Unfortunately, we have had some bad weather situations. But as I said growing up here as kid, I thought May was a great month in Ohio. I always say it's a great month. Knock on wood, we got good weather right now. I don't know what's going to happen. I'm sure that can change quickly up here. This is the only town I say the weather man is 97 correct up here 3 percent of the time. So that has always been my phrase up here. You just never know what the jet stream is going to do this time of year. The guys coming to us, it's their first real taste of northern golf after playing in the south on Bermuda and so forth. It's a lot like Augusta frankly, coming out of spring time in Augusta. It's coming out of the spring time up here. I think it's a pretty good time. Obviously the people love it here. The fans love it. Can you imagine if they didn't love it, they wouldn't support it with the weather we have had. They have supported it beautifully. The players have supported it. We are quite happy where we.
Q. Under the previous television contract there was some kind of a rotation where 3 out of every four years?
JACK NICKLAUS: That's ended.
Q. So you're after Memorial Day every year?
JACK NICKLAUS: No, two weeks before the U.S. Open every year. I don't know when Memorial Day always falls. Two weeks before the U.S. Open. That's what our contract is. I don't know what the length of that is. A 4 year contract with the TOUR. I wouldn't see any reason why that would change.
Q. This is your 28th appearance, usually someone else would be here as well, the first win near Roger Maltbie is not here?
JACK NICKLAUS: I don't understand what Roger didn't play.
Q. He is playing this week?
JACK NICKLAUS: He is playing senior golf.
JACK NICKLAUS: He is.
Q. I think he is. He says I love this game again.
JACK NICKLAUS: Did he just turn 50?
Q. He was not going play senior golf last year?
JACK NICKLAUS: Really. Good for him. We would like to have him back. We always like to have our defending champions back. We made provisions in our rules that defending champions play.
Q. You didn't talk to him?
JACK NICKLAUS: Roger told me it might be his last year. It was getting too tough for him. But if he is back playing golf he must be enjoying it.
Q. When he got here last year he asked when you were going to start sending the letters out here?
JACK NICKLAUS: Did he?
JACK NICKLAUS: No, I'm not doing that.
Q. So far this year in golf, maybe the biggest stories we had is the Augusta controversy and Annika playing last week?
JACK NICKLAUS: That surprises me that you would bring something up like that.
Q. What is going on with golf, is golf changing? Why are we having these things?
JACK NICKLAUS: Jerry, I don't know. I don't think we have so much. The press seems to like the sensationalism. I mean your newspaper last week on Friday morning, I mean had Annika on the front page with a large picture. Annika on the sports page with a large picture. Had 3 pages dedicated basically inside, or two pages to Annika. I had a hard time trying to find out who was leading the golf tournament and who was the defending champion.
Q. So did the leader.
JACK NICKLAUS: I mean I'm not knocking Annika because I think what she did actually has been great for golf. Frankly, I think it's great for her. Great for golf. Great for women's golf. It didn't hurt the men's TOUR one iota. It created a lot of interest in the Colonial. I think all of those things are fine. But what it did, what you are talking about, Martha Burk's deal, I don't know what happen to Martha Burk's deal with Augusta, I understand 7 people showed up. 400 of you guys and 7 of them. I have no idea. I don't know. What I'm driving at, the media attention today, the sensationalism is beyond what is happening in the game. You guys are selling newspapers, selling things. That's fine. If that's what it is, that's what it is. I'm not knocking that. It's a question you're asking. But you're doing that, not somebody else. I don't think there is any focus from our standpoint. I don't think Annika did it for publicity reasons any way, shape or form. I think Annika wanted to find out if she could play golf with men. I think she found out she did credibly. But that was taken to the empth degree by the press. Would anybody disagree with that? I think that's what you're asking me.
Q. I didn't think that it was. What I'm saying, golf to me has changed a lot?
JACK NICKLAUS: The tournament took advantage of that issue and made a situation out of it, too. They allowed that situation to be a press issue.
Q. Well, you would have the option of offering Annika an exception here, wouldn't you, if you chose to do that?
JACK NICKLAUS: We have every ability do that. I have nothing to do with the exceptions. Zero. I have kept myself out of that from day one. And I'm not asked about it. It's done by a committee from the Captain's Club, they choose every exception whoever they feel will be best suited to help this golf tournament, or needs an opportunity to play that can't otherwise get in, or Jerry Pate was probably invited because Jerry Pate turns 50 next year. The guy writes a letter in and they give a reason why they would like to be considered for a sponsor's exemption. Andy knows, how many letters were sent into the Captain's Club?
Q. 54 letters.
JACK NICKLAUS: 54 letters sent in by players asking for sponsor's exemptions. The Captain's Club takes those letter and considers them, and based on the merit of what they think that person can do for that tournament. Gary got a sponsor's admission. Gary was from Ohio State, my son, Memorial Tournament. He grew up playing here and they felt like people from this area want to play. The same as Joey Sindelar got. Who else is an Ohio State player? Ben Curtis, Columbus, Ohio. John Cook would be on his own. That was reasons why he felt some of that stuff happens. Jerry Pate was that reason. Who are the other exemptions? Andy Miller, Johnny Miller's son. Peter Jacobsen. There are reasons that guys don't play. Annika would fall in that same category absolutely. Annika did not write for an exemption. She would have been considered like everybody else if that was the question you are asking.
Q. Well, the question I'm asking, do you think it's okay to do that?
JACK NICKLAUS: Okay to do what?
Q. To give a player, not a member of the TOUR, like Annika, an exemption?
JACK NICKLAUS: I feel like Annika sits in a different category. Annika has never really qualified to play the men's TOUR. I mean all of these other people have played the tour, have been eligible to play, and one time or another, or is up and coming like Andy Miller who has qualified for the --
JACK NICKLAUS: Yes. And he has done very well there. Got out of the qualifying school and so forth. They are trying to figure out how to make a balance. My feeling about Annika, which I said several times, if you can bring your golf clubs, and you can play, and you can get in, go play. That's been my philosophy always. It's was my philosophy when they tried to legislate foreign players from getting in tournaments. Don't worry about getting in. Go play well. You don't have to worry about somebody else. Don't legislate them out of the golf tournaments.
Q. I'm going to go out and ask you about your golf game.
JACK NICKLAUS: Are we all right?
Q. Do you think we will see more instances of this in other tournaments?
JACK NICKLAUS: My guess is you are going to see Michelle Wie somewhere along the line.
JOAN vT ALEXANDER: She is playing in Boise in the Nationwide event. She also tried to qualify at the Sony.
JACK NICKLAUS: I think on the women's TOUR the men can't play the women's TOUR because there's a rule that you must be born a female.
We don't have that rule in the men's tournament.
JOAN vT ALEXANDER: Ours is the best player in the world.
JACK NICKLAUS: See, I don't have an issue with that.
Q. Did you watch last week?
JACK NICKLAUS: I watched 5 minutes of it, 10 minutes. Turned the television on and walked by to see what was going on. I said many times if I lived in Dallas/Ft. Worth area I would be the first one to buy a ticket. I don't know what kind of crowds. I'm sure they had enormous crowds.
Q. Sold out.
JACK NICKLAUS: That's great. It does create a circus atmosphere to a certain extent.
If you did that every week it would become a commonplace situation. That was the first time so it became an issue.
Q. I wanted to ask you about your golf game.
JACK NICKLAUS: Okay. My golf game is continuing to improve. I'm getting better. I don't have a timetable on it. I don't think I am probably where I want to be yet but I think I'm getting better.
Q. Did the Trip to Russia, was that a good experience?
JACK NICKLAUS: I came back here and played Sunday here. I played Oakmont Monday. I was over at the American Society Golf Course of Architects. I went to Russia Monday night. I spent 6 hours on a new golf course we are doing in Moscow on Tuesday afternoon and spent the night there. Got up Wednesday morning, had my caviar for breakfast. I didn't have vodka with it.
I worked on the golf course the next morning, went to London on Wednesday afternoon, had dinner. Played Royal St. George's for an R and A deal on Thursday. I had dinner that night, got on the airplane on Friday morning, flew to Columbus and played here Friday afternoon. I felt perfect.
Q. How does it feel to be a captain of a President's Cup team?
JACK NICKLAUS: What have I done in preparation for President's Cup? I thought you were talking about my golf game. You asked me about my golf game.
Q. I got that answer, I wanted to move on.
JACK NICKLAUS: My golf game is fine. I worked with Jim Flick the last couple of days. I feel like I spent quite a bit of time -- I spent 4 hours yesterday working on my short game which is something I haven't done because I haven't been able to practice my short game because that's how I hurt myself two years ago, and I said I needed to practice it. I practice it and I am fine today. I'm knocking on wood. I'm looking forward to the tournament from the standpoint. President's Cup, what about it, what have I done for preparation?
Q. I wonder how it is to be a captain.
JACK NICKLAUS: It's a great honor, a tremendous honor. It's going to be fun. We are having potential guys, who have the opportunity to make the team on point standing right now, we are having a meeting on Thursday evening with them here.
Q. Jack, you said, whatever year it was, 8 when you were captain in Australia that your tendency was to pick 11 and 12 for your captain's pick. Are you planning on doing the same thing?
JACK NICKLAUS: I don't know. My tendency would be the same way but I don't know. I would have to look at it. And see what it is and what's happening. 11 and 12 may have been guys 3 or 4 the first year and haven't made a cut for a year. I just don't know. I have no idea who is on that list and where. I have really paid that much attention to it at this point.
Q. Jack, as far as this course goes with the winning score getting lower over the last few years are you happy with Muirfield as a test for these guys?
JACK NICKLAUS: Yes. I think Muirfield is fine. Obviously I lengthened 17. 478 yards was a driver and a sand wedge. Because it's downhill it played like a 391 yard hole. It's going to play like 430 yards now. Even at 478. Length is not the issue on that hole. It was the positioning of that hole. I always felt like length or power was about 20 percent of the game when I played most of my golf. I felt like power is about 80 percent of the game right now. I don't think that's too much balance over that direction. Too many golf courses are taken into the power game and what it does it eliminates the ability unless he is exceptional, like Mike Weir had an exceptional time at Augusta. You have to have unbelievable week. Power has become too much of the game. Power is not going to be that big an issue. Power is an issue on the par-5's here. I restricted the par-5s at 7, probably not as much as I probably would have. A tee shot at 11 we have restricted, even though it's here to hit. The tee shot is not a long hole, a positional tee shot. Each of those holes give the short hitter an opportunity to compete very well. And the rest of the golf course is not long enough. It's more of a position golf course. Power is about 20 percent of this golf course. I think it's in the same order -- I think most of your older golf course, unless they ruin them have been that way. That ruins them to make them power games. I don't know how they are going to play Oakmont. I don't know what the next event is at Oakmont. You have an amateur there. We opened up there with 490 yard par-4. I hit my drive, a 2-iron into the green blind. That's not what that course is meant to be. Now grant it, the guys that hit the ball 50 yards by me will hit a driver and 7-iron. That's fine. What about the poor guys that hit the ball 265 and there is a devil of a lot of them that do it.
Q. You may be the only person in this field that played Olympia Fields and Royal St. Georges and since you just played that last week, and Olympia Fields three of four years ago, have they changed the bunkering, can you talk about both courses from your standpoint?
JACK NICKLAUS: Olympia Fields is a pretty nice golf course. I won there in '68 in the Western Amateur. Then we played the Senior Open there in '97. A nice golf course but the bunker was outdated. Bunker you hit a 3-wood on every bunker. There was no penalties in the bunkers. All of the bunkers were stuck up in the air. It looked like a golf course that needed so help. But the golf course physically is a nice golf course. If they physically did the bunkers and rearranged that, I think that's probably what they did, they will have a good golf course. Royal St. George's at 200 yards to it. I did not play it. I played on the member's tees, thank goodness. I kept looking back 60 or 70 yards back there. May in England is usually chilly and cold. It was only blowing about 40. Some of those holes played a little long. I don't think at Royal St. George's changed angles on the holes. It will play fine.
Was that your question?
Q. I would love to have a lot more. If that's what you got.
JACK NICKLAUS: I can give you more. What do you want?
Q. Olympia Fields?
JACK NICKLAUS: I just don't remember Olympia Fields as much. They had some greens --
Q. They changed greens and tees?
JACK NICKLAUS: I don't know what they did.
Q. You're fine, thank you. When you say power is 20 percent of this golf course, does that percentage change depending on if its playing soft or running, or if you have dry weather here all week?
JACK NICKLAUS: Power is higher percentage when it's wet and less percentage when it is fast. What I'm driving at, I think power is always an advantage in the game of golf. But I don't think it's the only thing that should determine how you should design a golf course. I think a golf course needs to be designed by a person playing right-to-left shots, high shots, low shots, some bounce-in greens, carry greens, you try to create a variety. Sometimes you get an opportunity on the par-4 to build it. Let's just say on this golf course if you got an opportunity at 10 to take it over to the bunker where you can play a 9-iron or wedge to that green, versus staying out to the right and being conservative. Power is an advantage if you get it over the bunker and get it home in 2. There is power. But it doesn't overpower every hole. It's a balance within a golf course.
Q. If the weather stays like it is and the course dries out a little bit, does it open up the chances?
JACK NICKLAUS: Absolutely, sure. But certain kinds of players -- a wet golf course opens up opportunity for guys that are not good fast golf course players. Fast golf courses opens up the opportunity if they are not wet golf course players. Some guys are mudders and some guys are fast course players. Some guys play both.
JOAN vT ALEXANDER: Thank you for joining us.
End of FastScripts....