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May 26, 2002

Jack Nicklaus


JACK NICKLAUS: I'll turn this one in, sure. Okay. Well, obviously, I wasn't very good. I just wore out. K.J. played very well. I enjoyed playing with him. It's the first time I played with him. I just wasn't very good.

Q. Could you tell you just didn't have it in you when you were trying to hit the shot, that you just didn't have it in you to pull it off?

JACK NICKLAUS: Obviously, I hit the ball in the water three times on the front nine. 2-iron shots that I thought I hit pretty good didn't even get over the water. And I had a couple on the back. And then 10, I did the same thing. I hit a 6-iron 168 yards and barely got it over the first part of the bunker. And I just didn't have any zip. And it just wasn't there.

Q. Cold weather affect you today?

JACK NICKLAUS: No, no. I'm fine. I feel pretty good. I just wore out.

Q. (Inaudible.)

JACK NICKLAUS: I would say over about the last 12 or 13 days. That's probably why. I was playing so badly that I just felt I needed to play and I felt like -- I never dreamed that I was going to be playing Saturday and Sunday anyway and I just wanted to be respectable, and I was for three days. And then I just sort of felt that I needed to play. And I think that was more important than the rest at the time. I'm going to play at Firestone in a couple weeks. And I won't do that there. I'll probably be very very careful and judicious with how many, how much practice I do and how much I do getting warmed up.

Q. After the way you played, do you think you have a good chance to compete at Firestone?

JACK NICKLAUS: If I play well, I will. You always do if you play well. I played better than I played today.

Q. Tell us about the birdie opportunity you had on 16?

JACK NICKLAUS: Opportunity? The opportunity, that was a kick-in. I hit a -- I was just laughing at myself back there. I'm standing back on the tee and it was probably between a 3- and a 4-iron so I took a 2. That is how strong I felt and I barely carried the top of the bunker and carried the fringe and rolled it down to about two or three feet. That's what I was laughing about. Here I am standing back there trying to figure out some way to get it over the bunker and I took probably a club and a half more than I probably needed, normally would need, and I ended up two and-a-half feet from the hole, three feet from the hole. And I had a little putt that was a little slippery, left-to-right and I just pulled it.

Q. Did it cross your mind, Jack, when you finished 18 that that might be the last time that you finish here, given the way you kind of struggled here getting ready for this tournament and everything else?

JACK NICKLAUS: I don't look at it that way. It may be my -- I don't know when I'm going to play again. I have no idea when I'll play again. Certainly if I play again it will be, I certainly will, I intend to finish on Sunday.

Q. You did soak it up a little bit, the walk up, soak up the ovation?

JACK NICKLAUS: I just wanted to get up the hill.

(Laughter.) Maybe they could push me up the hill, how about that? The ovation pushed me up the hill.

Q. (Inaudible.)

JACK NICKLAUS: No, no, no. I did all right. I just -- I feel fine. I just didn't have much today. I just didn't have any go. I mean, I wanted to play. I wanted to play hard. I tried to play hard. I tried to do the best I could. I just, sometimes it's not there. It wasn't very good today.

Q. You guys all wearing black ribbons today. Can you just address your tribute to Sam?

JACK NICKLAUS: It's a tribute to Sam. The Tour asked me last night if I would object to anybody wearing it and I said, "No, by all means." I thought that was a very nice gesture on the Tour's part to suggest that we all honor Sam today. And Sam was one of us. We all go back a long time with him. I think it was very nice.

Q. They also announced next year's honorees --

JACK NICKLAUS: Maybe it was carrying all that extra weight around that did it.

Q. They announced next year's honorees this morning. Just if you could comment on that?

JACK NICKLAUS: Well, I think that the Captain's Club went a little different from the way they normally would go. I think they that did it once before with Joe Dye. And they felt like Bill Campbell's contribution to the game of golf has been tremendous from A to Z, he's been on the Captain's Club from day one. He's been captain of the R & A and the U. S. amateur champion. I don't know how many Walker Cups he's played in. Like nine Walker Cup's or something like that. And -- eight is it? Eight Walker Cups. And Bill, from my standpoint, Bill got me in my first, my first significant amateur tournament. I played, I don't know, I guess we played. It was when I was 15 years old, Bill saw me play and he issued an invitation to me based on Bill Campbell saying, "Hey, there's a good kid down there that's going to be a pretty good player." And he got me in that tournament. At that time and I ended up finishing fifth in the tournament. And I think I was 16 years old now that I think of it and the I always had a great respect for Bill Campbell over the years. He's just been terrific. And then of course Julius Boros, Boros has been very close several times to being the honoree. And I think that now that we're doing the one live and one deceased honoree, I think that he was basically almost a shoe-in this year, I would think. And he was, Julius was -- the first Tour tournament I ever played, I played with Julius. And I played at Firestone in 1958. I was 18 years old. And I played the first two rounds and played very well. Shot 66, 67. And then I shoot 76 in the third round. And I was paired in the fourth round with Boros. And remember I said I was copying Snead's tempo and I copied Hogan's tempo, well I just told Boros, I just copied his all the way around that way. And I just sort of played a loosey goosey sort of floppy swing and I shot 68 that day playing with Julius. And we played an awful lot of golf together. He was a great player.

Q. (Inaudible.)

JACK NICKLAUS: Well, we're going to have to see who that is. Who it's going to be. We don't know. We have got a fresh winner. And Tiger has been a great winner. Tiger played an awfully good round today. I think he was pleased with that. I told him on the tee this morning I was going to make sure to give him a little room to let him get out in front of us so we didn't drive into him.

(Laughter.) And so I told him he better play good because I had him two out of three days today. He said -- I said he was going to have to get back to even. We had some fun. I kidded him a little bit on the first tee and the practice green. We had a little fun this morning. That's good, I'm glad to see him come back and play a good round.

Q. In preparing for this tournament and you said a minute ago that you felt like you needed to play, is there any difference or balance in needing to play here and wanting to play?

JACK NICKLAUS: No, no, I wanted to play, but I needed to play in order to want to play. I mean needing to play practice-wise. Meaning get my game in somewhat of a semblance of a golf game to be able to play. And even today, even though I shot a bad score, I hit an awful lot of good shots today. I took one club more than I normally hit, but I hit a lot of good shots. But they just ended up short.

Q. (Inaudible.)

JACK NICKLAUS: When did he do that?

Q. (Inaudible.)

JACK NICKLAUS: Sam's an -- I think he was one of the best athlete's this country has probably ever seen. Sam could do anything. He was very limber. Very athletic doing anything. I don't know what all -- I was always told Sam was very good at every sport he ever played. Sam was just one of those guys that had a body that just allowed him to do whatever he wanted to do with it. He was pretty good.

Q. Is that something you would like to do?

JACK NICKLAUS: I'm not really interested in making cuts. First of all I want to be here. That's number one. And I'll worry about playing golf after that and I'll worry about making cuts after that. You just take one at a time.

Q. Does it give you great satisfaction to see what this has become, what Dublin has become as a result of this tournament?

JACK NICKLAUS: When we came here to build Muirfield, Dublin didn't have a city water or sewer. We brought all that to the city. And this place here is, this place here is responsible for that, for the growth of Dublin. Dublin has been awfully good to us. It's a two-way street. Dublin's been very supportive here. They worked hard to help us in many, many ways. And they have had their explosion of population and people. They worked with us and we tried to work with them. We're all partners.

Q. (Inaudible.) Can you think of any others that you've done like this one?

JACK NICKLAUS: This is one of the early ones. So we're getting a more mature community out there. There's a lot of communities that aren't like that. You got into an outlying area and you do a golf course and it becomes the focal point for that area and that area grows from that and just expands and blends in with everything else that's around it. That's what we're trying to do. Otherwise everybody could do it.

Q. (Inaudible.)

JACK NICKLAUS: Not here. We did a variety of things with this golf course. Sometimes the golf course supports itself and sometimes a development supports the golf course. Sometimes there's no development. Sometimes there's no golfers. You got it all the way around, right? You know what I mean.

Q. (Inaudible.)

JACK NICKLAUS: I haven't left the property since I been here. Except to go to the museum. I went from my house to here and back and forth and that's it. And that's just sort of my mode when I get here. I don't ever go anywhere. I get here and every activity that we have for the week is right here. So it's not anything new. I had a dinner every night and I had a function most every afternoon. And television. Television again this afternoon. But that's all part of the deal. We want to continue to do what we're trying to do here at the Memorial Tournament to have things be received well by the people and on television and everything else. And first you got to keep doing everything that got you where you are going. The only thing that we haven't been able to control through the years has been the weather. And the weather has been really the biggest bugaboo that we had for the tournament. And ideally we would, a couple of weeks later would be the best for us, but the U.S. Open falls a couple weeks later. And you don't want to go a couple weeks after the U.S. Open because then you fall on the Fourth of July. So you got to have your choice and I sort of, I've always, since we came up with the Memorial Day theme, that's, we sort of stayed around that period of time. And the weather has always been a factor. This week actually hasn't been bad weather-wise. We had a little bit in there one day, but that was only affecting three groups coming in. And that's the only delay we had all week, wasn't it? So that's not bad. But the course didn't stay fast. We lost the speed of the golf course and that's, that always hurts from the standpoint of wanting it to be perfect. You always want it to be perfect. And I think Mike just does a fantastic job taking care of this. Him and his staff. This guy is out here all night, every night.

End of FastScripts....

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