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May 24, 2002

Jack Nicklaus


JACK NICKLAUS: I had a really nice start and got myself 2-under par after three holes and really hit a couple of really nice irons into two and three and a little three foot putt at two and a 10 foot putt at three and I said, oh, that's off to a pretty good start. One more -- I'm looking up at the leaderboard, I saw the scores on the leaderboard and I said well I'm starting to move my way up now. And I hit a not a very good 3-iron on four. I and a pull shanked a bunker shot. I said well I'm getting bogey out of it which was actually pretty good. Then I tried to play five smart I hit it over the green and made six and then 3-putted the next one and then all of a sudden going from three under par back to even par and then the rain came a long and I didn't fare very well on nine and 10. I 3-putted nine and I didn't hit a very good bunker shot at 10. But I played pretty well after that. I had a good chance for birdie virtually every hole coming in. And the only one I made was 17, which was about six-footer. And but I had a good chance but I couldn't get the ball in the hole. And the rain just slowed down the green. Must have slowed them down a good two and a half feet. The greens really got slow all of a sudden.

Q. You battled again and you continue to do that. You said you kind of peeked at the leaderboard a little bit and kind of fell off. But you're not wavering too much, you feel you can come back?

JACK NICKLAUS: No, I looked at the leaderboard and it got me excited. I didn't get nervous or anything like that. I just said boy, I got a chance here to start making some -- you know, do some good. And I just messed up. And I -- that's probably, a lot of that is from I suppose the little, very little bit of competition I've had it's just not been enough to keep me sharp enough to be where I need to be. And I messed up there a little bit and the rain came along and I sort of just sort of hit some bad shots when I was trying to play perfect and then the rain stopped and I played well.

Q. You did get on the leaderboard, you know?

JACK NICKLAUS: Oh they put me up on it? Well, see, if I would have known that then I wouldn't have had to worry about it.


Q. Was there a point when you knew you were going to make the cut?

JACK NICKLAUS: I didn't have any idea what the cut was. I assumed this morning I thought a couple over. I thought the cut would be two or three. Is what I thought it would be. But the scores were pretty good today and so you just don't know, these guys can shoot some pretty low scores and conditions were pretty ideal to shoot a low score. You don't know. I felt like coming in, coming down I felt a couple over would make the cut and I guess that's probably what it is right now. And but when I made the putt at 17 I said, that's a little insurance. I played 18 all right and we're going to be playing here at the weekend. I hit a putt at 18 I'm going to have to speak with Mike about that.

(Laughter.) I have never had a ball hit something and bounce off at Muirfield before. I hit the putt so good and it hit something, I don't know what it was. But.

Q. (Inaudible.)

JACK NICKLAUS: I hit a several iron to 17 and a four iron to 18. I got a pretty good wind yesterday. I had a four iron today. The pin was in back. The pin wasn't in the same place. And the 7-iron I hit at 17 was a really good shot because I was right side of the fairway and I had to hit it over the trees blind and I had to carry it down wind it was a little breeze right at that time. I had to carry it over 160 yards and then top it. There was a little breeze right at that time. I had to carry it over 160 yards and then stop it. And I had 171 to the hole. So all the other guys are hitting 9-iron from there, but I hit 5-iron or 6-iron.

Q. (Inaudible.)

JACK NICKLAUS: Today's color is not quite as pink as yesterday but it's all right.

Q. In terms of making the event in your own event?

JACK NICKLAUS: I want to play. Obviously I want to play. I'm sure, I don't think I made a cut last year. I don't remember. I only played two or three tournaments. I played here and I played Doral last year. And the Master's. I guess that's all I played last year. And I think I missed the cut in all three of those. And certainly if you would have asked me if I would have been thinking about making the cut I would have laughed at you. I didn't think I could do it. Once you start playing and playing well, a cut is not your goal. It's nice to make the cut but my goal is to get myself in contention and play some golf. And I did that for awhile and I wanted to kick myself real hard for giving it back away.

Q. Is there any chance you could play with Tiger if the numbers work out properly?

JACK NICKLAUS: They won't work out. Go look at the board. They won't work out.

Q. Would you like that opportunity to have that happen?

JACK NICKLAUS: I said when I played with Tiger at Valhalla I had enough of Tiger.

(Laughter.) He plays a game a lot different than the one I play and he plays one a lot better. And he's -- I mean obviously I would love to play with him but he doesn't need to play with me.

Q. Do you feel like you were getting stronger as the day goes on?

JACK NICKLAUS: I played pretty well. I don't feel, I'm not tired at all. I feel good. Yeah. So I feel good.

Q. (Inaudible.) Can you say a few words about Sam?

JACK NICKLAUS: I just did on television. I mean Sam was, -- I had it pretty well documented. When I first met Sam I was 16 years old and I went up to, after playing the first two rounds of the Ohio Open and I played an exhibition with Sam on Friday afternoon and it was the first time I had met him. I had seen him on television and I saw pictures but I never played with him. And his rhythm, his swing, the power, the ease was something. It just absolutely amazed me and I went and copied his swing the next day and shot 64 and won the tournament I was playing in. And since that time, I mean Sam called me Junior for 25 years. I'm not sure he still wouldn't have called me Junior. But Sam and I always had, we always had a good rapport. I mean I think ever since the time that we played I think he respected me and my game and I always and I always respected his, I always enjoyed playing with him he was always fun for me to play with. And even when I got to be in my 30s and 40s, I still got a chance to play with Sam every once in awhile I would still copy his rhythm, even with my game. And Sam always had a great sense of humor and he also, he also cleared out a few parties at the Masters too with his jokes. But he was fun. Sam was a character and he was a real piece of work and a great player and I always call him the greatest swing in fluid motion I've ever seen in the game of golf.

Q. Do the scoring conditions make it harder for Tiger to make up ground on the number of people he has to pass?

JACK NICKLAUS: Yeah, it would. If the conditions the conditions were hard and fast and windy if he shot two really good rounds he would have a lot better chance. So soft is much more difficult.

Q. (Inaudible.)

JACK NICKLAUS: Kenny has been around for a long long time and I remember watching him when he was an amateur at the Masters. And I was an amateur. Actually, I take that back. He had turned pro by then. But he was in his early years as a pro and I was still an amateur. And I always loved the way he struck the ball and so forth. And then he sort of lost his game for awhile. And during the time he lost his game, he learned, he developed a short game that was just second to none. And then all of a sudden he worked and he got his swing back and that's when he wont the Open in '64 and won several tournaments and played very well. And then Kenny sort of got into another career. He got into being a commentator and television. And he's been an institution on television and he's done a great job. And like everything else, everything comes to an end.

Q. Talk about your practice rounds with Jeff Julian?

JACK NICKLAUS: He's a pretty courageous young man, I think. And he's, he's, he wants to play well, he's trying, he's out here trying to play golf and he's obviously got a handicap that, that is more than just a handicap. It's very difficult for him. And but he's trying. He wants to play. And he is very appreciative of being here. I was delighted to have the opportunity to play with him on Wednesday. And he played very well. But everybody hopes that they will find something that will show that down or cure it. And it's going to happen some day. Let's just hope it happens in his life-time.

Q. (Inaudible.)

JACK NICKLAUS: I was able to use my lower body. I haven't been able to use my lower body at all. And I started being able to use -- that's what made me decide to play Wednesday. I was able to get here (Indicating) I haven't been able to get any more than about here or here (Indicating). And so once I started to be able to use my lower body I said, I don't have any excuse other than I haven't played.

Q. (Inaudible.)

JACK NICKLAUS: I'm reasonable functional.

Q. What's that the result of?

JACK NICKLAUS: I'm not sure. I'm sure that a lot of the exercises that I'm doing I changed some of my exercise program and I'm working more on trunk stabilization and a little bit more on my ab work. And a little bit more on concentrating in the mid section. And it seems to be stabilizing me. And I think that I can't believe how weak I was through that area. And when you do exercises a lot of times you do exercises, and you're out there doing all these things and all of a sudden you're doing them with muscles you shouldn't be doing them with. I had no lats. I couldn't find my lats. You know, I was working out and he said, if you would pull down your lats for me. He said, where is your lats? I said what's that? I couldn't move it. They say use your pecs or they use other muscles for that. And I think I did a lot of weight work a year ago and I think I hurt myself for that because I was using the muscles I shouldn't have been using and I got weak with the other muscles. And I think that's some way of trying to work stabilization back into it. Strengthening the muscles that really function more for golf. That's what I'm trying to do.

End of FastScripts....

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