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June 30, 2001

Jack Nicklaus


Q. Jack, you got the round in before the weather delay. What a finish, especially after yesterday when you had three bogeys at 15, 16, and 17?

JACK NICKLAUS: Yesterday I think the putt I made at 18 kept me from making four bogeys in a row, just sort of turned me around because it was a nice putt. It was a difficult putt, an 8-footer swinging left-to-right. But then I really didn't do much through the first 13 holes today. I really wasn't hitting very well and I was sort of sloppy and every time I hit a decent shot it seemed to run through the green. Everybody was having the same problem. Finally I hit a 1-iron into the par-5, 14th hole and ran a putt right and it turned the round around.

Q. Speaking of the 14th, Jack, let's take a look at the eagle at the 14th. Out in 37 and bogey at 10. And lightning here at 14.

JACK NICKLAUS: It was right off the fringe there from back like 16 or 17 feet. I had a little pitch shot here at 17. Oddly enough, I was thinking knock it in. I didn't get the break I wanted on my second shot. I tried to bounce it in and it didn't bounce. I had a 9-iron here. I hit the shot and it sort of hung up for a second. It didn't hang up very long.

Q. You could hear the crowd. This is a very sports crazed town. Do you get the feeling that they're pumping you up, cheering you on in this championship, especially after this round?

JACK NICKLAUS: They've been enthusiastic all week. When I made that eagle, then of course 18, when it came off the fringe, the ground was shaking.

Q. You're 4 under in the last five holes. This is the best position going into the final round since '95 Congressional when you finished second. It's fun to be in contention going into the final round.

JACK NICKLAUS: John, it's funny, after I played last week I played awful. And I took and stuck my hands forward. It allowed me to get a little bit better playing. It allowed me to play left-to-right with ease. That sort of left me for most of today. I think I got it back at the end of the round. But it's really helped me knowing that the ball is not going to be curving left.

MARTY PARKES: Your game looks really solid. Your tempo is good. Swing looks good. Obviously that kind of finish gives you a lot of momentum for tomorrow.

JACK NICKLAUS: I guess. I haven't been in contention for so long --

Q. Let me shake you a little. But, Jack, you have been in contention so many times during your career. Bruce Fleisher kind of alluded to it yesterday, he said, he doesn't really want to take the lead in this thing. But with you in contention coming into Sunday, you've got to feel good that maybe you'll break through for the first time.

JACK NICKLAUS: I don't play that much golf. When I play, I play a half dozen Senior tournaments a year on the SENIOR TOUR, most of them are the majors that I really concentrate on. I just haven't done very good at those. It's nice to be in contention and nice to have a chance to go to the last round. I need to go to the practice tee. I want to hit a few balls and wait --

Q. Well, we'll be looking forward to it as well with the 69 today. I've got a feeling that the Boston fans will be also. Again with the fans checking out your second shot here at 18. Like you, they didn't realize how good it was until it came back. I though maybe it was going to hang up on the back there.

JACK NICKLAUS: I was saying, whoah.

Q. The earth shakes at 18. It usually does when Jack plays.

End of FastScripts....

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