June 28, 2001
JACK NICKLAUS: Guys, what can I do for you?
Q. Any general comments about the course? You said yesterday you thought it might be 6- or 7-under?
JACK NICKLAUS: I think that will probably be about right. It may not be quite that low. As I said, it could be anything. Depending on what the USGA did and what they allowed us to do. Roger just asked me about it. I think we probably played about a dozen pin placements that I didn't think we would see. Which was fine, because they didn't take the greens and make them lightning fast so we couldn't play them. It's a balance of what you could do. I thought the golf course was set up fine. It was set up fine. Obviously evidenced by the score. There's only one score under par, Bruce's score. It's a golf course that you have to manage today. I don't think you're going to be standing back there throwing the ball at the pin spinning the ball. We played a lot of holes where we played in short of the green and just took our medicine, just sort of tried to get it up and down from just short. You couldn't play past the hole. I messed up the front 9 by bogeying both of the par-3's on the front nine. Then I came to 18 and I played my second shot in short of the hole and I 3-putted from the front edge. That put me 3-over par, put me in a bit of a hole. I made a very nice par from number 1 from about 20 feet that got me back into the ballgame. And then I birdied the par-5 from about 15 feet, I suppose. I didn't make anything else, but I didn't miss anything. I was off the edge of the green a few times. I probably didn't hit a lot of greens today. I was off the edge where I could chip it up and have a 34, 4-, 5-foot putt. And I made all those. I think that's how you play a U.S. Open.
Q. You're all set up again?
JACK NICKLAUS: I'm back to left-to-right I. haven't been able to play left-to-right. I've been wanting to play left-to-right. I think dropping my right foot back that I used for a couple of weeks at the PGA Seniors and Memorial Tournament gave me a good balance of being able to get back behind the ball. But I did my old self, got my club behind me and I started flipping it. And I just can't play from there. Never have been able to play from there for a very long period of time. Just last weekend I couldn't figure out why I kept hitting the ball left. I said, why don't I shove my hands forward and see what happens. All of a sudden I shoved my hands forward and came back with a flat wrist. All of a sudden I've been able to play left-to-right. I hadn't tried that for several years. That's what I'm using. I'm moving the ball the way I want to move it. I didn't hit a whole lot of really great, solid shots today, but when you know where the ball is going to go, you don't really get in too much trouble.
Q. Are you generally pleased with your positioning now?
JACK NICKLAUS: After shooting 38 for the front 9, you bet I'm pleased to come back to shoot 71, sure.
Q. What did you have for a putt on 18?
JACK NICKLAUS: I'm sorry?
Q. What did you have for a putt on 18?
JACK NICKLAUS: Which one?
Q. On the 9th?
JACK NICKLAUS: The one I just finished?
JACK NICKLAUS: I had about a, I don't know, 13-, 14-foot putt I suppose.
Q. It stayed up?
JACK NICKLAUS: Scotty and I looked at it, and we both -- I don't know. I call him my guru here because he was an assistant here for two years. We played a little bit more break than we should have. Just stayed high.
Q. Generally were the course conditions what you thought they'd be like? It seemed a little breezier.
JACK NICKLAUS: It's windier. The winds kept the scores up. You can't really -- we had a couple of shots where the wind knocked the ball down. We had a couple of shots where the wind blew it sideways. It's drying out the greens. The scores this afternoon, they'll have a hard time scoring this afternoon. That doesn't mean somebody won't do well. But they'll have a hard time scoring.
JACK NICKLAUS: 71 is a very good round here today. I don't think there's anything wrong with the round. I felt like I could be in a little bit lower, and I started out a little bit better. To shoot 2-under on the back 9 -- let's put it this way, I'm glad to be here.
Q. Coming off number 6 you made mention of the greens?
JACK NICKLAUS: We had little pinecones, about miniature pinecones kept blowing off, they would blow, every time the wind would blow, they would blow right back. I cleared it. I thought I had it in pretty good shape. Raymond made his putt. Just in between his putt and my putt the wind blew hard and I saw about 100 of them fall from the tree. The heck with it. Someone will bounce it back in. I just putted it over and the ball went in the hole.
Q. What hole was that on?
JACK NICKLAUS: That was par-5, 6th hole.
JACK NICKLAUS: I had 113 yards left out, however long the hole is. What's the hole? Anybody know what the 9th hole is? Length distance? 410. So I hit it 290 something. That's pretty good for me, for an old guy.
Q. You've been hitting that pretty regularly?
JACK NICKLAUS: Only when I hit it that far.
Q. Is that something recent?
JACK NICKLAUS: I don't know. I think if you go look at the driving stats today, I think they only measured two holes, don't they? They're measuring two holes, and I was probably 250 and 240 or something like that. I wasn't very far. But those are where they're uniformed. 9th hole is playing down wind, you're hitting down the hill, so you're going to get a little more. This is not a golf course where you're going to see a lot of long drives. The guys are going to try to keep it in play.
Q. I know weather changes, things change. Do you have to think around par, maybe par wins this?
JACK NICKLAUS: You don't think about that. You just go play the best you can. I'm not particularly worried about what I thought would win the golf tournament right now. All I'd want to do is make sure I stayed in touch. Try to play the best I can. If I can get myself close to the lead, into the lead, that's what I want to do, I'll have a chance to win. Whether that's even par, 10-over par or 10-under par, I really don't care.
Q. A number of guys were saying before they think there won't be a lot of birdies?
JACK NICKLAUS: Birdies are hard to come by today. I don't think there will be a lot of birdies today. Okay? Thank you.
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