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July 12, 2000

Jack Nicklaus


PHIL STAMBAUGH: All right. Jack Nicklaus here for the 2000 FORD SENIOR PLAYERS CHAMPIONSHIP.

JACK NICKLAUS: 2000th time.

PHIL STAMBAUGH: Just a few comments about the golf course, your game?

JACK NICKLAUS: The golf course is good. I think the golf course is fine. No complaints for that, that's for sure. My game was decent today. I don't have any complaints with that. I even made a couple putts, which was really kind of fun.

Q. How about the problem area that was bothering you at the Open, is that all alleviated?

JACK NICKLAUS: No. That will take six weeks to heal. Just play around it.

Q. Pretty hard to play around.

JACK NICKLAUS: It's what you do. You either play around, or you don't play. You have one choice. It's going to take at least six weeks, intercostal muscles, what I pulled, it's going to take six weeks for that to heal. If I have my choice, either go play golf or not play golf and wait until the season is over, and then I can go play golf, or accommodate what I've got, trying to figure if I can use a golf swing that doesn't bother it. Actually, all I did was basically instead of being able to stretch up here and stretch through here, I just sort of held it in here a little tighter here and a little tighter here. Probably used about -- played about a half a club longer every shot and just go play. If I get in the rough, I chip it out. Just try not to hit in the rough, because I don't want to have to do that too many times. But you know, do what you do. Guys play hurt all the time. I've played hurt all my life. We're just not playing a contact sport; we think it's contact enough. I promise you, I feel at my age I feel like I've been through several Super Bowls. I just haven't.

Q. Jack, Pro-Am is all fun and games, but are you specifically working on stuff out there and what might you be working on?

JACK NICKLAUS: I use the Pro-Am as a matter of fact, any time I play golf, I use it as a practice round or specific practice round for the tournament. And the round today was -- you know, I had -- I didn't play yesterday up here. I played Muirfield yesterday, stayed in Columbus, went to see my mother. Spent a day with her, some time with her. And so I played there. So today was getting used to what the golf course was again, seeing if any conditions have changed, and also, you know, trying to make sure the golf swing that I'm using develops and, works. And I've been on the putting green this morning, I had three putters that I was fiddling around with, and I almost took three putters on the golf course and disqualified myself, from an individual standpoint, to see if I could find one before tomorrow. And I changed my mind and I found one of the three on the putting green that I felt that I can use better than the other. I said, "It wasn't the putter." And so by the time I went to the golf course, actually, I putted very well all day. So I was very, very pleased. And so, it's -- and I like what I did with my golf swing. It wasn't anything special. Just worked on what I worked on yesterday, and you know, tried to have some fun playing with my partners, kid them a little bit, see if they can have some fun, work on my golf game and then we go play golf tomorrow.

Q. Are you looking forward to next week?

JACK NICKLAUS: Yeah, I suppose so. I've always enjoyed playing St. Andrews. I'll let you know a little bit more as this week goes on. I'll really worry about next week, next week.

Q. The nature of that injury, have they said anything about it makes it worse if you play?

JACK NICKLAUS: Of course you can make it worse if you play. Absolutely. There's no question about making it worse. I think that what I've tried to do is I've gone to the physical trailer before I play and when I'm done here, I'll go over there again. You work on that to try and make sure that while you're warmed up and your swelling is out of it, that it will continue to heal. If I went ahead and ripped at a golf ball with a full golf swing, I think I would injure it more. It would take longer to heal. I think I've actually done a pretty good job with the therapy I've done the last week, and rest. I didn't touch a golf club from the time I left the Senior Open -- well, I had to hit some Sunday to find out if I was going to leave town on Monday; hit balls on Sunday, and I hit about 50 balls on Monday and that was all day, and then yesterday I played golf. I said, "Well, I think I can come play."

Q. You haven't hit a ball since the Senior Open?

JACK NICKLAUS: I had six days.

Q. Could you talk about how this golf course has matured? This is now the 10th year for this tournament.

JACK NICKLAUS: Well, it plays a lot -- it scores a lot easier than I think it is. Maybe that's why I don't score very well. I think it's a tough golf course. They seem to shoot some awfully low scores on this golf course, and I don't think it's that easy. The golf course really hasn't changed much since the beginning. I think the place has played pretty much the same every year. Seems to play relatively fast, and it's got good length, but doesn't play particularly long. I think that's just because the fairways get fast and the ball runs. I think the golf course has done fine. The tournament is fine. They grabbed me this morning, some of the guys that are involved with it. And they said, "Well, take a look and see some things how we might make the golf course a little bit more difficult, narrow some fairways and do some things like that. I said, "Well, you can always do that, but is that what you want to do for your membership, the people that play it 51 weeks?" You really don't play it 51 weeks, but in Michigan, you play 12, 13 weeks and then we play the tournament? I'm kidding. You can do whatever you want but then the membership members are going to have to -- if you narrow the fairways, you will have to change the fairways from bentgrass to bluegrass; so you'll have a different fairway look. Do that if you want. I said, "I don't have a problem with that, but your golf course is obviously going to change when you do that." So we went over the fairways we can narrow and talked to them about it. I think that probably ten years ago when -- 11 -- about 11 years ago I guess we did the golf course, that the equipment wasn't quite as -- it was starting to get sophisticated, but it isn't as sophisticated as it's been lately, the last five, six, seven years, guys hit the ball straighter, and straighter and straighter now. If you swing halfway decent, they don't hardly miss a shot. It's kind of a shame, really. Just makes the game too easy.

Q. Take them back over to Dearborn, show them some real scores.

JACK NICKLAUS: That's right. Show them some real scores. They are going to start shooting Dearborn scores here.

Q. Watson said the same thing you did. He had just seen it for the first time.

JACK NICKLAUS: It's not that easy.

Q. That's what he said.

JACK NICKLAUS: I never felt it's that easy. Unless they just -- maybe they cut across someplace. I haven't found where they cut across. (Laughs).

Q. What did you think of the U.S. Senior Open course, speaking of low scores? I was really surprised how low the scores got there.

JACK NICKLAUS: It wasn't a very hard golf course, Jerry. The greens were very difficult. If you putted well there, you would score well. That's really what happened. We didn't have any weather. It was absolutely dead, still all week. And the golf course was relatively soft, and the rough was moderate. So if you played well, tee-to-green, which should not have been too difficult with the conditions, then you had to make some putts. If you make some putts, you're going to shoot a low score. And that's really what the golf course was.

Q. Did you think it was easier than it was in 1992?

JACK NICKLAUS: We had some wind in '92, if I recall. Yeah, it must have been easier.

Q. 9-under won; you had 9-under in two rounds this year.

JACK NICKLAUS: I look at myself, I had -- I shot a decent round the first round, but I had 27 putts, which is a nice putting round for somebody shooting in his 60's and I managed to shoot eight shots higher with eight more putts the next round. That's basically what I did all week. You've got to putt if you're going to score, and those greens were -- that was one thing they did have; those greens were very difficult to putt. But you know, these guys put pretty well. Good putters.

Q. What kind of weather are they going to need next week to build up the defenses of that course?

JACK NICKLAUS: I don't think it makes a whole lot of difference, one way or the other. I mean, whether it's -- I don't care what is. St. Andrews is St. Andrews, and if the wind is blowing, scores will be moderate. If the wind doesn't blow, scores will be low. If the wind blows hard, the scores will be high. That's just what happens at St. Andrews. The same thing every time. I don't know whether they did anything to the golf course. I certainly hope not.

Q. They lengthened it.


Q. About 200 yards. Will that change your mind?

JACK NICKLAUS: Why? I mean, you know, good Lord ...

Q. What John Daly did in 95, I guess, maybe?

JACK NICKLAUS: Oh, I don't know. Good gracious, you know, when Julius Ceasar came through they played on the same golf course. (Laughter.) Why would they want to change it? Did he ever go through there?

Q. He did now.

JACK NICKLAUS: He did now.

Q. You just made it official.

JACK NICKLAUS: I mean, it's been the same golf course. Every time we've played an Open on it for however many years. Why the hell do you want to change it? Does that give you any idea what equipment does? I mean, even the USGA has admitted that the golf ball goes 20 yards further than it did ten years ago; right? So if it goes 20 yards further at 18 holes, that's 360 yards; so if they lengthened it 200 yards, we're still ahead.

Q. You'll have to see where the 200 yards is to have any idea of what it does to the golf course. You obviously didn't know about it; so you couldn't possibly tell us what 200 yards would do?

JACK NICKLAUS: On that golf course, depends where they put it. If they put it on the 1st hole, members won't like it at all. They won't be able to sit in the lounge and watch. (Laughter.) Right? If they put it on 18, they won't be able to finish on the 17th hole. Either that, or we're playing off the road. I don't know where they are going to add it. They probably are only going to add it to the holes that don't need it. You need it at 1 and 18 and you can't do it. So and I don't know where in the world you with would add it on 2, unless you want to dust them off the first green while they were putting. The par-5 14? They really needed it there, you're out of bounds on the right in the Elysian Fields, but you have the Beardies -- you have the out of bounds on the right, with the Elysian Fields and the Beardies, and you've only got 20 yards to hit it, anyways. And now you're going to move it back where they can't even reach it? That would be one where they didn't need it. I guess they could probably lengthen 11 a little bit, the par 3. They could probably lengthen 10 a little bit if they wanted to. They could probably lengthen 8 a little bit if they want to. I think the longer holes were the ones they lengthened because the short holes are locked in. That's what happens.

Q. Does it affect the play of guys like Daly and Tigers, the guys they are aiming at?

JACK NICKLAUS: It won't affect guys like me. The wind affected me 20 years ago, but it won't affect me now. But Tiger, it won't affect him any more than -- he'll play 4-iron rather than 5-iron, off a tee.

End of FastScripts....

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