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May 23, 2000
LEE PATTERSON: Thank you. We appreciate you spending some time with us.
JACK NICKLAUS: Sorry I'm a little late. Just felt like I've got to go to the Captain's
Club; that's why I'm dressed like this, and got my exercises out of the way before I got
here. So, I apologize for doing that first.
LEE PATTERSON: That's okay. We understand.
JACK NICKLAUS: What can I do for you all? What would you like to talk about? That's a
lot of very early questions there.
Q. What's it been like the last day or so, talking to the players with being the
honoree, has it been different than the past years?
JACK NICKLAUS: I don't think one of the players mentioned it to me. You laugh? Not one
has. It's strange, the truth.
Q. You had a round with Gary today?
JACK NICKLAUS: Yeah. Played with Gary and Matt Gogel.
Q. How did that go with Gary? I guess if I had to ask you, if you had to pick, which
one of you guys would play better this week, who would you pick, yourself?
JACK NICKLAUS: I wouldn't do that. That's sort of a stupid question, isn't it? I would
hope Gary would play well. And I obviously hope I would play well. But the -- my goal
would be to -- out there today was to try to help Gary. He needed some help. He hasn't
played very well the last month. Worked with him, trying to work with his swing and trying
to get him to where he could feel comfortable with a pattern. Something to work on for the
rest of today, I don't know that he's going to get much chance to work on because of the
rain. Hopefully, work on it tomorrow, and hopefully it will be good by Thursday. Oddly
enough, I feel fairly comfortable with my swing and the way I'm playing and sort of, you
know , encouraged by what's going on.
Q. The one thing I've heard over and over this week in talking with the players is how
much respect they have for you, not only for this tournament, but golf in general, that
they are talking about, "this might be his last Open, as well", etc. How does
that hit you when people are talking about you like that?
JACK NICKLAUS: Nobody's talked to me about it; so I have no idea. I haven't heard any
of the conversation, but -- you know, I really haven't. There hasn't been any conversation
with me about it, except right here. And, you know, I'm sure that I'll play the Memorial
Tournament again. I've said a thousand times that this will be, I'm sure, my last year of
playing the four majors in one year. A couple reasons: One is that I won't be eligible
after this year, probably to play all of them. I don't think the USGA will -- for the
Open, I think the USGA has been very kind to me to allow that to happen for the last three
years and I think they have probably done enough for that. I'm eligible for all the other
three, but the chances of going to play them would probably be remote, plus the fact that
I don't think my golf game was probably good enough to play them. I've worked pretty hard
this spring to try to get my golf game somewhat respectable, and I was respectable for a
couple rounds at Augusta, and, you know, fell on my face you might say the last two
rounds. I'd like to not have that happen at the Open. I'd like to play reasonably
respectable, and the better I can play, the better chance I've got of being respected. But
I've worked at it pretty hard. But I've worked at the darned game for 40 years -- almost
40 years of professional golf, and frankly, I'm tired of that. And I think there's a
certain -- your body can't take it. I mean I get up every morning, I've got a new ding
here and there I get up and I'm like, "Where did this come from"? And I've put
my wife through 40 years of tournament golf. I don't think she needs to have any more of
that. I'll go play a little bit of senior golf. I may play an odd major, if I decide I
want to play. But for the most part, my time of playing a heavy, rigorous really work at
the schedule, which I've tried to do this year, is maybe this year. And beyond that, I
think it would be whatever I want to play or whatever I feel like I'm capable of
competing. Right now, the way I've played, I haven't been able to compete on the SENIOR
TOUR. I need to work on my golf game to see if I can even compete there.
Q. Did Gary talk to you much at all this year about how much he wanted to make this
tournament, and how proud you are of the fact that he made it outright?
JACK NICKLAUS: Well, Gary's goal at the start of the year, he told me, he says,
"Dad, I have one goal, and that's to make the Memorial Tournament, qualify for the
Memorial tournament on my own." I said, "Gary, that's great. That's a good
goal." I said, "You've got to play pretty well," because most of the places
in the Memorial Tournament come from the previous year's playing, plus they fill with the
Top-70 from this year, which is a change from what it was two or three years ago. It used
to be the Top-70 was automatically in a couple years ago, but that is not that way
anymore. I don't know where they went to, but that doesn't make any difference this year.
When Gary played well at Atlanta, I mean, he was virtually assured of a spot into the
tournament here, I would have thought. Yet, you know, it wasn't until -- I guess it's last
week that he really knew for sure that he qualified on his own. He qualified by another
avenue, which is an automatic in this tournament anyway, and that's the low two pure
rookies from the TOUR school. So, he was one of those two, but that's an exemption which
he didn't want. He wanted to earn it the other way, which he did, and I'm very happy for
him. And I think he's worked very hard at it. I think he's struggling right now a little
bit. His swing is not where he wants it. I think he's a little confused about his golf
game, but I think it's -- that -- that can change in 10 minutes. And hopefully, I think
we've got him on the right track today. Hopefully, he'll -- that will settle into here,
that's where it's got to settle into.
Q. As much as you support him and think about his game and take an interest in his
game, is it at all a distraction for you when you're playing in the same tournament the
first two days, like a Pebble or Doral or New Orleans? Do you find yourself thinking about
what Gary might be doing?
JACK NICKLAUS: Life is a distraction. Anything you do is a distraction. I mean, you
guys are a distraction. The ceremony tomorrow where I'm honored now is a distraction. I
mean, everything we do in life takes away from what your focus is on the game of golf. But
life is for more than just playing a silly game. And, you know, I welcome distractions, or
if you want to call them, "Distractions". I've worked at other things all my
life. I've been involved in other things during tournaments. I've always done things like
that. So to have a pleasant distraction, which is having your son play in the golf
tournament and be part of it is something that, you know, I look forward to and I welcome
that. The kind you don't look forward to or what you can't control -- I can't control this
golf game obviously, but things that are outside and all of the sudden interrupts what
you're doing and I think that's all part of life. I'm not too worried about, you know,
what happens to me as it relates to my golf game or everything else. I've played my golf.
That doesn't mean I don't want to play more, but they -- is that basically what you're
Q. I probably asked the wrong thing. Anyway --?
JACK NICKLAUS: Well, try again.
Q. Well, I'll try again. When you play -- I would think you don't really care about
what anybody else is doing on the golf course when you play, you just worry about your own
game; that's all you're interested in?
JACK NICKLAUS: No. I actually follow other things. I really do. I've always -- I mean,
I'm more interested in what I'm doing, not what I'm playing. Matter of fact, when I'm
playing, I don't worry about what Gary's doing. I'll be focused on what I'm doing. Barbara
might be in the gallery and I might over and she -- hopefully she goes this way (2 fingers
down) rather than this way (2 fingers up), but she might go this way and say -- (2 fingers
down) that's it and I'm right on to what I'm doing.
Q. She'll give you signals from the gallery?
JACK NICKLAUS: When she goes like this (2 fingers down), that means keep your hands
down. When she gives me three fingers, that means I'm moving on my putts. (Laughter.) No.
But she'll tell me what Gary's doing if she knows, sure, and I'm interested in that. But
when I'm playing golf, I'm sorry, but I'm a strange duck; I can actually focus on what I'm
Q. That's good. Thank you.
JACK NICKLAUS: That's what you wanted to know, right.
Q. Tomorrow's ceremony could be the highlight of your career, what do you think about
what tomorrow is going to be like for you?
JACK NICKLAUS: Well, I don't know. I think it's a pretty special day for me. I don't
think there's any question of that. I would sort of wish this would have been a few years
later, but that's not what the Captain's Club desired to do. But the -- and I've poured
most of my life for the last 35 years into what's happened in this golf tournament and
what's happened with it and the golf course and everything else. It's been a fairly -- a
fairly emotional thing for me. Having Arnold and Gary here will be very special. And
having my family here, growing up here -- I'd give you the rest of my speech if you want
it. (Laughs). But, you know, it's something that -- I can't think of anything else that
I've been more involved in, more completely, other than my family and my playing golf than
Muirfield Village .
Q. Is there one memorable shot in any of your victories?
JACK NICKLAUS: Here?
Q. Yeah, and what's the most memorable tournament of the past --?
JACK NICKLAUS: What's a tougher one? What was the most memorable shot, when you finish
second? Finish second for the third time?
Q. Of the two you've won, what's the most memorable shot won, and is there a tournament
that stands out more than others?
JACK NICKLAUS: No. Of the 2?
Q. No, of the 24.
JACK NICKLAUS: Well, when I won in '77, I've said for many times that that was probably
the most difficult win that I've ever had in the game of golf. Being involved to the
extent that I was in those days, which was, you know, filling -- filling my caddy's pocket
with cigarette butts, worrying about a paper blowing across or a rope not moving the right
way or whatever. I was right in the middle of everything while I was playing golf. Those
are the early years of the tournament, obviously. And to have played well enough to have
won, with that, was something I thought was pretty -- pretty good accomplishment for me.
And as it relates to hitting a shot in it, I don't remember much of a shot, except a
3-iron I hit at the last hole -- after we had a delay, I hit a 3-iron by a tree
overhanging over the left side of the green, went just barely by the edge of it and to get
on the green and when it safely got on the green that's when I knew I was going to win the
tournament. I don't remember a whole lot about it. I do remember one of the years, I think
it was 1986, that I had made five straight birdies and I think Hal won that year, if I'm
not mistaken. And I made a run at him and he came right at it and made a better run at me.
And of course, in '84, I mean, that's -- I think it's quite obvious the worst shot I hit
out of bounds and hit it in some guy's patio and ended up bogeying and somebody else ended
up winning in the playoff. But I've played some -- you know a couple of good tournaments
here, a couple of them reasonably well, contending but for the most part. I haven't really
-- I haven't been a contender every year here. It would be odd for me to say, but this is
a hard golf course for me. I have a hard time playing the golf course, and maybe it's
because I know it so well. I don't just go out and play it. I sort of, you know -- I'm in
love with it, so it's probably more difficult for me to get tough with it, you know, if
you know what I'm saying. I don't know whether you really understand what I'm saying. I'm
not sure I really know what I'm saying myself. But it's something that -- it's like one of
your children, you don't -- you know, you want to go out and you want to love them and you
want to nurture them, but you sit there and you say, how do you tear a kid apart? It's
hard for you to do that, and I don't know why, but it's always been tough for me.
Q. Did you ever feel a little cheated in '77, when we finished on Monday, there was
hardly anybody here, only a couple holes, I think?
JACK NICKLAUS: Three holes, oh, yeah. No, I didn't feel cheated. No, not at all. I
would have liked to have obviously finished it on Sunday. So would anybody. But a lot of
tournaments here during our 25 years we would have liked to have finished on Sunday, but
unfortunately, we've had a little bit of bad weather. But I think we've had -- the weather
has been the only negative part that I've seen really happen in this golf tournament
through the years. The golf course has always been in good condition. It's never about
better condition than it is right now. The golf course is absolutely magnificent.
Q. Any reaction from the players as far as changes you've made in the past fall?
JACK NICKLAUS: Not a lot. I haven't talked to very many guys, actually. The guys just
started coming in today. A few guys came in yesterday, and I was here this morning and
went out and played, and I got in and saw four or five players and said hello, and ran
over and got dressed and came over here; so I haven't really talked to anybody. But the
goal, the changes -- first of all, is to get decent greens that we can maintain. We had
greens that didn't percolate anymore, so we really had -- to grow grass and grow it
properly -- the reason -- we had to change the substructures of the greens. We did one
green two years ago .The 8th green is an experiment, and it turned out well. And then we
did six more greens last year; they all turned out nicely. And we decided we were going to
do a two-year project to finish it. I said, "No, get this thing over with in one
year, get it over with, get the golf course back in playing condition." We did 11
greens, plus both putting greens and chipping greens. We had calcarious sand that sat up
on us and it was not percolating more than half an inch to an hour, and the sand we've got
now is percolating probably 20 to 25 inches an hour, which means we can get the water
through it, dry the greens up. We can control the moisture level of the greens rather than
be at the mercy of the weather. And while we were tearing them up, I mean, I was going to
possibly get one chance in my lifetime, if there was something I wanted to change, that
was the time to change it. And so I decided that I thought that the par 5s probably needed
a little bit more spice to them and -- in a couple areas, and those are the three holes I
concentrated on, which were 5,7 and 15. And those of you who have seen the changes know
what I'm talking about. I'm talking about that 5 is a more difficult second shot to hit to
the green. I just ran into David Duval in the locker room and I said, "What did you
think?" He said, "I don't think I'm going to hit it in two. I think I'll play it
as a three-shot hole." Well, promise you, he'll hit at the green if he thinks he's
got the right club in his hand to hit at the green, because it is inviting and it will
receive it. But if you miss it, you've got -- you're short anywhere, you're going to go
back to the water; if you hit it long, you've got a difficult pitch or a difficult bunker
shot coming down the hill towards the water. And if you bail it out to the right, you've
got deep rough; pitch it up the hill over to a green, that goes a little bit to the water.
But for most of the bail-outs to the right, will not be severely penalized. But the guys
were staying back with second shots were hitting the ball into the bunkers on the right
side of the green on purpose to have an easy bunker shot. And I just felt like -- I felt
like it needed a little bit more spice for a second shot, and if guys laid up and played
as a three-shot hole, that's fine, but I wanted also the membership to not be murdered by
it. The membership plays it as a three-shot hole and it plays quite nicely. 7, I felt like
we had backed the tee up last year and I just felt like the green needed a little bit more
spice in it. It was just a very mundane green. And it got to the point where guys were
just -- you know, you get anywhere around, it was such an easy chip that it was a gimmee
birdie. So just put some pins -- hide a few pins, tuck them behind some bunkers, and put a
little spice in that hole. And then 15, couldn't really do a lot with the length of it. I
like 15 from the standpoint of having a birdie or eagle coming down the stretch in the
outcome of a golf tournament; or if you stray your second shot, you've got the trees which
are very narrow. You hit those things and you've got yourself a bogey or more real quick
second shot. So I don't think I made it much more difficult for somebody to hit the green
in two. Probably three or four yards longer hitting the green in two is probably not more
difficult. But what will be difficult is if you bail out -- (thunder) that's not
lightning, is it? Somebody rolling a bucket? Got to be. If you bail out left, which used
to be the bail-out before you got a very difficult pitch to try and make four, and the
bunker in front of the green on the left now protects the left pin placement where any
place up there was an easy chip before and -- that is lightning, isn't it? Well, I guess
it's Memorial tournament week, I'm sorry. And of course, the fairway down, pitches down,
and the ball should run down the fairway a bit, making it a tougher pitch. So those
combinations will make it a little more difficult on 15. Plus we made it a much better
amphitheater for the gallery. Plus, we had a couple other opportunities on the golf course
where we made a little more changes. 6 got a little bit of a significant change, more for
membership; created a pin placement for the tournament. But I felt like the tree was
eventually getting so big that five years from now, whether you're playing the tournament
or just on a daily basis it's going to take over -- so I took the tree out and just put in
the fairway so you can have a bounce. What I think will happen, one of the caddies said to
me, "Jack, that little fairway you put in there on 6, is that going to -- is that
Barb or Barb's hook that she put in there?" Meaning the guys are going to see that
piece of the fairway, rather than -- they are going to try to fit it in that piece of
fairway; that bunker all of the sudden is going to come into play or the water is going to
come into play. See, the other ones are minor.
Q. Can you talk about your two mentors and your dad and also Jack?
JACK NICKLAUS: What do you want me to talk about? My dad gave me guidance and tried to
teach me the right way to do things. Introduced me to things, and he was my -- not only my
father, but he was my best friend. You know, whenever we were together, enjoyed doing
things, whether it was golf or otherwise. And my father passed away fairly, early age, 56,
and Jack -- then, the fellow I spent most of my time with, and started at age 10 -- I
think when I was starting here at the first tee at the Memorial Tournament one year, they
told me he passed away, in 1989. And I used to, you know, got to run back to Jack for
everything. As a matter of fact I would go home and he called me and said, "You
coming out to the course today?" I says, "You want me to?" And he says,
"Yeah, I want you to." I said, "Yeah, okay I'll be out." We may never
talk about golf. We'd just go out, hit golf balls and just talk. I'd hit balls for an hour
and I would say, "Well did you see anything?" He said, "No, I wasn't
looking, because you're swinging fine." I mean, that's -- we had a great
relationship. He was a wonderful man.
Q. We had a chance last week to talk to Tom Kite about going back to Pebble, and he's
certainly excited about it, and other than the '61 Amateur, he's played in all the U.S.
Opens and PGA's that you have at the course. And he was saying that in addition to the
conditions in '92, where he won, the final round in '72 and the dryness of the course in
'77 at the PGA were two of the toughest extremes that he had ever seen. Can you tell us
what you recall about those two years and how you played the back nine in both cases?
JACK NICKLAUS: I don't remember. The golf course was fast in '72. I don't remember what
it was in '77. The golf course, they changed it and put a lot of rough in it the last
couple -- the last time we played it, in '92. That's about it. I wish they would let
Pebble play like Pebble, that's all, which is hard and fast, let the ball run and forget
the rough. They did a pretty good job at Pinehurst last year. Give the guys a chance to
play out of the rough. Well, I've got a feeling they'll use the same fairway lines they
had for '92, and really -- it takes Pebble Beach and reduces it to an inland golf course,
which I don't like. I don't really like that at all. Hard and fast and bouncy and weather
condition golf course which is what you want to play at Pebble.
Q. Your four Open victories, is there one that stands out most?
JACK NICKLAUS: (Holding up four fingers) All four. Pretty hard to pick anything that
stands out. I mean, '62, I won at Oakmont, beat Arnold that's going to stand out really
good. I set the Open record in '67 playing Arnold the last round, shot 65. Came back in
'72, won at Pebble Beach, my favorite golf course under conditions that were extremely
difficult. And in '81 was Baltusrol and broke my own Open record. I mean, that's not too
bad. So I like all four of them.
Q. What is it that makes Pebble your favorite place, your favorite golf course? Just
the beauty of it?
JACK NICKLAUS: I think what's happened to me: I won an Amateur there, I won an Open
there, I won three Crosby's there, two Shell matches. It's the beauty of it, the variety.
I think there are probably better golf courses than Pebble Beach. I'm sure we've got
better golf courses than Pebble Beach. But I really haven't -- because of where it sits
and what it's been in my life and so forth, I really didn't care whether there's better
golf courses. I happen to like it.
Q. But you've had success at other courses, a lot of success at other courses, too?
JACK NICKLAUS: Oh, sure. But not many of them are sitting on cliffs at Pebble Beach,
Q. Secondly, with the USGA making No. 2 a par 4 this year, and I understand because of
the trees that are along there, etc., Does that alter the -- I guess, rhythm of the
course? It seems like it kind of gently invites you in and all of the sudden --?
JACK NICKLAUS: Don't get me started on that one. They haven't played that many Opens at
Pebble Beach, but they have played what, four, probably? Three or four? Three. I've won
one; Watson has won one; Kite has won one. Three Opens at Pebble Beach. It's always been a
par 72. Who cares whether or not there's a tree there or not? Don't you want to compare
and keep the records and everything basically the same? They are going to lengthen tees
anyway. But why do you want to make it a par 4? It's a par 5. What difference does it
Q. Does it change the nature?
JACK NICKLAUS: Sure, it will change the nature. You play it as a par 4, you would play
from 50 yards up, play it as a driver and a long iron, and for what reason?
Q. I mean a 4 is a 4 and a 5 is a 5.
JACK NICKLAUS: What's the difference? The guys are all going to play the same tee.
Q. Does that affect your thinking when you're standing on a hole, like 16 at Pinehurst
or something, even though your score ultimately counts thinking the difference?
JACK NICKLAUS: They made that a 4, too, didn't they? I don't understand. I've yet to
figure out the logic of taking a golf course that is being played on a year-round basis,
by it's membership, by everybody who comes and plays it as a par 72. You have the U.S.
Open that's now a par 71, why? I don't understand the logic. Everybody who comes loves to
compare what they did with what somebody else does. All of the sudden, you're playing a
golf course that they don't play. It doesn't -- I know that they want to make sure that
par is difficult, par is hard -- who cares? That's the way I feel about it. I shouldn't
say, "who cares?" I wouldn't complain about it if I didn't care. I think it
should be the other way.
Q. Was it your favorite course after you won your first tournament there, just because
of how beautiful it was?
JACK NICKLAUS: Oh, I don't know. I don't know. I've always liked Pebble. I have no idea
whether -- might have been. Never thought about my favorite course. I didn't play enough
courses when I was 21 years old to pick a favorite one by that time. Maybe if I go out and
played Pine Valley more, that would be my favorite. I haven't played Pine Valley since
1961; so I don't remember a hole.
Q. Have you ever tinkered around with a topo map of Pebble Beach to see what you might
have done with it as a designer?
JACK NICKLAUS: No. Where do you want me to go from there?
Q. Well, I guess you would have changed it, knowing you?
JACK NICKLAUS: No. I don't know what I would have done. I just wondered where you
wanted me to go. No, I have not done that.
Q. You had some input on 5?
JACK NICKLAUS: That isn't what he asked me. I've tinkered around at Augusta; redid
three greens at Augusta, I suppose, three greens. We did the fairway bunkering; did some
tees and things as Augusta. Don't ask me whether I redesigned Augusta or not, which I
didn't obviously. Just being involved in what the process was -- and same with Pebble
Beach. Pebble Beach, we redid the 2nd hole from the gallery and -- the 4th green, we
rebuilt the 4th hole; 5th hole, rebuilt the 7th green; rebunkered the 13th hole,
rebunkered the 18th hole. I mean, we got a lot of work at Pebble Beach. That's not my golf
course. I was just hired to be a consultant to do that, and I enjoyed being part of that.
But I didn't turn it around and say, you know, guys you know you really should have played
from -- we should have played 7th green back up at the top of the hill and then played
down into the valley and played 8 as a par -- no, I didn't do that stuff. The golf course
was somebody else's golf course, and I was asked to try to enhance what was there, and try
to, you know, be involved in that. So I don't want to take credit for being involved in
changing the golf course. I would like to take credit for being part -- having the
privilege of being asked to be part of preparing a golf course for the U.S. Open,
Q. What I was getting at, though, would today's designer build the same golf course?
JACK NICKLAUS: No. Of course they wouldn't. Nobody would build the same golf course.
You can take the same piece of property and give it to the 10 best designers in our
country and you'll have 10 different golf courses. Of course, you will. And likely would
they come up with similar holes someplace, they might come up with four or five holes that
would be similar. Would they have come up with the same 7th hole? They probably would
Q. But the cliff holes would be real estate.
JACK NICKLAUS: Not necessarily. Not necessarily. It depends on what you're trying to
do. We've actually -- we actually do a lot of golf course in Palm Coast, Florida that we
have -- let's see -- one, two, three, four, five -- six holes touch the ocean in Florida,
today. That's pretty good. We've done courses in -- where did I convince -- we convinced
the developer to do that because we felt like it would help this property. I think at
Pebble Beach it probably helped the property to have the amenity on the ocean. We've done
that in Mexico. A lot of times we've had the property on the ocean. You're trying to
create a place for people to come, and if you're going to build a golf course, put all the
property on the ocean and move the golf course behind it, you may as well -- you may as
well go next door here and play the golf course here. Why move it down there and play
another inland golf course? You're trying to create an amenity that brings people to it.
In those days, I'm sure that Samuel B. Morris was trying to design -- Monterey Peninsula
was out in the middle of the sticks and he was trying to find a golf course that would
attract people to the area. That's why he did that, I'm sure. Plus, he probably thought he
with would never sell a house anyway, I don't know.
Q. With it being your favorite course, is it the last tournament you're going to play
there or just the last Open? Are you going to play AT&T in the future?
JACK NICKLAUS: I don't know. I have no idea.
Q. I would think you would want to play the course again.
JACK NICKLAUS: You know, I don't really want to play much of any place that I can't
play well. It's not any fun if you can't play. And Pebble Beach has played a certain way,
and I enjoyed playing. You got anything more on the Memorial Tournament?
Q. You played a practice round with Aaron Batteley who is in this tournament. Can you
give me your impressions of his game?
JACK NICKLAUS: Played with him at Augusta.
Q. Can you give us your impressions of his game and him as a person?
JACK NICKLAUS: He's a nice young man. He's going to be a very nice player. He's young
right now, and he has -- he's very, very well advanced for his age, but, you know, he's
got a few years to go before he's going to be a major factor, but he will be a factor. No
question about that.
Q. You've always kept your emotions pretty well in check. Is tomorrow going to be
difficult to do that?
JACK NICKLAUS: I've never been good with when comes to being sentimental emotions. I'm
absolutely horrible as a matter of fact. Control of my emotions as it relates to something
I have to do, I've been pretty good at that. But when it comes to my family and when it
comes to Muirfield and things like that, that's tough for me. If you don't get much,
you'll know why.
Q. Now that the greens are redone here and the rough is a lot thicker this year, for
whatever reason, would this be one of the most difficult setups of the Memorial since it's
JACK NICKLAUS: The only time it's going to be difficult is when it gets hard and fast.
It's not hard and fast right now. It's raining. The rough is really tough. No, I think --
I think the tournament is -- the golf course is difficult right now, but I don't think
it's -- not too bad. The greens are not fast enough. The greens are -- the greens are
moderate pace right now. They are going to tell you they are very, very fast on the
Stimpmeter. They don't putt very fast. You can put down the slopes that putt fast. But I
doubt if -- I doubt if the greens right now are as fast as -- as most of the tournaments
we're playing on the TOUR. Of course, you know, some of the courses you play on the TOUR,
the greens are like this (indicating upright). You've got to pitch where the ball is
rolling down and get going. Our greens are relatively flat here.
Q. Is this mostly just hack-out rough?
JACK NICKLAUS: Yeah, I don't like our rough at all. I'd like to take it and get rid of
it. But it's what we did in those days. Bluegrass, the heavy bluegrass we used was a very
heavy one. One of the first people we talked to on this project, really was Scotts, and
this almost became Windsor Golf Club. They almost became our partner in doing this
project, and this was going to be a bluegrass golf course. And we didn't -- we obviously
did not do that and the reason we did not do it because I didn't want a bluegrass golf
course. And Scotts are good people and they put out nice products. So what we did we did
use their products we put bentgrass greens -- bent greens were originally scheduled to be
bluegrass. I said, "I'm not going to have bluegrass fairways, not on a first-class
golf course." But I used their other grasses to keep Scotts' involvement. Used it in
the rough, and the grass we used in the rough was Windsor, which was their new grass at
the time and it is so thick. It's too thick to play golf on. You have four-inch rough out
there that is just -- it's just hack it out, hack it out, and I don't like that kind of
rough. I think the rough should be a rough -- I don't care if it's six or eight inches,
but it should be thin enough that you get the club on the ball; or maybe the long grass
will turn the club a little bit or grab the shaft a little bit, but you have a chance
sometimes. I think -- at least what I've said is happened in the game of golf -- it's
happened at the Open, happened at the PGA. They have gone in and made the rough so lush
and so deep, you just hack it out and made golf boring. I think that you need -- it's
hard. I think it's hard enough to get excitement out of golf from a lot of people's
standpoint anyway, but to watch somebody chop is out in the fairway, and, that's not much
excitement in that. One of these days, I'm going to come in here and probably burn the
roughs out and probably put in a thinner fescue in, to get the roughs more open; so that
you might get a bad lie and you might be able to play.
Q. I thought, maybe I'm wrong here, but I thought you had said a couple years ago that
you were thinking of changing the rough to the point of letting the ball -- if you missed
the fairway, let it run through the stuff and get into the trees and bring the recovery
shot back into play?
JACK NICKLAUS: You couldn't do that here. You don't run into any trees. There's no
place to run to. On some golf courses -- I'd like to see our rough be -- be more open.
It's very difficult.
Q. Allow the players to have a decision to make in whether --?
JACK NICKLAUS: Yeah. That's what I think rough should be. Rough should not be a
one-stroke penalty to pitch it out. A rough should be a penalty of making a difficult shot
in an awkward situation and have to invent a shot to play at that time to get -- to get a
recovery, bounce it into the green, land it short, play around the bunker, play to the
wide side of the green. Do something else, other than hack it out on the fairway.
Q. Considering what Tiger did after he won here a year ago, how much do you feel his
victory and the way he won it boosted his confidence by scrambling the way he did on
JACK NICKLAUS: I think you'll have to ask him that question, but I am sure it didn't
hurt him. He played pretty well, and I think it's quite evident that he sort of went
pretty strong after he left here.
Q. He's had a stretch, Jack, for about a year now where I think he's finished out of
the Top-10 twice in 20 or 21 tournaments. Does that astound you at all, even though you've
been around him quite a bit and seen him play?
JACK NICKLAUS: I think he's played awfully well. I don't think anybody has probably
ever played a game as well as he's played it the last year. He's played -- he's been
fantastic. And, you know I had my stretches where I played well and places where I never
-- I suppose I had stretches where I never finished out of the Top-10, either. Scott could
probably help you more with what my records were during that period of time. But in
today's number of good players, you know, to do that, I think it's probably more
astounding than my record was. And he has done it, you know -- he's done it every time
he's played; he's played well. He's been very -- he's a very remarkable young man.
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