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June 26, 1999

Jack Nicklaus


PHIL STAMBAUGH: Take us through your day and tell us what happened.

JACK NICKLAUS: Well, my hip started bothering me a little bit Thursday at the U.S. Open, and I didn't think much about it. And, so I took four days off, and I got here. And it really wasn't any better, but I felt like a little bit of work on it, muscularly, was what it was. There's nothing wrong -- I had my hip checked out, as far as the hip thing goes. That's fine. So anyway, I thought maybe I could go through the muscular -- each day, could probably get a little bit better. Frankly, today, I'm better today than I have been any other day. I got rid of all the stuff, except for one area, and I got to think that area is pinching something, because I can't put any weight on it. I can stand not walking, because I can get to the tee to the green, and I can get around with the cart-type thing. But, it finally got to where I could not get into my left side hitting golf balls the last three or four holes. About as much as I could handle. But I will let you know I birdied the last hole. I told the guys: I'll finish 9 with you, and that will be the easiest place to transition. I think it's kind of foolish to go on and just aggravate something beyond what I should do it with it.

Q. Did the doctor think this sort of thing might happen?

JACK NICKLAUS: Yeah, the guys in the trailer, and Pete and the Doctor, they all felt the same thing: I've overdone what I've done. And not that I intentionally did, but I just felt so darned good. I felt terrific. I felt terrific the whole time. And I just kept on going. Really, what I should have done -- what I should have done was what I probably -- I should have gone out and hit my 10 or 15 balls, played my 18 holes and gone home. But I'm not built that way. I went out and hit my 40 or 50 balls, played my 18 holes, and then hit another couple hundred balls, and then went home. That's my desire to get better. I think I aggravated it beyond what I should have, and I gave it more than I should have. I frankly think -- frankly, I think the program the guys have started me on in the trailer, and the exercises that Pete's given me last couple days over the telephone, I think this thing is going to go away in a couple days. But, I was just hoping to get through today and keep on going, but I didn't make it.

Q. How close were you to not playing this week, and would you now, in retrospect, have been better off by not playing this week?

JACK NICKLAUS: Obviously, if I'm here after two and a half rounds not playing in the middle of Saturday, I would be a lot better off not playing. But I felt like -- I felt like something muscular, generally speaking, you can work your way through. I'm pretty sure it's pinching the sciatic right now. When you start pinching a nerve that you can't put any weight on it, that's something different. But, I wasn't having that problem earlier this week. I was having the problem all the way up here and all through the side different thing -- all the different muscles and back and so forth. The guys in the trailer said it was just inflamed, and probably a little tendinitis, a little bursitis. Just keep working it, trying to keep the inflammation out of it, and we'll work through it.

Q. You now how hard is it was for Irwin to withdraw last week; first time he's done so. How hard was it for you?

JACK NICKLAUS: The way I felt, I probably shouldn't have started. But for me to withdraw is very difficult. I've only done it twice in my life and, that's the World Series in '81, where they carried me off of the practice tee.

Q. And Augusta?

JACK NICKLAUS: That one there, I went right to my knees, and I couldn't do anything. They carried me off, and I was three shots out of the lead going into the last round. And Augusta, the first round in '83, was it, I think? I think it was '83. I was on the 10th tee, and that was a day we were playing golf with two tees and I was playing with Freddie and Player, and I never got off the tee. That's the only time I've ever withdrawn. You know, it's certainly not my choice, and I've always finished and been able to finish, and even been close to some sometime, but I felt like I was causing -- I could have caused too much damage today. When they start talking about nerves, that was what bothered me.

Q. Seeing what your schedule is next week, will you play it by ear?

JACK NICKLAUS: I'll play it by ear, yeah. I'll go through the motions and see what happens. I'll have tomorrow off, and I'll figure out some way to sort of not do much Monday, and then play with Michael on Tuesday and sort of -- I don't have much. I've just got light stuff, and I can probably do in the cart. Just do clinic-type stuff, and get through. And hopefully, I'll be all right for the U.S. Senior Open. I really think I was almost out of this thing today, muscularly. I really do.

Q. What affect did the cart have yesterday, and today in how much did it help?

JACK NICKLAUS: How much did it help?

Q. Help or hurt?

JACK NICKLAUS: Well, I couldn't have played, you know -- I could have played, but I was really trying to figure out a way to get myself a little bit of rest. I used it probably about half the time yesterday, and I used it most of the time today. Trying to give myself enough rest that it would get me through it, and it just didn't help that much.

Q. Has your position changed on that after using it -- after using it this week on the cart?

JACK NICKLAUS: What do you mean, "position"?

Q. Using a cart in the tournament.

JACK NICKLAUS: I never used a cart in a tournament, but a cart wasn't part of the rules, if that's what you mean. No, my position has not changed. I hate them.

Q. With the U.S. Senior Open, you have to walk. Will you tone back in preparation --

JACK NICKLAUS: If my hip is hurting me on Tuesday, I'm not even going. We'll wait until then to figure that out. I don't think it will be. I think it will be fine. I think I'll be pretty close to all right tomorrow. Continuing what I've been doing the last few days. But I might not be. But, we'll just see. My apologies to the sponsor, and the fans. I would continue if I can. Never like to leave.

Q. How was it at the U.S. Open?

JACK NICKLAUS: It wasn't bad at Pinehurst.

Q. (Inaudible.)

JACK NICKLAUS: Well, five months tomorrow. And I did what I wanted to do, which was play the Memorial Tournament and the U.S. Open. I got through that, which was what my goal was to get there. And I didn't realize that I'd pay a price for that, which I'm paying now.

Q. Don't rush it.

JACK NICKLAUS: Try not to. Thanks.

End of FastScripts....

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