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July 9, 1998

Jack Nicklaus


DAVE SENKO Great start, 67. Maybe just recap your round for us.

JACK NICKLAUS: Well, the round -- I came in here yesterday and I went after -- it was incidental -- nobody ever asked me about yesterday -- but yesterday was, I thought, the best round of golf I played all year as far as hitting the golf ball. And, I played in the Pro Am. And, I came out today with, you know, feeling pretty good about what I am doing. And, probably felt a little too good and I hit it -- reasonable chance at 1 and 2 and missed them both. And the third hole, I got -- I thought I misfigured where the pin was. I thought the pin was 35 back. It was only 25 back. I took it at the pin because I thought I could get to it. Anyway, ended up getting on a downslope bunker and the grass -- and I couldn't get it. As a matter of fact, I put it in the bunker from there. Then I didn't get it up-and-down and ended up making -- didn't get it up-and-down; ended up pulling a 6-footer for bogey. So wasn't a very good start. I had good chances. The next hole, missed it, and long birdie putt at the next hole. Then I hit the ball in close at 6 from about -- hit a pitching wedge in about six feet, I guess, made that. Hit two drivers the next hole front fringe, 2-putted that there -- second putt was a good eight-foot putt. Then I 3-putted the next hole from about 40 feet. And, 9, I holed about a 20-footer. I said: Gee, I haven't holed any putts like this this in a long time. But I have been only one under par and I saw the some other guys shooting some pretty good scores. Then I had a good chance at 10. Had about a 12- or 13-footer there. I missed. Then I made about a 12-footer at 11. I made about, I suppose 10-footer at 12. Then knocked it in on 13. I watched -- Brian Barnes and I were in the same place and we both ran by the hole. I watched his second putt break about eight inches left from the same line I had. I said: "The ball can't break left, it's got to break right." Anyway, I played it to break left and it broke right. So, 3-putted that. And, had a good chance at the next hole. Didn't hit it hard enough coming down the hill. Hit it four feet at 15 and missed it. And had about -- I was on the fringe only 15 feet from the hole on 16, I lipped that out. And then 17, I hit a driver and 2-iron on the right edge -- actually on the fringe, about an inch off the green. And I got to watch Barnes again and I learn this time. And I 2-putted from about 60 feet, or more. Then 18, I hit a driver and 5 -- 3-wood, 4-iron, and hit it about, oh, I suppose, about twelve feet behind the hole. And I got to watch Barnes again and I learned this time again and I made that up. So, that is the most putts I have made in a long time in a round. Even though I 3-putted twice, that is more putts than I have made for a while. 3-putted twice and missed another short birdie putt, but still that was pretty good putting for me.

DAVE SENKO Questions.

Q. Got to be a fairly satisfying round?

JACK NICKLAUS: I am very happy with the round. Yep. Walked out and never hurt a step all day, it was great. I hit the ball well. I just did all the things that you should do to shoot a good round of golf. It is fun.

Q. You didn't "Hear" a step, you meant?

JACK NICKLAUS: I said: I didn't hurt a step all day. And that was great. You know, can I take back what I said yesterday. (laughter) (winks).

Q. Your reaction to all the low scores? I do not recall this many low scores.

JACK NICKLAUS: I think what John said is pretty accurate. I think what John said it is playing a shade longer which means the ball doesn't play or run through the golf course. Senior golfers still hit the ball a pretty good distance. You can really -- even though I thought the pin -- I thought this was almost a last-round setup for pin placements. Pretty difficult pin placements on about six or seven holes and the yet you can get the ball to the hole and can keep it there. And the greens just rolled beautifully. They were quick, but they were not so quick that they scared you to death. You could just roll the ball at the hole. Really were good.

Q. I know you said you putted well, but you had kind of a bad break in those three putts you made. Do you think about -- I mean, you could have been 8-under if you hit a couple of those.

JACK NICKLAUS: I always love to have a round where I can complain about missing a few putts and shoot 5-under. What that really means is that I have played really well. I have given myself a lot of opportunities. I didn't have -- didn't have to make everything that I did to shoot what I shot. It meant that I played well. I made some good putts but yet, you know, I didn't make everything that -- you can't make everything. So, I mean, I am used to walking in the Masters, U.S. Open and talk about: Well, I shot 67 today or 68 today and I missed 4, 5 putts that I had good chances on. Obviously, I had to make something to shoot 67 or 68. You just don't shoot 67 if you don't make something. But what it meant is I gave myself a lot of chances by playing some good golf, which is fun. Right? That is what we are all trying to do.

Q. Did the hip not hurt just because you exercised it the last couple of days?

JACK NICKLAUS: I don't know what happens. One day -- tomorrow I may not be able to walk at all. That is the problem. I just never know what is going to happen.

Q. Like when you take your car to the shop, it quits running.

JACK NICKLAUS: Oh, yeah, exactly what it is, yeah. Every time I take this body to the shop, nobody can find out what is wrong with it. That is right. Absolutely right. But that is all right.

Q. Do you have to make any adjustments in your swing or do you just swing it the way you have always done? Talking about because of the injury.

JACK NICKLAUS: I don't have any internal rotation of the femur, if that means anything to you. But, the femur is supposed to rotate in. So when I go on -- when you lose your internal rotations, you have trouble getting through the ball and keeping weight on your left foot. Very simple to show you. When you swing, you are going to rotate this way but your leg is supposed to remain steady. My leg won't. My leg will rotate out with me and I can't keep the position. And I mean, I have an exercise that I do which is like this here. If I take and try and put my thigh -- my internal rotation, that is as far as I can move my legs. This bone is just going: Clap, clap, clap, banging against each other. But that is it. Now, you take a young kid or anybody who has got rotation internal rotation, they can take their legs and flap them right up like this. I don't have it in here -- that is the first thing you lose with your hip when you start to lose the function of your hip. If so, I have two choices. One is put my left foot like this, which will allow me to get my internal -- I don't need internal rotation. That is how I pulled my groin because then I couldn't -- didn't have any on the backswing. It is either here or here and I have got to find out what is in the middle. That is the only adjustment that I had to make in my golf swing. Doesn't -- nothing else, frankly. That is the only thing. I am not so sure that probably hasn't helped me because it actually forced me to play more within myself.

Q. A minute ago you just looked like the way -- you look and sound a little bit like the old Jack. Can you win this tournament?

JACK NICKLAUS: Uh-huh. Yeah, if I shoot a lower score. That's an obvious statement, but you know, I am playing well. I have played -- I have played well at the U.S. Open. I didn't score very well. If I had putted like I did today at the U.S. Open I would have been in contention. I just didn't putt well at the Open.

Q. Three more 67s will do it.

JACK NICKLAUS: That would do it very easily. No, I think that -- one of the things Barbara, you know, always -- we sort of made a decision earlier this year before Doral that I was going to do this at Augusta. And, when I went to Doral, she kept -- she says: You look like a different person; looks like you have got a big weight taken off your back. And, I played pretty well the first couple of rounds at Doral, didn't play that terrible during the whole tournament; didn't finish it up very well. But, again said that to me this morning. She says: Well, how do you feel; do you have a big weight off your back to go and play golf. That -- the what I have had to do trying to maintain a golf game beyond my years to try to compete with the kids is not -- is not easy. I did the best I could with what I had, but pretty soon you run out of what you have. So in some ways it has taken a big weight off of me. I mean, I am -- not that I didn't like the weight. I enjoyed the weight. And I have always enjoyed the pressure and the competition and the responsibility of that. I have always enjoyed that. But I guess it was a certain time in life when maybe I should play a little bit more Senior golf and enjoy myself a little bit more and have fun. As I said yesterday -- I says: It is has consumed me. Not only has my exercise consumed me, but the major championship part of golf has consumed me. I not consumed anymore from that standpoint. I have got a little bit more freedom and hopefully I can play a little bit of Senior golf, enjoy it, and have some fun, and shoot some good scores.

Q. At the same token, was there any sort of sadness you felt when you -- about --


Q. Final acknowledgment that there --

JACK NICKLAUS: Of course, Michael. Absolutely. I didn't want to make that announcement. I had no desire whatsoever to make that announcement but I just -- I had to find out what was the right time for me - right time might have been a couple years ago, but I wasn't ready to do that then. I had to be ready to do that. And I was I am ready to do that now. I mean, if I don't play any more golf, I am fine, I don't really -- that is not that important to me anymore. Once I stop that -- I'd like to play some but that is not that important. I will do whatever I have to do to make the hip right and be able to play, if I can. But, if I can't, I have played a lot of golf and had a great time.

Q. How many senior events a year do you think you will play if the hip is okay?

JACK NICKLAUS: I am sure that I will play more than I am playing now. I am -- I don't think I will ever play a full schedule. But if I play -- I am going to play six plus Senior Skins and I play, oh, a couple other events that are involved in the SENIOR TOUR, so, if I add three or four tournaments to that, maybe I might play 10 or 11.

Q. Maximum 10 pretty much?

JACK NICKLAUS: You are asking me a question I can't answer. But -- I don't know. I will probably -- where I have been playing on the regular Tour, I will probably play on the SENIOR TOUR. I am still going to play an odd major here and there where I think I want to and certainly want to play at Pinehurst the next year - whether I play at Augusta next year, I am not sure. Depends on whether -- Augusta is a pretty demanding golf course from the hills standpoint. Pinehurst is dead flat. Well, it is not dead flat, but it is flatish. But I have got to see what I can do. We will just see. Then when I don't play, I will probably put in a senior tournament here and there. I'd love to win here so that will allow me to add a couple Senior tournaments like Grand Slam and things like that. That is all the guys want to do. All the guys want to win. That is why we are here. Okay? Thank you.

End of FastScripts....

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