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May 26, 1998
WES SEELEY: Okay. Shall we start with the state of your game or the state of your course.
JACK NICKLAUS: Well, we can start with both of them, if you want. The golf course, I think, is excellent. I think things we've done that Mike McBride and his staff have done over the winter have been great. I think that the 8th green, which we redid, which I don't know whether you've seen it or not, we basically went out in the middle of November, and we've been on a program here on trying to convert our greens over to G2. And I said: Well, what happens if the program doesn't work? They says: If it really is a percolation problem rather than a grass problem and/or an air circulation problem. So anyway, we decided in the middle of November, he said: You want to do it in the middle of November? I said: That's what time it is. So we did it; we covered it, it grew in, and it's beautiful. It changed the hole from a traffic standpoint. It's kind of a neat new hole. As a matter of fact, the front bunker is deeper than the bunker on 16. So I guess now bunker 16 is the second deepest bunker on Tour. The -- we changed probably, about, I don't know, probably 20 bunkers on the golf course from a drainage standpoint and being able to -- you guys remember last year at the tournament how they were shoveling sand and so forth because the sand was -- we decided to reconstruct the bunkers to make them so that if it rained, the sides would hold themselves and we wouldn't -- we wouldn't have that problem. It's a little different than the design of the original course, but I don't think you would even know it going out and looking at it because it looks exactly the same. It now functions better. We had record rains in April and they did not shovel sand once. The plan has stopped seeding, so there's poa annua on the greens, some of the greens, but you don't really notice it that much because it's not that white seeding stuff. And the greens are putting beautifully. The golf course is in excellent condition. And the other thing we did during the winter was Memorial Park. My wife got involved in Memorial Park, and when my wife gets involved, it generally gets done right, or more expensive, whichever way you want to put it. I prefer to call it right. It keeps me in the family. Anyway, she did a really nice job with it. If you've been down, we've opened it up. We had a lake down there which we created originally. Took the lake out, you can actually see through the clubhouse. Peter Thomson is very much in clear view off of the first tee coming down through the path, the pavilion looks nice and matches up with the rest of the clubhouse. All the other plaques put on stone walls really look really nice. If you haven't seen it, go see it. It's really a nice addition. Myself, I'm playing a little bit better, obviously, than I was last year at this time, although I played fairly decently here. I feel like I played decently at Augusta and I haven't really played much since then. I played last week over in Philadelphia and hit the ball fairly nicely, actually didn't make very many putts, but shot decent golf. And I feel like I'm -- my game is better coming in here than it has been, but who knows what's going to happen. That's about it for me and the course.
Q. What was the reaction to your performance at Augusta generally from the public?
JACK NICKLAUS: You thought I won another Major from the reaction of the people. It was really very nice. I got tons of mail and it was really very nice. I mean, it was -- I kept saying: Hey, I didn't win; I didn't win a golf tournament. They said: You didn't have to win. It was very nice the response I got from people. It was terrific.
Q. The conversion to G2, did you do that all from last year to this year?
JACK NICKLAUS: No, we're not really converting. It's an overseeding. In other words, G2 is a much denser grass than Penncross, which we originally had in there and Penneagle and it should take it over. And the whole idea is that it required -- it asks for a lower cut, and really wants to be cut about a tenth of an inch. The density is about 2500 shoots per decimeter versus 1000. So it's about two and a half times as dense. So the density and the cutting short should crowd poa annua out. That's what it's supposed to do. I question whether it's really going to do that. It only percolates one or two inches an hour, as opposed to 27 inches an hour. That's a big difference. When water sits, it sits just under the surface and poa annua has very shallow roots so the roots are still thin. If the -- if a grain percolates quickly, then the roots have got to go down to get nourishment. And if the poa annua roots can't go down to get the water, then they'll die and then they get crowded out. That's the question: Whether the combination will work with what we've got. We're trying to change the profile to increase the percolation. So if you increase, take the water away from the roots and the other roots go down to get it, that's the theory.
Q. But my question is you started the overseeding this year.
JACK NICKLAUS: Two years ago. Started it, oh, probably fall of '96, I would guess. That would be my guess. So it's been almost two years into the program, sometime in the summer or fall of '96.
Q. Across the board?
JACK NICKLAUS: Yeah, just overseeded and we have overseeded five or six times.
Q. Because of the percolation rate, would you consider a project of rebuilding all your greens to get them like No. 8 now?
JACK NICKLAUS: Uh-huh, sure.
Q. All in one off-season or not?
JACK NICKLAUS: No, it's too expensive and too time consuming.
JACK NICKLAUS: The -- what we would -- the guys are -- we had a board meeting last night and were trying to appropriate funds to do maybe six or seven more greens this summer or this fall. And I said: Wait a minute, guys, time out. I said: Don't jump the gun. Let's find out whether really that makes that much difference. I mean, we've gotten along here with pretty good darn greens. The only place we have is poa annua. Every place in the world has poa annua. They have poa annua growing out of the bottom of my shoes half the time, but it's -- and I'm not so sure that's all that bad. I mean, every USGA Open, of course, we play are solid poa annua greens, so is it all that bad? The only time it's really bad is when it's halfway between bent and poa annua. Let's just sort of take it easy.
Q. How long do you have to give the 8th green to take a look at it --
JACK NICKLAUS: Oh, I'll make a decision this fall, yeah. I mean, the 8th green is beautiful. I love the change in the hole. It really makes a nice hole.
Q. Can you kind of compare and contrast you and Tiger at Tiger's age right now and how you were at 23 and how Tiger is and what do you see in Tiger Woods that you had to kind of characteristics that you have in your game.
JACK NICKLAUS: 23, you want me to remember back that far?
Q. It wasn't that long ago.
JACK NICKLAUS: A lot longer than you think it is. A lot longer than you were around. About ten years before you were around, isn't it close? How old are you?
JACK NICKLAUS: 12 years. Well, Tiger is, you know, the most dominant appearing golfer on the scene today. And I think -- I guess maybe I was at that age, but the difference with what my game was versus his game is he had the same basic characteristics that I had is that I hit the ball, you know, really quite a bit further than most of the other guys when I wanted to and he does exactly the same thing. That's the advantage that both of us had, and both of us had the experience in winning young, winning amateurs, and winning Masters young and winning significant tournaments to learn how to win early. That's the comparison. Now, the time, you know, the times have changed. I mean, before he ever won, he made more money than I've ever made in my lifetime, so it's -- there's a little difference in that. So as I grew, I grew with my -- with what was going on. His biggest problem is probably going to be whether he can keep his desire and interest to do it. I think only time will tell. I mean, the young man is a fantastic golfer, and the -- and I've always felt that, you know, champions will be champions in any era, and money is not a factor, and so we'll see how that happens. It's a -- he's got a much more difficult media run than I had, and certainly he's got more competition than I had, but he's -- but, you know, he's had it since he's five years old. I mean, we talk about the pressure on this guy, this kid has had it ever since he was a young baby. Why? I don't know. You can go back and find film clips of when he was 5, 6, 7 years old, and touted as the next big player. How many kids would think that could happen to him. You never would have dreamed that. It's just an unbelievable story.
Q. With the caliber of players that come here and the beauty of the course, do you feel this is kind of one of the hidden jewels on the PGA Tour?
JACK NICKLAUS: I don't think there's anything hidden about it. I mean, it's here. What would be hidden about it? There's nothing hidden about it. The fellows come here because they like it. I mean, there's a few guys that stay away because of weather and I don't blame them for that, but it's -- I've always had a great feel and always had a great tournament even in spite of weather.
Q. Talk about the weather this week and the forecast for really good skies.
JACK NICKLAUS: Well, I think Murphy's Law will come in here somewhere and again, that's something, you know, we'll get drenched somewhere along the week. It's not forecast for that so we'll probably get it. We always do. But it's -- you know, one of the real reasons I selected this time of year for this tournament, when I grew up in Ohio, the weather in May, we were going through a cycle when I was growing up, just the opposite of what we're going through now was relatively dry, and I always liked the end of May and the first part of June. The ball started bouncing because it was firm, and you always had a little bit of weather from a wind standpoint involved in that. I always thought that was not much different than what Augusta when it was a couple weeks earlier. I mean, Augusta now gets pretty good weather every year. But when it was a week or two earlier, they had that sort of windy dodgey weather, but the course can get really fast with a good day of wind. That's what I remember growing up in.
Q. Can we go back a little bit to sort of the Tiger Woods thing. I'm wondering what kind of differences the players today face than you did. Not specifically Tiger Woods, but that generation of players, the David Duvals, and the Furyks and the rest of them. How do you think it's different from any of them than it was for you?
JACK NICKLAUS: Well, when I played my first year on the Tour I won three tournaments. I'm not sure, I think I won $13,000 when I won the U.S. Open; I won $2,800 when I won Portland; and I won $2,800 when I won Seattle. When a guy wins a golf tournament today, he wins a half a million dollars. I couldn't go home on $2,800. A guy today can win one golf tournament; he doesn't need to bother around with the rest of the year. Guys get their pockets filled earlier. It's harder for them to win. They don't win as many because there's more competition. But I think that the game has changed from that standpoint. I mean, you've -- it's a worldwide game today. You've got -- there's an awful lot of those guys that come out here that that is their business and that is their livelihood and that's the way they go after it. There are going to be those exceptional few. I think Tiger is one of them that play the game for the game and that will, you know, play because of the records they can set. But there's not a lot of them, because there's not a lot of the competition.
Q. It's easier for them to walk away than it was for you?
JACK NICKLAUS: There's no way we could walk away. Once we made a commitment to go, I mean, if I had a great year in 1962 or 1963, my income might have been a couple 100,000 dollars. That's maybe 100,000 dollars from playing and 100,000 from something else. When I netted it out, I probably netted out at 100 or 120,000 dollars. You don't exactly retire for a lifetime on 120,000 dollars. You take Tiger today before he ever teed up a golf ball he got paid 16 million dollars from Nike, what was it?
JACK NICKLAUS: Oh, only 43. He didn't get paid all that.
Q. That was the contract. That was the commitment.
JACK NICKLAUS: I am just going from what I read. I didn't know I was way off. You understand what I'm saying? In other words, guys have financial stability today almost before -- well, he's an exception, but a lot of guys get a lot of financial stability with very little career behind them, and we did not have that.
Q. What do you think that does to that golfing and to their attitude toward golf?
JACK NICKLAUS: That was my whole point of what I was going through. There are certain golfers who will accept that as being part of their making a living and that's what they are doing, making a living and taking advantage of certain wins to be able to go out and let's say the Open is worth a million dollars, today it's probably worth several million dollars to somebody. They're taking advantage of that situation. Then there are others that will play the game for the game itself. There are not that many that can do that because they're not in that position. I mean, I think the Jones or the Hogans or the Palmers or the players or the Sneads or the Nelsons of this world for all guys that played the game for the game were all guys -- I mean, from Hogans era or Sneads or those guys, those guys, there was no way they went out and won a half a dozen tournaments and could financially go retire. I don't care how many cans Sam had buried in the backyard, there just weren't enough to fill them up. Hogan's lifetime earnings were what 240,000 or something, something of that nature. The guys win twice that in winning a tournament today, in just a normal tournament, not a big one. It's a different ball game. And frankly every generation -- every generation always thinks the next generation is making too much. I mean, that's normal. And every generation always thinks that they should be playing the equipment that was played in the last generation. I mean, all of it is ridiculous. You know, I mean, for me to have gone back and played hickory shafts or steel shafts and wood heads, and the guys playing for purses of what we played for, that's the progression of the game. It's life. I don't have any problem with that. I think I'm quite happy with what I played when my time was, and what my -- what I did. But the kids today have an opportunity to -- I mean, if you're good, you have an opportunity to just be fantastic.
Q. So from listening to you, it sounds to me as though today you can truly be a professional golfer and for a career, is that --
JACK NICKLAUS: Oh, yeah. I mean, most of the guys when I played left and -- without the senior -- most of them went to club jobs. Is that what you mean?
Q. Yeah, that and the fact --
JACK NICKLAUS: Most of the guys playing today will never do anything but play golf. They'll do other things, but they don't have to do something else probably.
Q. Some people in the business have been able to generate great wealth and a lot of industries associated with golf. You're saying that today's young player can generate great wealth just by playing golf?
JACK NICKLAUS: By playing, absolutely. It's amazing, I think.
Q. What will that mean to--
JACK NICKLAUS: It's actually what the Tour has been trying to do. All of a sudden here's an athlete. You take athletes in other sports, you take basketball players, there's a helluva lot of basketball players if they manage their money while they've been playing, when they leave that sport, that they really can pretty much do what they want to in life if they've managed their money properly. They don't necessarily have to be the top. In other words, when I started, we probably had, oh, maybe a dozen guys that really made a living playing golf. I mean, how many guys would be making a living today playing golf, probably 150 or 200 on this Tour.
WES SEELEY: Over 150 will earn over 100,000 dollars this year.
JACK NICKLAUS: Well, they'll make a living. In other words, when I was talking about a dozen guys, there were a dozen guys that made more money than they spent when I started probably. And today, there's maybe 150 guys that do that on this Tour, let alone the European, Australian, Japanese, there's a lot of tours around the world. Golfers are making a living today as are baseball players, as are football players, as are basketball players. What Deane started and Tim has done is taken the game of golf to exactly what you said, allowing a guy to be a professional golfer for his life rather than be a professional golfer until his talent is diminished or his game diminishes and then becomes a club pro or a rep or, you know, or does something else in life for a living. They've given them that opportunity to do so.
Q. Is golf safe --
JACK NICKLAUS: Which I think is fine. I think it's wonderful. I mean, that's what they're trying to do and their retirement plan is good. I think what they've done on the Tour is fantastic and I think what Tim has done is fantastic.
Q. Is golf safe from the fluctuations of the world economy, do you think?
JACK NICKLAUS: No, nothing is safe from any fluctuation in the world economy. I don't understand what that has to do --
Q. What I'm saying is they've managed to create a way for men to make a living as professional golfers.
JACK NICKLAUS: Yeah.
Q. That's tied to sponsorships, which is tied to corporate interests, which is tied to corporate profit and you go on and on.
JACK NICKLAUS: You're talking theoretically what can happen, sure, if we go back to what happened into the '20s and '30s, that could all change, sure.
Q. But it would have to be that dramatic?
JACK NICKLAUS: An awful lot would, because I think an awful lot of these guys are probably -- if they're managing what they're doing well, are in pretty good shape already, a lot of them. I mean, you couldn't say that from playing golf. I haven't made a living from playing golf for 20 years. My living has always come elsewhere. The guys that are playing today are making a living playing golf. That's what you're saying?
JACK NICKLAUS: Yeah. Which I think is great for the game.
Q. It seems to me that you've got players now who can finish next year when the purses go up, virtually doubling, that can finish fourth and keep their card for a year. Not to say finishing fourth doesn't tell you you're a good enough player to be out on the Tour, but you look at basketball contracts of 125 million dollars or a guy who hasn't played or a guy who has barely played and at what point is it not good that players can make as much money as they're making?
JACK NICKLAUS: What point is it not good?
Q. Yeah. What point does it, you know, does it --
JACK NICKLAUS: I would think if you ask any of the guys that are playing --
Q. It's great for them.
JACK NICKLAUS: They're not going to argue with it at all.
Q. What's the perception of it though?
JACK NICKLAUS: I'm coming from a different era.
Q. The perception of baseball today is so different -- is different than it was. There is no batters batting 213.
JACK NICKLAUS: The other thing you have to remember in the game of golf is different than any team sport. In any team sport, they are guaranteed a salary and they're part of a team and part of an organization. Our guys still pay their own expenses. If they do not -- you say they finish fourth, it guarantees the next year. If they don't finish fourth, they may be back in qualifying school. They don't have a guaranteed salary for a three-year contract to pay for 3, 4, 5 million dollars a year. They don't have that. They still have to perform. And if they perform well over a period of five or six years, they -- if they manage their money well, will put themselves in a financial position which was unheard of five or seven years ago in the game of golf. That's what you're saying, right?
Q. Yeah, exactly that.
JACK NICKLAUS: Sure, uh-huh.
Q. So what's the incentive for Tiger Woods past 30 years old after he's made all those millions of dollars to keep on going?
JACK NICKLAUS: That was the question that was asked of me to start with. That is the only pitfall I see, his health and that are the only two pitfalls. I frankly think Tiger is a kid that plays the game for the game, and I think that's what his father tried to grow -- you know, raise him to be a champion. And he's proven through his juniors and through his amateurs that that has been his record at this point, that he loves playing the game and has played it well and has managed his time very well as far as he plays. Now, I'm sure what he has made financially was not in the picture when he was -- ten years ago. I don't think his father dreamed of anything like that. I'm sure Tiger didn't dream of anything like that, but that has happened to him. Now, I said that situation there and his health would be the only two things that I would think -- this kid would break every record that he has.
Q. What about the media pressure?
JACK NICKLAUS: He's got that much greater than we had. You have to remember, this kid has -- since he was five years old, he's grown up with that. I mean, if you grew up with that as part of -- I mean, I don't know how you -- where you would compare, I suppose, somebody in the royal family that has grown up in the royal family since they were a kid knowing they were going to be a king some day, you know. I mean, he's grown up since he was a little kid knowing that was what his destiny was going to be, so he's been in the middle of that. I don't know what he says here, but he has a good head on his shoulders, that's quite obvious. I don't know how we got on this. We'll talk about what you want to talk about. We'll talk another minute about it then we'll get back to the tournament.
Q. People like Tiger who are making so much money off of the golf course, you know, there's one theory that says they don't really have to -- there's no use in playing for second or playing for a high finish because all they're playing to do is win, because a check, although it means something, did you ever find when you were younger and starting out that not necessarily that you were playing for second place, but you found yourself in a position where you were more protecting -- you didn't necessarily take a risk because of what it might have presented as opposed to the reward that being successful might have offered?
JACK NICKLAUS: Jimmy, I always played the game if I had an opportunity to win. I always played to have that opportunity, but I never felt like an opportunity -- I didn't want to try to take advantage of what I call a foolish opportunity. If I'm standing at the 15th hole at Augusta and I'm tied for the golf tournament in the last round and I'm standing back into the wind at 160 yards, I say: I know I can get it there. I said: Well, is that the right, smart thing to play? You know, I would say that's not the smart thing. The smart thing is to lay it up, and give yourself a chance, what Chip Beck did a couple years ago. He did not believe he could knock it on the green, but I believe he thought he could make four from below because of the wind conditions. I would have played it that way, too, because I think that you don't -- you don't take an all-or-nothing attitude. I just don't think that's the prudent way to do anything. In other words, if I'm going to take a sand bunker on 260 yards and I might get it there one out of five times, but also I have 16, 17 and 18 to play. And I think I'm a good enough golfer to make opportunities for birdie on -- even with my wedge at 15 or the other three holes, so maybe that's why I finish second a lot. Maybe I use -- it wasn't that I wasn't trying to finish first. It was I was not trying to blow myself out of an opportunity to finish first, and I think there's a big difference. The guy said, well, I went for it. Yeah, you know, it's easy to say you went for it and you finished sixth. Bravo, nice going, you know, but you're going to finish first a lot more times if you play what you think are the right percentages. Is that what you're asking?
Q. Yeah. The situation now is more given to people taking risks because the prize money itself for some people isn't the only motivating factor. They can afford to perhaps --
JACK NICKLAUS: Well, I don't think that's -- I think it's -- it goes back to playing the game. And the game is played, you know, some people can play the game more courageously, you might say, than others, or foolishly. Some people play percentages better than others. Some manage the golf course better than others. I think you -- each of us have a different way of doing something and which we think is best for us, and I don't think that would change today versus 20 years ago. I think that the guys today with the equipment and what the ball will do can be more -- can rely on a more consistent result than we could. The ball does go straighter and the ball does go further. 20 years ago, if I was 260 out there and decided I could go for it -- 260 today I think more guys would feel they could do it today simply because the equipment allows you to think that way. Does that help you?
Q. Can you talk a little bit about what the Memorial has become and what it means to you when it --
JACK NICKLAUS: Well, I think the Memorial has become a pretty darn good tournament. All we've tried to do is produce the best golf tournament we can produce, and I think we produced a pretty darn good one. Our Captains Club, a couple gentlemen back here Mr. Ohnishi and Mr. Carpenter are members of our Captains Club, have been members here for year. They've helped guide us with that. I think the honoring of Peter Thomson this year and the golfers we've honored in the past has been a nice addition to the tournament. I think we've picked a time of year when the northern part of the United States is coming out of late spring to summer, and granted we've had some bad weather, we've had some bad breaks with that, that time of year is exciting time of year for people who do play golf. I'm really very pleased with what's happened with the Memorial Tournament.
Q. Was Peter chosen with you and your competitiveness in the Presidents Cup?
JACK NICKLAUS: The Captains Club selected him, not me. I've never selected the honoree. It's always done by the Captains Club. I don't have anything to do with that. Peter Thomson has been pretty close the last couple of years being voted for that. He got selected this time.
Q. Nice irony, though, huh?
JACK NICKLAUS: It was. I don't think that was planned, was it JR? I think it just happened that way, didn't it? Yes.
Q. David Duval had talked about something you had said that sticks with him, and he said you said that you tried to stay as fresh at the end of the season as you do at the beginning. And I was wondering if you still feel the same way? What kind of things do you do to stay fresher?
JACK NICKLAUS: Manage your schedule. You manage your schedule, manage the number of tournaments you play in, and manage, you know, getting stale, trying not to play week after week after week because you think you need to play, or if you're not playing well to press it. I think that you try to pace yourself and balance your schedule for when the big events come up, try to peak for those events so you're just as sharp for the PGA Championship as you are for the Masters, whatever.
Q. In what ways have you modeled this golf course after Augusta National and The Masters?
JACK NICKLAUS: Didn't.
Q. Not at all?
JACK NICKLAUS: No. It doesn't look anything like it, does it?
Q. What about the tournament as a whole?
JACK NICKLAUS: The Masters -- Cliff Roberts was one of our original captains, and Cliff Roberts, he opened up everything to us that we would want, our people went down and talked to his people. That was the best tournament in the game of golf. Still may be. It's a better organization of running it. We had an awful lot to learn by, you know, by that. They were quite willing to help us with that. Roberts made a statement to me that I thought was really quite nice. He said: Jack, you have an opportunity to do in ten years what has taken us 40 at Augusta to do, which was a very nice statement, and I think that's been publicly said. And, you know, I think The Masters has an awful lot of good things about it. If you don't go after some of the things that are good, what are you going to go after?
Q. The last several years because of the wet weather conditions, the young players really haven't seen Muirfield Village play at what I would call its best: Dry and fast. I'm sure you would like to see it because that was the idea with these dates, as you explained earlier. What kind of problems does this present in the field when it is dry and fast? What do they have to do to manage the course?
JACK NICKLAUS: Well, the golf course doesn't play very long when it does that. It's more placement than power. I think that's why the fairways are relatively wide. The fairways have quite a bit of pitch in them. I've kept them fairly wide because I think it was hard to keep the ball in the fairways when it was fast. First hole it runs right off, 2nd hole it runs right off. A lot of fairways like that on the golf course. It's -- they needed that extra room. And, of course, when the greens were hard or firm, I should say, when the greens were firm, it was difficult to keep the ball on the greens if you're coming out of the rough, so we were fairly generous off the tee from that standpoint. It's -- there's -- the greens don't have a tremendous amount of pitch to them, but from some of the bunker, some of the places, you shouldn't miss it. You've got some very difficult recovery shots. So -- it poses a lot more course management. I mean, we've seen conditions here where Tom shot us four 67s where we had rain before the tournament, we had perfect days during the tournament, but the course never got hard enough or firm enough to make a difference. A lot of that has to do with the percolation of the greens. If the greens percolated faster, they would dry out in a day or two and they would help us get firey conditions.
Q. Given how well you've played in spots early this year and the special invitation to the U.S. Open, will you do anything different this year approaching the Open in terms of preparation or conditions or anything?
JACK NICKLAUS: Not really. I mean, I'm playing here. I won't play again until the Open. That's two weeks in between. I have some work to do next week, then I'll be back to playing golf the week before get my game in shape then go out to California.
Q. At home?
JACK NICKLAUS: Probably. I'm traveling this next week through most of the country, and then I'll be back home for about a week before going out to California.
Q. If there's no more rain, what kind of conditions do you expect Thursday for the first round? Are the fairways soft right now?
JACK NICKLAUS: No, actually the golf course. I played here last Wednesday and there was a pretty good breeze and the golf course got relatively fast. We haven't had much breeze the last five or six days here. We had sort of drizzle yesterday. And if we get a little bit of breeze, this golf course will be relatively fast. It should be. The greens certainly are not soft nor are the fairways.
Q. You said that you try to pace yourself, you try to peak for like a Major, I mean, a lot of players don't talk about peaking. What can you do to peak? Most players say they'll just do the same thing they do like during a Major.
JACK NICKLAUS: I understand. That's why they don't win Majors. If you're going to prepare for a certain week, you prepare your golf game and try to work yourself to that. And that's -- when I was playing through most of my career, that's what I tried to do, to where I tried to build my golf game up, play enough golf to be sharp enough but not overly sharp then I would work myself up -- I really don't like to peak on Thursday of a Major; I like to peak on about Saturday. That's what I always tried to do.
Q. To peak on Saturday?
JACK NICKLAUS: That's what my goal was. Right on top of my game on Saturday and sustained on Sunday, that's what I tried to do. You don't understand that?
Q. Well, I mean, I understand it, but I just --
JACK NICKLAUS: You don't understand how somebody can do that?
JACK NICKLAUS: Well, the kids today don't do that. I mean, they don't -- I would guarantee you that Tiger works himself that way, and that -- but I don't know whether it would be anybody else.
Q. What about Faldo?
JACK NICKLAUS: Faldo would work himself that way. He would work himself that way trying to build himself to that peak and then after that tournament was over, I let -- I tried to make myself go down. As soon as a Major was over, I let myself go down as deep as I could go.
Q. How did you do that?
JACK NICKLAUS: Didn't play generally. Forgot the game, get away from it, then I would start my curve and started to work up again. I tried to peak like this four times a year that's what I tried to do. I wasn't obviously always successful, but that's what I tried to do.
WES SEELEY: Anything else?
Q. You've mentioned equipment quite a lot this afternoon at the U.S. Open, the USGA, they say they're going to make some sort of announcement as far as equipment is concerned.
JACK NICKLAUS: There won't be anybody playing.
Q. Actually, trying to put a bit of a brake on it with this runaway technology. Do you feel technology should be allowed to express itself and go?
JACK NICKLAUS: Well, I've said over and over again that technology, I don't think we can harness technology. I don't think we probably should. Technology has made the game of golf more pleasureful for more people, you know, through the years. Certainly, the kids today are not -- grew up with graphite shafts, metal woods, perimeter weighting; they grew up with all that stuff. That was like asking me to go back and play hickory shafts. You're not going to ask the golf courses to go back to bumpy greens, long fairways. I mean, you're just not going to do that. Inadequate irrigation systems. I mean, you're not going to do that. I mean, the maintenance today is fantastic. You can bring a golf course to peak conditions, all of them you can do that to. You're not going to ask them to do that. They have two factors which -- one factor you can't control, do anything about, you can't control that the size of the athlete and the number of athletes today is greater and bigger and stronger in every sport. I mean, you look at baseball players 20 years ago were all my size. Baseball players today, if you're not Mark McGwire's size, I mean, they're big guys. And every other sport, too. And golfers are getting to be bigger and better athletes, too. So you aren't going to be able to control that. The only place you can control is the golf ball, which is what we've said before. That's the only place we have where we play one standard thing which is the cheapest, most inexpensive. You can't ask golf courses to lengthen, lengthen, lengthen. There's only one place to control, period. And the -- I think if the USGA is going to start someplace, that's the only place they can start. They might limit technology to 46 inches for a driver, or they may limit technology in grooves, or they may limit technology in, you know, give me another area. I don't know.
Q. What about size of the club face?
JACK NICKLAUS: Yeah, they might -- there might be those kinds of things that they might limit, within reason. But they're not going to limit what is already legal. They can't. How they're going to have lawsuit after lawsuit to tell somebody they didn't approve for legality in 1998 is going to be illegal in 1999; they can't do that. They might disapprove of the length or something like that. The only place they can do it and control it is in the golf ball. And to a manufacturer, I can't see that it makes any difference. I mean, I had that the other night. I had Max-Fli people there at the dinner with me. I said: Did that make any difference to you guys? Why would it make any difference? If everybody is doing the same thing, what difference does it make? It's still the quality of the golf ball we make. Whether it goes 5 yards shorter or 10 yards shorter, it's the same for everybody. Frankly, I don't think for the average golfer -- let them hit it. I'm talking about tournament golf basically.
Q. Do you think they may come up with a compromise which applies to tournament golf?
JACK NICKLAUS: Do what?
Q. With a compromise, any changes should only apply to tournament golf?
JACK NICKLAUS: I don't know what they'll do. They probably won't. They'll probably take it across the board, but probably I think the part that concerns me and concerns most of the players is probably tournament golf. The average golfer -- would you like to make it tougher? You want to make it as easy as you can. I'm one of the 3 or 400 that would like to make it tougher. We have a big enough ego to believe if we make it tougher, we have a better chance to win. The average golfer is playing it for pleasure and enjoyment to go out and enjoy himself and shoot a nice round.
Q. Somebody like, say, Nick Price, I mean, he's been quite vociferous about this. It's 405 yards par 4 and the fairway bunker is taken out of play, these big-headed drivers, you don't have to shape the shot as you used to.
JACK NICKLAUS: Well, it's true.
Q. And it's just a flick onto the green with a 60 degree wedge.
JACK NICKLAUS: That's right. I think people are tired of seeing driver and a sand wedge, driver and a sand wedge, driver and a sand wedge. My son, Jackie, and I -- you caddied for me at Hammond Creek when we opened, remember? Jackie described the first hole. It was 465 yard par 4. We have a short par 4 here. I said, Jackie, it's 465. He said, it's only a driver, a 9-iron, or sand wedge. I mean that's the mentality. Par 4 and 465 yard hole. You used to say that's a 2-iron, 3, if I really bust it, 4-iron to the green. If I don't hit it solid, I might hit a fairway wood; that's the way I grew up. You have to put all the clubs back in the bag. If you're going to make championship golf to where it's a test to who is the best golfer at the time.
WES SEELEY: Okay.
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