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June 11, 1997
JACK NICKLAUS: We were on the same team. We didn't lose any
money either. We didn't win any. We broke even.
LES UNGER: Would you mind assessing the state of your father's
GARY NICKLAUS: Fair enough. I would say that right now, I'd
say his game was probably about the best I've seen it in the last
year or so. He's hitting the ball very solid, hitting the ball
left-to-right which he hasn't done in a long time, doing it with
ease, which has been probably his biggest nemesis over the last
couple years, trying to hit left-to-right shots and ending up
with double-cross hooks, and his putting has come around, I'd
say, in the last couple weeks with a little help from Phil Rodgers
because I think that's been a big problem over the last eight
years or so, especially when he and I were partners. That's it.
He's playing well right now.
LES UNGER: Father, can we ask you to give us a little rundown
on your son's game.
JACK NICKLAUS: Gary's game at the moment is, I think, quite
good. He's hitting the ball nicely. He's been much improved each
year. I think he did a little bit better with his -- better with
his putting. That's what is his nemesis. He didn't seem to make
enough putts. I think he greased that and I think he finally,
instead of using method on his putting, he started putting with
feel, and he's putting real well for the last, what, two months.
GARY NICKLAUS: Yeah, about a month and a half or so.
JACK NICKLAUS: He's putted real well and that's a big change
in his game. Gary always drives the ball straight. He drives
the ball adequately long. Define adequately long, is longer than
his old man, but not as long as the longest players on the Tour.
But, long enough to be with the longer players on the Tour.
When Gary's game is in groove, he can play with anybody out here.
LES UNGER: Gary, this is your first shot at the Congressional.
GARY NICKLAUS: I played up here Thursday and Friday.
LES UNGER: I mean, in an event.
GARY NICKLAUS: Yes, definitely.
LES UNGER: Jack, you've played two or three, I assume.
JACK NICKLAUS: Played -- I don't know, I played Open -- how
many PGAs did we play here? Couple? One? One PGA and I played
a couple Kempers probably and Senior Open, I've probably played
-- my guess is five times.
LES UNGER: So what you've seen out there this week, what's
your assessment of the golf course?
JACK NICKLAUS: We played for -- the Senior Open was a different
golf course than we played previously. I think a much better
golf course. The golf course right now is in much better condition
than it was the Senior Open. In fact, it's an excellent course.
I think they've set it up beautifully. We were sort of laughing
on the practice tee. It's kind of like my German mentality says:
You will hit it here and you will hit it here. He says, you
have no other place to hit it. That's exactly what you have to
do. And, you just can't straighten -- you don't have much options.
You've never had many options on this golf course. It's drive
the ball straight, put the ball on the green where you can putt
from. And, if you don't, you're going to have trouble. That's
just about the way the golf course played. I don't think you've
heard it any different from anybody else. The whole secret to
playing this golf course are going to be fairways and greens,
and avoid 3-putting.
LES UNGER: My last question to you deals with the par 3 at
the end. Most everybody has come in and had an opinion about
whether they like it or whether it's good for the event or whatever.
Do both of you have the same opinion or different opinions on
par 3 at the end?
GARY NICKLAUS: Well, I kind of agree with what he says as far
as coming into the last hole, if you've got a chance to win, would
you rather hit the ball off of a tee or hit the ball off of a
lie where you don't know where it's going to be or what the ball
is going to do. It's a very straightforward hole. You put it
on the green or you're in trouble. So, it's a good -- it's a
good hole. You've got to hit a good shot, and --
JACK NICKLAUS: That's basically what I think. Everybody is
making a big deal out of the par 3 being the last hole. If you're
playing the last shot into the green, if you get your hands on
the ball and put it on the tee, would you like to do it out in
the fairway? Of course you would like to do that if you get an
opportunity to. I think from a nervous standpoint, sure, it's
a water hole. If it hadn't -- I think there wouldn't be any to
do about it at all as a finishing hole if it wasn't a water hole.
Because the chance of changing of, you know, having the nervousness
and playing a bad shot and getting a double bogey or something
like that, two or three strokes could change hands pretty quickly
on that hole just the same way.
LES UNGER: Questions, please. Right down here, please.
Q. Just could you bring us up-to-date on your alternative
therapy treatments when your last one was, and just give us a
more detail of what's been going on with it and how you feel physically?
JACK NICKLAUS: I feel fine. I'm not going to go through all
that. I mean, I've been doing some stuff that is not a big deal.
When you've got a hip that's degenerating, you're going to figure
out if you can turn that around, and the guy treating me bet me
$5,000 to a hole in a donut that it was regenerating, so I'm
going. I'm very positive about what he's doing, so we'll just
leave it at that. It's not a big deal. I've had trouble with
it for the last several years, and only in the last year or so
has it gotten bad enough to where it's affected my golf game.
And, I'm really encouraged by what it's doing. I'm able to swing
fairly freely right now. That should not be a factor in my game
Q. Jack, I don't know whether this was asked or not, but
you played the Senior Open two years ago here. What sort of experience
do you bring in from that tournament?
JACK NICKLAUS: I brought in a lot shorter clubs to the greens,
that's for sure. The golf course that we played then, I don't
know what it was, 6,800 yards, something like that, is about what
we played. Actually, wasn't that much different because we played
it -- we played it as a par 72. We played the 6th hole and the
10th hole as par 5, so we played a little further back - not a
lot further back at 6. We just played the back side of that tee,
and at 10, we played a tee further back, so we played -- those
two holes would be different the way they're going to play. But,
the golf course -- the greens were not good when we played the
Senior Open here. They were very thatchy and they had a lot of
trouble with them, getting the greens in wonderful shape. The
rough was -- very difficult fairways. I'm sure the same fairways
we played there. The only difference is the rough spot is three
inches deeper, but I think the golf course is excellent right
now. I don't think you could ask for better shape, better prepared
for a major championship.
Q. Jack, what's your most vivid memory of 1964 when the
Open was here? Was it the heat?
JACK NICKLAUS: I don't really remember much about it. I was
trying to figure out a way to get off the golf course and get
home. I was way back in the tournament. I don't know where I
finished, 20-something or something, and I just remember it was
hot and let's get out of here and get home. And, I think I watched
Venturi win it on television. I'm not even sure I was here when
it was over.
Q. Would you comment please on what it means to be playing
in the same U.S. Open, just a personal feeling?
GARY NICKLAUS: For me, it's a great thrill because, first of
all, it's my first U.S. Open. Second, there is a chance for me
to play in a tournament that he has been so much a part of for
so many years before he decides not to play in these any more.
And, you know, who knows when that might be. But, it's definitely
coming to a close within the next few years. And, I'm glad I'm
playing here with him this week.
LES UNGER: Is it all right for him to say that?
JACK NICKLAUS: He's right. No, I feel pretty much -- you know,
I was hoping that one of the boys or all the boys -- I would have
loved Jackie play. He tried to qualify also. I guess Michael
tried too. They were all trying to qualify, but they've all been
trying to qualify for a few years. Jackie hasn't been playing
much golf. But, Gary has had the opportunity -- come close to
having the opportunity to qualify two or three times. And, of
course, first time he's gotten in, and I've always wanted to be
able to play in the same Open with my son and go through that
kind of thing. And, I thank the USGA for me to have the opportunity
to have a spot this year. If the USGA wouldn't have given me
a spot this year, we wouldn't be, and I would be probably up here
caddying. Who knows what I would be doing. But, the -- we've
had -- we came up last week. We played Thursday and Friday.
I felt like Gary, it would be good for him to play the golf course
a couple times and find out Congressional wasn't a big bear that
was going to beat him over the head. He found out it's just another
golf course that sets up difficult and we got that out of the
way. Then we played some practice rounds in front of people the
last few days. I think he's ready to play the golf tournament.
I'm ready to play the golf tournament too I'm playing decently,
so we'll see what happens.
Q. Jack, would you tell us what it was about the game -
when your dad first gave you a club, your first set of clubs -
what attracted you to the game and also what was it about the
game that you liked?
JACK NICKLAUS: Well, I think probably it's difficult for me
than it probably was for Gary. When I first started playing golf,
I was just, you know, I was caddying for my dad while he was recovering
from ankle operations and I really took up golf as sort of --
because of a freak accident. And I think Gary took up the game
of golf because his father played golf. And, you know, he was
involved in the game. His brothers played and everybody else
in the family was playing. Not so when I took it up. And, golf,
to me, when I started, was probably just another sport. You
know, I was playing baseball in the summer time and football and
basketball and ran track and did everything else - as these guys
have done, which I've encouraged them to do. I mean, Gary was
a good football player. Gary was a good basketball player, played
golf. He does all the other things too. We all fish, hunt, dive,
ski, do all the things we've done as a family. And, I've tried
not to make the game of golf the center focus of your life. I
think that if you become reasonably proficient at it, obviously,
in our family, it's going to be hard to avoid having it be a little
bit of a center piece. But, I tried not to do that and --
Q. What was it, specifically?
JACK NICKLAUS: I'm sorry, I didn't answer your question. But,
the game of golf, what really I like about golf, why I probably
ended up gravitating to it is because it was a sport that I could
do by myself, as good as I wanted to do, with my effort; didn't
have somebody throw the ball back to me or guard me or have --
guard somebody else or have to go -- need somebody else to play
the game with. I love team sports. But, it was an individual
sport. It was just me against me and the golf course and I like
Q. What was it, Jack, when you realized he was starting
to get close to qualifying for the U.S. Open?
JACK NICKLAUS: I'm sorry?
Q. How nerve-racking was it when you realized he said he's
had a couple of close calls, when he qualified for this year's
U.S. Open, how nerve-racking was it down the stretch?
JACK NICKLAUS: Well, I wasn't there. I was at Muirfield. I
was actually -- we were -- I caddied for Gary in the first qualifier.
And, my first experience -- I'll digress a little bit. The first
time I caddied for Gary in a Open qualifier, I didn't turn out
to be too good. We had played golf and played a practice round
the day before. We got out on the third hole the next day. It
was a par 3. And, Gary had parred the first two holes and was
a 4-iron, par 3, and I looked in the bag and I said: "Would
you like to play your 4-iron or my 4-iron?" So, obviously,
4-shot penalty thanks to his caddie. Since then, I've been a
little bit more careful. And I felt very confident Gary would
qualify this time, frankly. I don't know why. When I caddied
for him, the Bear Lakes he got in on a playoff and he played
so much better than that. I knew he was playing well and he was
putting better. And we were at Muirfield and I just felt like
two years ago we were at Bay Hill, I guess, I caddied for you
two years ago; is that right?
GARY NICKLAUS: '94, I believe.
JACK NICKLAUS: That long ago, really?
GARY NICKLAUS: Yeah.
JACK NICKLAUS: It's been that bad, huh?
GARY NICKLAUS: Yeah.
JACK NICKLAUS: Okay. Anyway, I caddied for him there and they
were playing the 18th hole at Bay Hill and he got beat in the
darkness of a playoff where Mike Weeks hit a shot six inches from
the hole and he couldn't find it. We didn't know where it was,
8 feet from the hole, missed it. But, I felt fairly confident.
We were -- Barb and I were finished up, last round at Muirfield,
and he shot 71 first round and they had a two-hour rain delay.
We were flying home. We were flying sort of close to Orlando.
And I said, "Do you want to go by or do you not want to
go by?" We both sort of debated about it. Instead of landing,
we went on home. We said he's probably doing all right on his
own. And then we got a call about -- we walked in the house,
15 minutes we got a call, and they said: "Gary shot 4-under,
looks like he's going to make it easily." And, then he called
about an hour later, he said, "Well, I had to wait, I'm in
the last two spots." So Barb and I have always wanted to,
you know, see the boys qualify. Obviously, we've always followed
the kids and followed with every sport they played. But, when
you get one to play in the U.S. Open, that you're playing in,
that's a little extra special and knowing that this is going to
probably be my last regular U.S. Open, you know, that I'll probably
play in sequence, and -- it's a little special, very special.
Q. Jack, how nervous will you be for Gary tomorrow, and
will the way it's spaced out, will you be able to get out and
see him and if so, will you?
JACK NICKLAUS: I have enough trouble walking this course once.
I doubt very seriously whether I'm going to walk it twice. I'd
love to walk it twice, but I'll probably see a little bit of his
golf round tomorrow; not a lot of it. I play at 7:40. He plays
at noon tomorrow 11:50.
GARY NICKLAUS: 11:50.
JACK NICKLAUS: So, I'll be finishing just about the time he's
starting. I might go out and see some of it, but if I'm playing
decently, I'm not going to go wear myself out. I think that's
a prudent thing to do. I've still got a golf tournament to play
in. I want to play my very best. And, I think that he'll do
just fine without me out there. But, I think if I can see a few
of his, I will.
Q. Will you be nervous for him?
JACK NICKLAUS: Isn't a father always nervous for his son? How
would I be any different? Of course.
Q. Could both of you address, specifically, today's round?
You look like you were having a really good time and don't leave
out the birdie on 17.
JACK NICKLAUS: Oh, that wasn't too bad. Some guy up in the audience
said to his friend he said, "20 bucks he doesn't make it."
I said, "Oh, it's going to cost him 20." That's what
got us even, wasn't it.
GARY NICKLAUS: Yeah.
JACK NICKLAUS: But it's -- my round today was -- my last round
before a tournament, if I'm playing reasonably well, and I feel
like I'm playing reasonably well. I will pattern -- I work on
a swing pattern. The pin you can't practice anyway. So, you
know, you go out and just try to work on a pattern, work on developing
the swing, make sure you have confidence with the different elements
of your game and have a little bit of fun. That's what we did
today. That's basically all we did.
Q. Is it a surprise to you guys that there haven't been
more father son combos to make it to this level? And, also, if
you all should make it to Sunday, being Father's Day, how special
would that be?
JACK NICKLAUS: I think it would be kind of neat. I would love
to have the opportunity to play with him on Sunday. That would
be the really neat part. Of course, obviously, I would love to
Q. Real late?
JACK NICKLAUS: Yeah, real late. I don't mean late to the tee.
I mean late time. I think this is the only tournament I've ever
gone into -- I've always gone in with the attitude that I can
win a golf tournament. This is the only tournament that I'm hoping
I can finish second. That would be the neat part. Somebody asked
us the other day what if you have a 4-footer at the last hole,
if Gary could win the tournament? I said, "Oh, I'd miss
it on purpose." He said, "Fat chance, you never missed
one yet to beat me."
Q. Gary, I know your brothers and yourself and people expect
so much of a guy named "Nicklaus." Was it a little
easier on you being down the line than it was on Jackie? And,
do you ever feel expectations to, you know, be another Jack Nicklaus?
GARY NICKLAUS: Well, to address the part of whether it was easier
for me being down the line, I'd say, maybe, initially. But it
was rectified when I was pretty young, that I was the one that
had the most talent - not to take anything away from my brother.
But, at 16 years of age, I was on the cover of Sports Illustrated.
I was touted as the next Nicklaus, and yeah, it's a tough name
to carry. It's a tough, tough -- big footsteps to fill. But,
I've had problems with it. But, as the years have gone by, I've
matured and learned to deal with it. Now, I'm pretty comfortable
with myself and what I'm trying to do with my game, and what I'm
trying to do with my own career.
Q. This is to Gary, please. Gary, you're a pretty long
knocker too. How about your strategy at Congressional and what
do you think of this course for your game?
GARY NICKLAUS: I like this course for my game. I am a pretty
good driver of the ball. I drive the ball pretty straight and
as my dad was saying earlier, I'm not as long as the longest
hitters out here, but there isn't probably a half a dozen guys
in the field that will hit it longer than I do. As long as I
can keep my driver in play, from that point on, it's just a matter
of putting the iron shots at the right point on the green and
giving yourself so you're not having 2-feet putts, downhills,
or big breaks, or whatever. And, I think if I keep my driver
in play that I'll play well.
Q. Will you use a driver that much?
GARY NICKLAUS: Probably half the time. Probably I would say
probably half drivers, half 3-woods.
JACK NICKLAUS: I could use it all the time.
Q. Jack, two of the best three players in baseball are sons
of former baseball players, Bonds and Griffey Jr. and there has
never been a son of a golfer who has come up and done that. Do
you have a theory on why that has dominated the game or even played
at a very high point....
JACK NICKLAUS: Well, I don't know that there hasn't been --
I think there's been a lot of pretty darn good players that have
been sons. I guess you go back to Old Tom Morris, Young Tom Morris.
You're getting a little far back to do that. But, I think the
game sort of is a little bit more difficult. I think golf is
probably as difficult a game as it is to play. And, you add the
added pressure of what you're talking about, and I think it does
make it more difficult for sons. I think Dave Stockton's son
has done very well. I think Wayne Player had the opportunity
to be a very, very good player. And, I really don't know what
would have happened to Wayne. Wayne got off on tangent, but Wayne
had an awful lot of talent. The I guess -- I don't know -- I'm
sure there's some other father/sons. There's some coming along
now that's pretty good players, too, the Floyd Boys are pretty
good players. I think you're going to find more coming along
in the future than you have in the past. I think the father could
pass -- dad could pass along a few things to them. But, I think
it's -- there's so -- golf is such a funny game. There's just
-- so few guys get to the top that -- it's not like baseball where
you've got -- you could be a home-run hitter or single hitter,
double hitter, you could steal bases. You can do so many different
things. Golf..... There's only one result; that's to win. And
it's -- I think it's a difficult game to excel at.
Q. Jack, where do you stand on the streak? Are you going
to be playing the British? Is there an entry in the mail?
JACK NICKLAUS: Well, I've entered the British. If you don't
enter, you can't play. I haven't made up my mind what I'm going
to do. More than likely I won't play. Although I always say
that and if I'm playing well, then I'll probably go play. I wouldn't
pass up the opportunity to play in the British if I were playing
well and I felt like I could compete. This week won't necessarily
be the total thing because I have two more tournaments after this
before I go to the British to make up my mind. But, I really
-- I started hitting the ball a lot better just in the last three
weeks or so, month, and I really started going from "I could
care less whether I played at all" to "I'm really having
fun playing again." That's what I've always said, I'll play
as long as I can be competitive and fun. When you're having fun,
you're usually competitive. So, we'll see.
Q. Jack, would you clarify your plans for the U.S. Open?
You said this will probably be your last regular U.S. Open and
the rest will be the sequence. What does that mean?
JACK NICKLAUS: USGA has been kind enough to get me five special
exemptions. I said last year I didn't expect anymore after that.
They gave me another one. I certainly won't turn the USGA down
if they thought I could play. I would be delighted to play. But,
I don't expect that. I think that's asking maybe too much of
them, you know, to get an old man and ask him to keep on playing.
I certainly would like to play again. I certainly would love
to play in the year 2000. I'd like to go back to Pebble Beach.
I'd like to go to St. Andrews in 2000. And, I think the PGA
Championship is -- I know the PGA Championship is also on a golf
course that I like, if I'm not mistaken. I would like to play
those four. That would be what I last play. But, as far as sequence
of playing, this will be my 150th major championship that I've
been able to play, including my Opens and Masters as an amateur.
142, I guess, as a professional. Is that right, 142 as a professional.
That's a pretty round number, I suppose, 150 and whether I play
beyond that at the British, you know, I think that's -- I think
I would rather end my streak of playing continuously by choice
rather than by not being eligible to play. And, so if I choose
not to play in the British, you know, that will be my choice.
You know, I really would like to play, but, you know, I really
don't want to clutter up the field if I can't compete. I just
don't think that it's -- You've got young guys you pass the bat
on. Gary is now qualified for the Open. I would match rather
watch him play than play myself. So, it's -- that's sort of the
way I feel. But, I -- but, obviously if I can beat and play,
I'm going to compete and play.
Q. Gary, having caddied for your father in the past and
the experiences of watching him under pressure, is that going
to help you compete in this tournament, and after you've qualified,
did you set any goals for yourself as far as how you would like
to play in this one?
GARY NICKLAUS: As far as caddying goes, I haven't caddied enough
for him to really -- I mean, I have caddied for him. I've seen
how he plays golf and I've played a lot of golf with him and understand
what goes through his mind just in regular playing. But, I've
never -- the tournaments that I've caddied, he's never really
been in the hunt. I guess I'm not a very good caddie or something.
So I've never really seen him in pressure, how he reacts and
what he does there. What was the rest?
Q. As far as after you qualified, did you set any goals
GARY NICKLAUS: I've got some goals for myself. They're between
me and myself and I. So.....
Q. Gary, I just want to know if you could expand a little
bit on the difficulties that you've encountered in terms of living
up to the Nicklaus name and just -- you talked about it a little
bit before, but, specifically, what kind of things that you've
gone through, trying to deal with that?
GARY NICKLAUS: It's nothing huge, just you go to a lot of places,
you're in the spotlight. When I would play in high school, you
know, state high school tournament or play in junior tournaments,
amateur tournaments, if I would shoot 85 and I just wanted to
go home, the press would want to see how I shot 85. Whether, you
know, if I shot -- when I shot 65 or 85, I was always wanting
to know why did you shoot this or why did you shoot that. And,
I was never just -- I could never just do my own thing and do
things the way I wanted to do. I always had to do things the
right way and if I didn't, then people would say why aren't you
doing them that way? It's not that big of a deal, but it was
just something as a youngster -- it's something that you have
to mature out of, I think.
Q. Jack --
JACK NICKLAUS: One of Gary's lines one time when he was playing
and he says -- Barb and I went out and watched. He said, "I
wonder how many guys are going to come out and watch my dad watch
me today." That was kind of the flow that he had. Gary always
had situations, as did Jackie, of being in that position of walking
out there and people wanting to see what Nicklaus was going to
do, what offspring was going to shoot. That had its advantages
because it allowed Gary to get in some golf tournaments that he
might not have gotten into, but it puts undue pressure on him
as far as having to perform better. Or, you know, if he wanted
to go kick a locker like a lot of kids would, he couldn't go kick
a locker because he had to come back to his dad or mom. I understand
that very much. When Gary was on the cover of Sports Illustrated,
he said, you know, Sports Illustrated did that story, they told
me that was not a cover story, and was not intended to be a cover
story. And, so that's why we did it. And when it turned out
to be on the cover, we were all upset because Gary felt like
he hadn't done anything to deserve to be on the cover of a major
magazine. And, we didn't feel that that pressure was necessary.
It put him away from golf for about two years. He didn't want
to be around it. He said, you know, that's not fair, it wasn't
fair to other people. So those are things that have happened
and they continue to happen. But, you know, I suppose that goes
with the territory. As he said earlier, he said I'm sure -- I
hope he feels that the advantages outweigh the disadvantages.
GARY NICKLAUS: I was getting ready to follow that up. They
-- you know, as much as there's advantages to both, and disadvantages
to everything, and the advantages do far outweigh the disadvantages
of being his son (indicating).
JACK NICKLAUS: Plus he's got a good mom. That's the best advantage
LES UNGER: Where is mom going to be tomorrow?
JACK NICKLAUS: Mom watched me and then she'll watch Gary. She's
the only one that's going to go 36 tomorrow.
Q. Was there any consideration to having Nicklaus caddies
JACK NICKLAUS: Yeah, actually Michael -- Gary was thinking about
having Michael, but Michael is graduating Saturday from Georgia
Tech, so he couldn't make it. He thinks he's graduating.
GARY NICKLAUS: We won't be sure until he gets that diploma.
Q. Jack, how important is the experience of being in contention
in a major to win in one?
JACK NICKLAUS: How important is the experience? Well, I think
you have to have that experience before you win one. You may
have it in the same tournament. But it's a great experience.
It's a really a learning experience to be there and be part of
the whole thing coming down the stretch, and that's the fun of
it. You know, people ask me how do you handle what you do? As
a matter of fact, we talked about it out here the other day on
the golf course. We said -- Jackie and Gary and I were talking,
you know, what do you do when you come down the stretch. Well,
to me it's what I've worked for. It's a position I try to get
myself in. And, I turn around a lot of times, I'll take a deep
breath and look around me, man, this is what I'm here for. This
is what I'm trying to do. This is fun now, have fun and enjoy
it. You know, that's generally how I try to handle it myself
is to enjoy being in the pressure because that's the fun of it.
And, that experience is what you're trying to do. If you don't
want that experience, then you better go do something else because
you can avoid that experience pretty easy. All you have to do
is screw up 14 and 15, and you won't be in that experience. But
to be able to sit there and be there and fight for it and scramble
out of places and do things that -- and pull from inside you,
that's the things that really are neat. I mean, I go back and
look at some of the major championships that I won or maybe even
I lost, and coming down the stretch, the things that I did to
keep myself having the chance to win that golf tournament, sometimes
I got beat. Sometimes somebody else beat themselves. There's
something I did. Sometimes, something very unusual and beat somebody
else and won it myself. But, more often, it was the excitement
and fun of controlling yourself and being through that experience
and saying, man, now this is neat. This is fun. This is what
I'm here for.
LES UNGER: One or two more.
Q. Jack, when you won your Opens, won The Masters first
couple of times and Arnold was winning, did you get a sense at
the Open that there was more excitement because people were talking
about the Grand Slam? Did you get any different sense or same
feeling about this one with Tiger?
JACK NICKLAUS: Well, I think that I always felt when I came
to the Open that if I hadn't won The Masters, I was, you know,
I'm not -- I shouldn't say -- that's not correct -- many times
I came and I had trouble with myself if I didn't win The Masters
during the years when I expected myself to be in contention to
try to have an opportunity to win The Masters, I had a hard time
getting up for the U.S. Open. But the years that I did win The
Masters and did come in here, then the excitement in me was even
greater, because here I am having an opportunity - of course I
only did it once in '72, won them both, I guess. I guess that's
the only year I won them both. And the -- but you have that expectation
of getting there. I'm sure that Tiger is going through that expectation
at a very young age. Here's a very young, confident young man
on a golf course that is really excellent for him. It's a great
golf course for him. And I think that -- I think -- as a matter
of fact, I think he'll do quite well here because of that. He's
got that confidence, he's coming in here, expects to do well.
He's no different than what I was. I expected to do well. And,
I mean, he'll come off a 12-shot win at The Masters and winning
beyond that tournament. He's got to be filled with confidence.
Q. When you didn't win, let's say Arnold won, and there
was talk of it, did it fire you up the same way?
JACK NICKLAUS: When Arnold won what?
Q. Well, to be the guy to stop the Grand Slam.
JACK NICKLAUS: Well, Arnold only won --
JACK NICKLAUS: Let's see, the last major Arnold won was 1964,
The Masters, and Venturi won the Open here that year. So I wasn't
the guy that would have stopped that situation. Arnold won the
first two in '60, did he not? Yeah, 1960. And went to St. Andrews
and finished second, lost by a shot. I'm sure Arnold was filled
with the same type of excitement and felt like he should win.
But, the British Open at that time not many of the fellows went
to the British Open. He made the trip to the British Open the
same way that Hogan made the trip to the British Open or Steve
made the trip to the British Open as an odd trip, just to be able
to play in it. After 1962, everybody makes the trip to the British
Open that feels like they have a chance to win the golf tournament.
Did I answer your tournament question or not?
Q. I want to know about the guys that try to stop him, do
they get up to --
JACK NICKLAUS: I don't think anybody pays attention to that.
They're playing their own golf tournament. Nobody tries to stop
anything. Good gracious, a guy might win one U.S. Open in his
life, and he says, "Oh, boy, I stopped Tiger Woods."
I don't -- he could give a rats if he stopped Tiger Woods or
not. He wanted to win the U.S. Open and he won it, I mean, that
was not his objective. You know, I'm sure Ken Venturi didn't
think that he stopped Arnold Palmer, you know --
Q. Gary, what are two or three of the most important things
that you learned from your dad?
GARY NICKLAUS: Well, I can't really point out any one or two
things. It's just he's been my dad. He's tried to bring me up
the right way from, you know, very young, and I just think that
just learning and watching what he does and just learning from
-- learning from his example is really the biggest thing that
I've learned from him.
LES UNGER: We'll take this question and don't forget, ladies
and gentlemen, the press party 6:30 next door.
Q. Gary, two parts. What would you consider today your
greatest achievement in golf and No. 2, what are your memories
of your dad playing in Opens, including the Baltusrol?
GARY NICKLAUS: Biggest achievement in golf would probably be
this week right here. You know, I played in the Tour events and
I've made a couple cuts, and I've played fairly decent in some
European events. But, as far as qualifying for probably one of
the best fields in the game of golf, and being a part of that
field, has got to be the best thing.
Q. Your memories of your dad playing in the Open including
GARY NICKLAUS: That is probably my biggest memory of my dad
in Opens. I can remember I was in the pro shop at Frenchman's
Creek which is at the golf course North Palm Beach sitting there
watching him come down the last two holes make the putt at 17,
make the putt at 18, then keeping the crowd off so that Isao
could make his putt on the last hole. That would be the biggest
memory that I have of watching him in Opens, and probably the
biggest thrill, too.
LES UNGER: Thanks very much. Thank you.
End of FastScripts.....