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July 2, 1995

Jack Nicklaus


LES UNGER: Not many times that you congratulate Jack Nicklaus on a second place finish, but after the first two holes and going 7 under on the last 13 it was a terrific comeback and Jack put some pressure on the people on the top there.

JACK NICKLAUS: Not enough, unfortunately. Obviously, a dollar short, you might say. I felt starting out this morning if I would shoot 67, I think, I thought I'd probably get myself into a playoff and felt like 66 might win the golf tournament unless Tom, you know, played really well. And obviously he played very well. So I shot pretty close to my target and thought that I would get there; I got everybody else, but him-- So anyway, after starting out with the first two bogeys, I said I am not going to get anywhere near what I am doing unless I start doing something right. Even had the birdie at 6; I bogeyed 1 and bogeyed 2; 3-putted the first hole from the fringe from about 40 feet. Second hole, I put it in the bunker; couldn't start the bunker shot out about eight feet, ten, I guess, I missed the putt. Anyway I parred around to the 5th hole and/or 6th hole and knocked a 5-iron on the green there and even that was 50 feet. The ball couldn't stop it on the green; ran it by and 2-putted for birdie. Walked over to the 6th hole had 163 yards -- 7th hole, I am sorry, had a little bit of wind in myself, uphill. It is either really good 6 or I am going to have to hit it; just take off of a 5. I said, I think, I would rather hit the hard 6. So I hit the hard 6; nutted it; obviously, hit it about as far as I could hit it. And just hit a little bit right-to-left which is what I tried to do and went in the hole, obviously, I couldn't see it because we can't see the hole. But one guy behind the green, his arms went up about eight feet. I said, I think that went in. So... Anyway, then I said -- all of a sudden I said, now if I get -- if I take care of 8 and 9; do something there, I got a shot to get back into the tournament. I birdied 8, hit 9-iron in there about 10 feet and made it. So I have had so much confidence at that point, I started saying I think I may be able to get home in 2 at 9. I had 259 to the front which was pretty good tee shot. And needed about another 10 yards to get there. And so I had to lay it up. I laid it up with a 7-iron; hit a wedge in about 25 feet wasn't -- almost made the putt. Wasn't very good wedge shot; didn't get the birdie there; nor did I get it at 11. (27 (I thought I could get it there at 11, couldn't; had to lay it up. Then close to 13 with another 6-iron; hit it behind the hole; made another birdie there. That gets me to 7. I said I have got to get 3 more birdies somewhere along the line. I had a good shot at the next three holes. All, I guess, I had about a 20-footer at 14. I had about 15 footer at 15. I had about a -- oh, I guess, I don't know, 13, 14 feet, I guess, at 16. I had a good chances at all three holes to make birdie; didn't make any of them. I hit a bad drive at 17; put it in the right rough; kind of decent lie. I said, well, throw it at the hole; see what happens; 5-iron about eight feet and made it. Then 18, I tried to turn a 6-iron into the hole, and I left it out to the right; left it about, I guess, 35, 40 feet. And I said, well, at least get it to the hole; see what happens. And it went in. So I got to 9 which is, I guess, it was as good as I can get to. And obviously, that is a pretty good round after first two bogeys.

LES UNGER: Questions.

Q. Jack, Tom has spent his career being kind of the other guy to you, Ohio State, The Masters, now the tables are turned. Can you address that?

JACK NICKLAUS: I addressed it outside. I said Tom had said couple of years ago when I won at Cherry Hills had said that he always seemed to be one shot shy, and I pointed at the leaderboard to him at 4 shots difference; there wasn't any one shot shy. I am very pleased for Tom. Obviously, I'd love to win the golf tournament; I'd like to win any golf tournament. I don't like to finish second any time. But obviously, better than third or fourth. But Tom, he has had a hard time finishing golf tournaments; winning some events when he has played very, very well. Everybody has known of his talent. His talent has been enormous all his life. And sometimes he just hasn't been able to get there, but today he played -- only guy that shot 4 rounds in the '60s. He played fantastic; my hat is off to him the way he played, just terrific. Having never won on the Senior Tour, all the elements that would make it very difficult for him to finish today, I sort of expected Tom to try to shoot around par somewhere and try to play that kind of a round to -- it looked like what happened was that Aoki pushed him early and so it forced him to have to play too. He couldn't play conservative golf. I think Aoki pushed Tom into playing that way. I may be wrong. That would be my analysis of it. And he just kept right on going, so that is not much I can do about it. I was too far back.

Q. Jack, that was the second hole-in-one in a Major, I think, that you have played is that correct, the first one was over in --

JACK NICKLAUS: I holed one, 5th hole at Lytham. I don't know what year it was '80 something, but I don't really know any other Majors or not. I think maybe -- I think the other one is the only Major I really holed one in. And I know it puts me one ahead of Arnold and Gary, I do know that. We had fun at the Tradition. Gary made a hole-in-one at the 7th hole at the Tradition, Arnold, Gary, all three of us were playing. I walked off the tee, and I said to Gary "How many is that?" He says "17." I said, "Well, I have 17." I said "Arn, how many do you have?" He said "17." We all three had 17. We are all laughing about it. So now I got 18. I got to tell those guys they got to get back to work on their par threes.

Q. Jack, talk about how you played the par fives this week.

JACK NICKLAUS: Not good, George. I think I --

Q. We know that. But I guess -- why?

JACK NICKLAUS: Oh, I don't know. I mean par fives -- I played the 6th hole all right. I played that with 3 birdies, and I hit one bad tee shot yesterday and had to lay it out. I didn't make birdie, but I knocked it on three times? No, twice. And I hit it just off the green to make birdie. Birdied three out of four times. The 9th hole, I birdied once and made one bogey. 10th hole, I made -- 11th hole, I made four pars which is ridiculous. That hole I never got a place where I can knock it on in 2, always had to lay it up; never make birdie -- Oh, I did. I made it yesterday. I did make one birdie there -- take that back. Then I never birdied 16. I didn't make a bogey, so what is that? That is three under par for the week. I beat somebody. Not many, really wasn't very good. These aren't the kind -- When you get par fives that you are laying up, you are not going to shoot real low on them. You should make some birdies. You shouldn't make any sixs. I made 2 sixs.

Q. You mentioned Tom not finishing in too many tournaments; plenty of us saw the temper aspect of that. Were there any other things that other players saw in his game that perhaps limited his talent?


Q. Yes.

JACK NICKLAUS: I don't know -- I don't know whether temper is really the right word.

Q. Complicated?

JACK NICKLAUS: It's more complicated. I think Tom will get down on himself, and I think he just -- I don't think he ever believed that he was as good as he was or is. I mean, he has always not believed that he was that good. He is probably a -- If you take five players in the game of golf that you would name as far as talent, and ask 100 people that know golf, his name is going to pop out probably more than anybody's in that -- in naming five people. There just isn't anybody that has anymore talent than he does and he is still very long. He has still got a great arc; beautiful golf swing; wonderful tempo; great posture. As we get older, I look like I am about 4 foot tall hitting the ball. He still like 6', 4", 5". He has hasn't lost any of that: He has always been a marvelous talent and sort of enigma as it relates to why he hasn't won more. That is why I am happy for him. Problems he had this year problems with Jeanne and so forth so on. It is nice. Obviously, I'd love to win, but I am very happy for him.

Q. Jack, you mentioned 18 holes-in-one in Tour events and two now in Majors. To even most of the guys on the Tour, a hole-in-one in a big tournament like this --

JACK NICKLAUS: I didn't say 18 holes-in-one at Tour events. I said I had 18 holes-in-ones.

Q. Sorry. A lot of guys on this Tour would be absolutely unbelievably thrilled; I am sure you are very excited about that. But how do you handle at this stage of your career that next hole-in-one, obviously, it meant something today?

JACK NICKLAUS: You don't really handle it anyway. I mean, it is -- holes-in-one are very, very nice and you know, they don't add much to your score. I mean, as a matter of fact they reduce it a great deal. That is what you like about a hole-in-one. I mean, that is -- it is like making 3 on a par 5; it is the same thing. We don't look at it as the, you know, the end of something happening. It is a rare occurrence. It is just like the two eagles I made at Augusta this year on number 5. I mean, what an odd thing to have happen, but what a wonderful thing for your score. That is what, you know, we are looking at. We hole iron shots, not frequently, but we hole iron shots, and when one happens, you know there is always a little bit of luck involved. When there is a little bit of luck involved, you have the benefit of it, man, you try to take advantage of it because it is great. I enjoy the holes-in-one. I get a great kick out of them, you know, there's a whole bunch of guys waiting there for me to buy a drink for them right now.

Q. Jack, you used the word major before. Where exactly does the Senior Open and perhaps the U.S. Amateur start in your mind as a Major or --

JACK NICKLAUS: You look at the times of what you are talking about. As far as senior tournaments go, this is the biggest senior tournament we play. I don't think there is any question that anybody would argue with that. I think that is what we consider this the most major of the senior Major tournaments, but is it a major? No, of course, it is not a major. Where is Norman? Faldo? And Ballesteros, and Couples and right on down the line. Where are they? If it was a major, they would be there, right? When I won the U.S. Amateur, the U.S. Amateur was still considered a Major because that was part of Bobby Jones's record and part of his number of Majors and so forth and so on. It was -- is it a Major today? Of course, it is not a Major today. But you take -- that is like who was the guy that they eliminated that had his 3000 hits because he played in some other league --

Q. Cap Anson.

JACK NICKLAUS: Yeah, come on! When he did that, that is what baseball was. How can you eliminate the man's record. So when Bobby Jones -- I mean, you are going to turn around and say Bobby Jones didn't have 13 Major championships; you are going to take his national amateurs away from him or mine away from me or Arnold? I won 18 professionally. So, I mean, a Major is a Major by when you win it during the era of when it was won. Western Open at one time was a Major. When Hagen won several Western Opens. I think that was in his record and then the Western Open was eliminated from the Major status.

Q. Do you think that this event will ever be considered the only senior Major?

JACK NICKLAUS: No, I think we have got four Senior Majors now. That would have been considered as a senior major. They are Senior Majors. They are not Majors. They are Senior Majors.

Q. Jack, talk a little bit about when you first became familiar with Tom Weiskopf whether -- was it in college and what were your initial impressions of him?

JACK NICKLAUS: I didn't see much of Tom in college. He was a freshman when I was a Senior. We didn't play on the team together. May have played a couple of rounds together. That is basically what we played during the college days.

Q. Playing around Ohio?

JACK NICKLAUS: I didn't really know Tom until he came on Tour. I mean, I knew him. I didn't know him very well.

Q. Jack, would the way you finished today make you think of coming back in '97 if you don't qualify, you know, if you --

JACK NICKLAUS: I won't be coming back if I don't qualify.

Q. Don't get an exemption -- if you don't say when next year -- next year's senior or another tournament to get in, will the way you finish make you think about it --

JACK NICKLAUS: No, I don't think that has anything to do with it. I think that whether I play another U.S. Open or not will be up to the USGA, I think, because I did -- I did not win here; I am not exempt. If the USGA thinks that I can be competitive and wishes to invite me next year to play, I would love to play. But if they did invite me to play, I think it would be my last one. I think it is time that I say enough is enough and if they think that this year was enough, that is fine too. But I'd love to play one more. I'd love to play my 40th. I'd love to finish at a golf course that I almost won as an amateur and I won a Senior Open now, that would be nice, but if that doesn't happen, it doesn't happen. But I don't think -- I don't really look to come back here unless I win the Senior Open in '96; then I will be back here. I would not look for an exemption from that standpoint.

Q. You mentioned the Senior Open in '96, what do you think about Canterbury as a site for that?

JACK NICKLAUS: Well, I played Canterbury; won there in '73 in the PGA. That is the last time I was there. I think I may have played an exhibition or something since then, but you know, obviously I like Canterbury last time I saw it, but that was 22 years ago. I don't remember where the first tee is. It is very difficult to try to remember what kind of a golf course. People have a hard time believing that I don't -- but I do, it is 22 years ago, I don't remember.

Q. I thought you might have played it a lot in your lifetime.

JACK NICKLAUS: No. I played -- I played Canterbury probably, I think, I played the National Golf Day and an exhibition there before or after the PGA there, I don't remember and the PGA Championship. I may have played 10 rounds of golf at Canterbury at dead, max.

Q. In your relationship with Tom over the course, has it been pretty much constant over the last 25 years or has he had to react to you in anyway as the dominent player; has it been smooth; has it changed?

JACK NICKLAUS: I think you have to ask Tom that more than to ask me. I think that my relationship, you know, has been fairly consistent for the simple reason I have been the guy that has won most of the time.

Q. You don't have to --

JACK NICKLAUS: Yeah, I think that kind of puts me in sort of an awkward position.

I think Tom -- I have always been in awe of Tom's talent. I felt like when I go out and play against him, you just got to play better, or out-think him or do something because is he going to hit the ball as well or as good as you are or better. And so --. And I think that that has probably been Tom's mind somewhere, so I think you have to ask him that question.

Q. Lee Trevino often goes back and says he kind of turned the corner when you told him, Lee, you don't know how good you could be. Did you ever have a conversation similar to that with Tom?

JACK NICKLAUS: I have told Tom that 100 times. He never listened to me, though. (kiddingly). No, I don't know. I think that -- I have told him 100 times, I said, "gee, you don't realize how good you are; how well you play." We played in Puerto Rico this year. He played beautifully. Didn't score worth a darn. I said gee, I hope you stay out. I hope you play-- I know you have got some problems at home. I says, I know that those problems are wearing heavy on you, but I said, you have got so much talent, play a little bit. People are telling me the same thing, you know, play a little bit. But you know, play a little bit, I said, you are going to win out here; you are going to do fine; you are going to enjoy yourself; you are going to have fun. And I think this win here will just mean the world to him. ... Yeah.

LES UNGER: Anyone else? We thank you very much.


Q. Thank you.

JACK NICKLAUS: I haven't been up here much this week, guys. Wednesday and Sunday. I prefer Sunday.

Q. Our fault or yours?

JACK NICKLAUS: Totally my fault. Actually from what -- my score that you asked me about, I wasn't very close, was I?

Q. No, close to your score?

JACK NICKLAUS: 282, 283, you asked me early in the week.

Q. Nobody thought 13, though, that was?

JACK NICKLAUS: Nobody. You got to be kidding I think that is a wale of a score in this golf course.

Q. Arnold said 10. And people thought he was too high.

JACK NICKLAUS: I thought 10 would be awful high. The conditions are soft. I didn't think the guys could play that rough and make that many putts on the greens. The greens actually got pretty decent as the week went on as relates to putting. You wait and you see when '97 rolls around and they put some speed on these greens; wait until you hear what the guys will say. I am going to tell you one thing: They have got some kind of pitch on them and when you start putting on these greens, if the weather is dry here in '97, the scores will be way up. If it is wet, it will be like it was this week. But if it is dry, that is a tough set of greens out there. If you miss the greens, looks like they are all funneling in, but what they funnel in, in, is pitch. So you miss a green and you pitch and the ball just goes "woosh". You get a downhill putt or sidehill putt it just starts running. That is a tough, tough set of greens, I will tell you. He will have them in good shape. They will be fine. They actually were fine as the week went on this week. He did a pretty darn good job with the golf course under the conditions he had. Thank you.

End of FastScripts....

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