June 28, 1995
LES UNGER: Impressions of the course and I know you only played 9 today; we had a lot of rain, what do you think is going to happen?
JACK NICKLAUS: I think it is going to play long. What I think is going to happen, depends on what the USGA does. I think if they leave the rough alone which has been having several days growth, it is not U.S. Senior Open rough, it is U.S. Open rough which it is right now. And the length of the golf course is not U.S. Senior Open length; it is U.S. Open length. Although this golf course -- they cut a lot off of it, it is still, you know, very long golf course. And the golf course is playing -- I don't know whether to play extremely difficult, if the guys hit the ball fairly long and straight because mostly when you have a wet golf course, the course doesn't play all that tough. But it will play long, that is for sure. And you know, things have happened since the last time I played here. Obviously, the trees have continued to grow up, and of course, Rees has redone - I don't know how much of the golf course he redid - but he did a lot of it, obviously, and driving areas are more difficult to get the ball into than they used to be. And I think the penalties are probably a little bit more severe. I don't see that there is any -- maybe he did make changes, but the greens are of the same style. I don't know whether they changed them or not - I don't really know - than they were the last time. But you know, it is Congressional, always been a fairly long difficult golf course.
LES UNGER: Questions, please.
Q. Earlier in the week Stockton was in here and said that you were the master for picking a score for an Open. Would you pick a winning score?
JACK NICKLAUS: I don't know that I have ever picked one. I don't know that I was -- did you ever see me pick a score?
Q. That is what he said. He said you are always close.
JACK NICKLAUS: Well, it will be somewhere between 270 and 290, how is that? No, 10 over and 10 under. What is that? I guess it could be lower than that. I don't know what the score will be, Jerry. I would think that they will probably shoot this golf course, as wet as it is, probably be right around 282 and 3, somewhere in that area. Maybe might be lower than that, I don't know. But I would think that is probably what you should look at. Greens are going to be tough to make putts on. But it is just long.
Q. Jack, how has your game developed over the last two weeks, last time we saw you at the Open --
JACK NICKLAUS: Last time you saw me on Thursday, last time you saw me and I played decently on Thursday played pretty good; was pretty up on what I was doing with my golf game. Then Friday, I lost my tempo and really wasn't very good. Since then, I have been doing the same things that I was doing there as relates to my golf swing which I like very much. And you know, I don't know how I will be, but I certainly think that I will be more consistent and a little bit better than I have been. I am a little upbeat about what I am doing. I don't know how well; I have never played Congressional extremely well, but I am upbeat on what I am doing. I think I finished last time I played here, what, I can't -- back to the record books, I finished fourth; wasn't it at Kemper?
Q. Actually you finished fourth here at PGA.
JACK NICKLAUS: I finished fourth PGA also. I guess I played better than I thought at Kemper -- I mean, at Congressional. I didn't remember that finish. I knew I had won; I knew I hadn't really been in the hunt coming down the final part of the golf tournament, but I had finished fourth and fourth the last two times I played here.
Q. I think so.
JACK NICKLAUS: That is not that bad, I guess. Prospects are looking up, I guess.
Q. Compare playing in this tournament as opposed to a U.S. Open, obviously you probably -- you will be more up for a U.S. Open, but do you get fired up for a Senior Open?
JACK NICKLAUS: Well, I think that is more difficult, the more difficult. Hale is going to find the same thing; I am sure Raymond will find the same thing. We try to play -- get our golf game up to 4 Major Championships a year, all of a sudden now we got 8 when you become a Senior. And you try to be as competitive as you can in the other Major Championships, regular. Then when you have the Seniors, you try to put them altogether. It is a little difficult. But U.S. Open is a U.S. Open; it is not a Senior Open it is it not the U.S. Open, but it is still a USGA Open Championship for us older guys. I think of all the senior tournaments I think this would be the one I'd want to win. It is -- I always have enjoyed the way the USGA has prepared a golf course. I think they have done a very nice job preparing this golf course. I know that they have had the problems with the greens and so forth, and I think that is quite evident looking at it, but I think they have done a good job in trying to be as consistent as they can and trying to do the same thing the weather would allow them to do and so I think we will go in and I think everybody feels pretty much the same way that is here. They are coming here to try to play the biggest tournament in senior golf and they want to have the game ready for it.
Q. Jack, is there a better chance than an obscure player can win a Senior Open than -- obscure just because there seems to be more guys who qualify for this?
JACK NICKLAUS: Well, I think the chances are about the same here as they are in a U.S. Open or a PGA Championship. Both of those tournaments you have an awful lot of club pros or amateurs that have tried to qualify and do qualify and you have always got that chance of somebody coming out of the pack. You never heard of Lee Trevino in 1967 when he played Baltusrol. He finished fifth; did he?
LES UNGER: 6th.
JACK NICKLAUS: 6th, whatever he did. All of a sudden here is a fellow that decided because he played there the next year he wins The Open and you know it was a start for him. Probably not as many in the senior because you have got guys that have played all their life; you know who they are, and not many come out of the pack but every year we always have somebody that plays pretty well. Who that might be, you never know, but somebody usually plays pretty well that you wouldn't have expected to play well but generally, 90, what, what percent of the time you would say you guys go back make your own percentage on him; usually it is a named player that usually ends up winning your tougher championships. Only because they are the ones that have the experience and played them and gone through it. But you never -- it is always nice to see guys from -- I remember when I was growing up watching, always wanted to watch your local pro when he qualified for The Open; you always followed him. I think there are a lot of people around the country that like that kind of a feeling. It is kind of nice; happens at The Open; PGA Championship and U.S. Open. I am sure it happens some at the British Open too because it has got the flavor over there, of the guys who can qualify. Obviously doesn't happen as much at the Masters because you don't have that situation; you don't have the situation most of the regular senior tournaments, you have it with the PGA seniors; you have that chance too. You used the word "obscure," not me.
Q. When you played here a couple of weeks ago was the conditions different talk about how much?
JACK NICKLAUS: About the same. Same.
Q. Was it wet though then?
JACK NICKLAUS: Oh, yeah, been wet all spring here if I am not mistaken. Fairways are excellent. Rough is very uniform. I know they got fresh sand in the bunkers and I know they have been trying to get it in because they haven't been able to get it in because of the weather. They got most of it in within the next week. It wasn't in last week when I was here. It is -- all sand had been put in since last Monday, so you are going to see some buried downhill lies in the bunker right here at the 9th hole. I was playing with a fellow named Jim Jensen; his third shot in the bunker; couldn't find it, 4 to 5 inches deep. He couldn't even hit it out of the lie. It was -- I think they are going to have to watch that. I think they have to watch what they are doing with the raking. The conditions are, you know -- let that happen.
Q. Talk a little bit about the greens and the root system. Apparently it is --
JACK NICKLAUS: I don't know Latshaw is expert on the greens. I don't think that is my issue we know that the greens -- probably because it is wet, they are not as fast as they are going to be as they like to have them. What has happened, I don't have any idea. Million different things could have happened. Let him talk -- refer to that. I think that is his business; not mine.
Q. You don't consider that as a negative as far as you are concerned?
JACK NICKLAUS: We all got to play the same greens, Jerry. I mean, obviously I like fast greens, but the greens -- and the greens probably would have been fast if we hadn't had rain. They probably wouldn't be that slow because I will bet tomorrow -- the greens were a lot faster today and I will bet tomorrow they will be faster than they were today. They said they were going to have them around 10. If they said they are going to have them around 10, I imagine they will. Greens have a lot of pitch on them so you take a green here that has got a lot of pitch on them, they are not -- a lot of break and a lot of downhill putts that will get moving pretty quick. But I think Latshaw is the one to answer that question, not me.
Q. Do you think the weather only favors maybe a couple of dozen guys who can hit it further than the others?
JACK NICKLAUS: Certainly helps to be a little longer hitter if you got these kinds of conditions no question about that.
LES UNGER: Any other questions?
JACK NICKLAUS: Simple enough. Now I got to shoot good scores so I can come back with you again.
LES UNGER: This is odd number year, 1, 3.
JACK NICKLAUS: I hope you are right.
LES UNGER: Is that an omen?
JACK NICKLAUS: I hope so. '91, '93, it is '95. I hope that is the way it works. Okay.
End of FastScripts....