Jack Grout, I'd see him almost every day that I was home and I was playing golf. If I didn't go out to the golf course he'd call me and say when are you coming out, and I would say I'm coming out about 1:00 o'clock, and he'd say I'll be there. We'd go out and practice and we'd just talk. We might talk about his kids, my kids, how Jackie's game is, how's Aaron's game, anything, and finally he would say let's widen that stance out a little bit. That's all he would say.
It was really more of a relationship. A good teacher is a relationship, not a teacher. In other words, Jack Grout may not have been -- I may have been in the right place at the right time with Jack Grout and Jack Grout may have been in the right place at the right time with me. The two of us just got along great together.
It's not that Jack Grout probably taught me that much, it's that he showed interest in me and he spent time with me and he encouraged me and he was there for me, and that's like being another father. When your dad is there for you, it's something that encourages you and makes you want to do things better, and that's the way Jack Grout was.
Now, the kids today, I mean, you may have a guy that's teaching 20 guys, and he's going up and down the range talking to these 20 guys. How much real feeling and concern could he have for each one? Sure, he's trying to help each one, but that guy is getting paid by each one of them.
From the time I was 11 years old Jack Grout would never accept a dime, and my dad would come home, I remember him coming home and I was in group lessons and it cost us $45 bucks for the summer or something like that, and I'd come home and I'd have 45 cents for a bucket of balls I think it was, and I'd have these 20 buckets of balls and my dad would say, hey, aren't we a little heavy on hitting golf balls? He was more kidding than anything. Pretty soon I'd hit 20 balls and he'd charge me for 10. Pretty soon there wasn't a bill at all. He wanted to be part of my life and part of me. So that's the type of relationship we had.
I have no idea what Tiger's and Butch's relationship is, not a clue. I have no idea, nor do I want to guess about what it was. I feel like a teacher is somebody who takes an interest in -- like a high school coach. Your high school coach, kids who play high school ball, no matter what sport they play, they know what their coach was, how much time he spent and what he did. To me that's what coaching is. Grout was fabulous, and today I think -- I just don't know.
Frankly, could I have gotten along without Jack Grout teaching me how to play golf? For about 360 days a year, probably yes. But for those other five days, the little comments he would make to me -- usually I took the fall off and a couple months off and we'd take a couple days at the beginning of the year, okay, let's start off with the grip, right from the start, just like a beginner, and we did that every year. Maybe a week we'd spend doing that.
After that I'd come see him 50 times but we'd only really talk about -- he'd only maybe offer one or two things the rest of the year. I think most good players really can do most of it themselves, and I think that -- I would be guessing, totally guessing if I said I think that Tiger probably would prefer to do most things himself because what you have from electronic things today, he can see everything by pictures. We didn't have that in those days. You can have a little camera and see everything you want in the swing. He really probably knows himself better because he feels better than anyone else. There's a few days a year it probably wouldn't hurt anybody to have a little comment.
Q. Of all four U.S. Open titles that you have won over the years in your career, which one was the most special to you?
JACK NICKLAUS: 62, 67, 72 and 80. Those are the special ones.
Q. Your recollections of winning --
JACK NICKLAUS: I can't answer that. They're all special. How could you possibly pick one over another one?
Q. How about the one in 62, your recollections of that?
JACK NICKLAUS: My recollections of 62? I was in Arnold's hometown and won. I played the first two rounds with him and obviously the last round of the playoff. I was a young kid, won my first tournament, and that's what I did.
67, set the Open record, and then going to Pebble Beach in 72, and I won three times at Pebble Beach in a year, won 72 Crosby and then 72 Open, then the 73 Crosby all basically within 12 months and a week. Pebble has always been a special place to me. It was tough that year, tough golf course. And of course going back to Baltusrol and breaking my own record. They were all special.
JOAN v.T. ALEXANDER: Thank you, Mr. Nicklaus, for joining us.
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