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June 5, 2004

Jack Nicklaus


JACK NICKLAUS: Not a great day for me, however. A great day weather-wise I hope, and otherwise.

Actually, I played pretty decently. I putted eight times on the front nine, ended up with 19 putts, and I had a little bunker shot at 5 that I had to try to skinny underneath it and really try to stop it, and I hit it thin and ended up three-putting it. So a double bogey there, and I three-putted the 7th hole, birdied the 5th.

Then the back nine, missed a little putt like that on 12. And drove it in the bunker at 13, didn't get out, and I hit it out, knocked it on the green, three-putted it.

So that was double bogey and triple bogey. Outside of that, I played pretty well.

Q. Yesterday you slam-dunked it on 12 and you almost holed this shot. Were there other holes you've done that --

JACK NICKLAUS: Oh, I do that all the time. It's just an absolutely regular occurrence (laughter).

Q. There are some we miss or don't see.

JACK NICKLAUS: I'm kidding. Every once in a while you hit a good shot, yeah. Hopefully you hit a good shot once in a while. I hit a couple good ones, just couldn't take advantage of much, but that's all right.

Q. If a change is made to 18, how much more difficult do you think the hole will be playing?

JACK NICKLAUS: Shouldn't make any difference, except anybody who wants to try to drive it over all the bunkers. Anybody that wants to do that, have at it. I don't think there's anybody that tried it. Daly probably did the first round.

Q. Singh was in the second-to-last one?

JACK NICKLAUS: What did he do out of it?

Q. Made a great shot, five feet. He was in the second to last one, not the last one.

JACK NICKLAUS: Yeah, second to last one. That's one I played out of the other day. When we got here the guys were saying, "Well, these ought to be tough enough." I said, "Well, give me a ball." I tossed a ball down in it and where the ball came to rest I took a wedge out and knocked it on the green, and I said, "I don't think so."

Q. The last couple days the leaders have come in, one guy was 9-under with a triple bogey --

JACK NICKLAUS: Maybe some of those guys are guys that I'm forcing to play the hole the way it's supposed to be played, and maybe that's the issue. If that's the case, that's great. That's what we want to do. I want them to play the hole the way it was designed, not use equipment to just negate everything that's here. That's why the bunkers are there.

Q. (Inaudible).

JACK NICKLAUS: I've never seen Ben Curtis other than from a distance hit a shot. I have no idea. He obviously did pretty well at the British Open last year, and he's done pretty well so far here, so I wish him luck, hope he continues to do well.

Q. How fast are the greens?

JACK NICKLAUS: I don't really know, probably approaching 14, I suppose, which is about -- about the same as they always are. They're not much different, about the same as they always are. The golf course is really good. It's excellent.

Q. What did you have in on 18?

JACK NICKLAUS: I hit a 3-wood and a 5-iron.

Q. Was the ball mark about six inches from the cup?

JACK NICKLAUS: A foot. It was close.

Q. You've got some young guys near the top, Ben and Justin and Tiger right there, and Ernie. Do you feel that the experienced guy is a guy who might have a little more of an advantage?

JACK NICKLAUS: Well, you've got a great leaderboard. You've got some really good players, and there's a lot of pretty darn good players not very far behind. The field is pretty bunched. No one has really run away from the field. That usually results in a pretty darn good tournament unless somebody blows the lid off on Saturday that's one of the leaders, and if that happens to be the case, then that's the case, but most of the time you're going to end up with a lot of fellows having a chance to win coming into the last day and you have all good players, so that's what you're trying for, is to have a good tournament.

Q. Surprised to see Freddie Couples coming off of five weeks of rest and --

JACK NICKLAUS: Maybe that's why he's doing it. Maybe he hasn't hit any balls for five weeks, and he's saying, this looks good, bam. I used to be able to relate to that. I don't do that much anymore. I take five weeks off and I play like I've taken five weeks off now. But I used to take five weeks off and I used to play pretty well. I'd practice just enough to get really fresh, because I had a good rest and come back. A lot of guys do that. That's good. Freddie is a good player. He's always been a good player, so you never know what he's going to do.

End of FastScripts.

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