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April 6, 2010
THE MODERATOR: We welcome Jack Nicklaus, great to have you here. Like to remind us all of Jack's accomplishments in golf. Winner of 18 Majors, including six Masters, five PGAs, four U.S. Opens, three British Opens, winner of 73 PGA TOUR victories, six-time Ryder Cup Team member, including twice as captain, captained four Presidents Cup teams, has competed in 45 Masters Tournaments, tied for fourth all-time.
Jack, thank you for being with us.
JACK NICKLAUS: Fourth? (Laughter) Has to be Arnold and Gary. Who would be the fourth?
JACK NICKLAUS: Raymond's played more than I have? Who is the other one then? Just curious. I never heard that stat before. (Laughter).
THE MODERATOR: Fourth is very good.
JACK NICKLAUS: No, fourth is just fine. I don't need anymore. (Laughter) What can I do for you?
Q. Obviously you're coming back this year to hit the first ball with Arnold; your thoughts and feelings on that?
JACK NICKLAUS: Well, when I was first asked about it, I was still playing. So I didn't -- I had no desire to do that. Once I stopped playing, I'm now playing for five years. Arnold has done that, that period of time. Arnold asked me if I would do that, be part of it. And you know, I thought that it would be a nice thing to do. So I'm here. Looking forward to it. I'm sure that we will have a nice time. Actually, I should say, Billy called me and said that Arnold would like to have me do it with him. I'm old enough now, I can do that, guys.
We'll have fun and we'll both belt it out there about 150.
Q. I had asked Arnold a couple of weeks ago when I saw him about your idea that you had put forth before about maybe some kind of other activity for the older champions here, and I'm wondering if -- he wasn't sure that it would fit into the Masters tradition. Just wondering if you had any other thoughts on it.
JACK NICKLAUS: Not really. You know -- not really, no. We talked about lots of things, and they were trying to reduce Masters champions to an age and so forth at one time, thought it might be nice if Tuesday or Wednesday we played nine holes or something, would be a nice way to get the guys that played and retired, but the Par 3 takes that and that's fine.
Q. We sat with Tiger for a while yesterday and he said at one point, if I win more championships, so be it. Curious if you heard that and if you would believe that he is somehow not gunning for the major championship titles?
JACK NICKLAUS: Well, I didn't hear it to start off with. And do I think that he is not gunning or gunning? No, come on, give me a break. (Laughter).
Q. I think what he meant was the priority is to get his life back together again, get his marriage back, whatever, and if the golf -- if all the wins come, that's fine?
JACK NICKLAUS: I think that would be correct. I would think that probably would be his priority.
But I don't know whether that was your question or not; was it? Or Art's interpretation -- (laughter).
Q. We all understood what Tiger was saying but it was a moment in which you shook your heard; I think we all believe he still wants the 18 majors no matter what?
JACK NICKLAUS: Well, of course he does. Why do you think he's here? I mean, I don't think he's here for his health or anything. He's here to play golf. I mean, that's what he is. He's a very good golfer. It's the first major of the year. He's taking large steps to get his life back in order, and he wants to play golf. He's excited about wanting to play and I think that's great for him and I think that's great for the game.
Q. Sticking with that, given the revelations over the past few months, do you feel any differently about him tying or breaking your records?
JACK NICKLAUS: No. I don't -- I mean, no. It doesn't -- as far as I'm concerned, I did what I did, and my record is what it was. And if somebody, whether it be Tiger or somebody else breaks that record, then they break it. There's not much I can do about it. I'm too old to go out and try to compete again, that's for sure. My 95-mile-an-hour clubhead speed just won't cut it anymore.
Q. Since you're tied so closely to Tiger, have people brought the news to you as it's come out, some of the details of what's happened? Have you paid attention to it or isolated yourself from it?
JACK NICKLAUS: Well, it's been none of my business so I've stayed away from it frankly.
Q. After you won your green jackets in your early years, they slowly changed the golf course as you went around in your career and obviously won one more in '86. They have done the same thing to Tiger and if you look at parallels Tiger won a lot of green jackets in the early parts of his years but as they have changed the golf course it's become more and more difficult. Did you find as they were making the changes they were trying to make it more difficult for the field or do you think the focus was sometimes on you?
JACK NICKLAUS: You know, I never felt that it was solely on me. I felt like that the golf course, and I think that the changes today are not solely on Tiger. They are on the type of player that I was and the type of player that Tiger is. And the type of player that we had in those days when I shot really low scores, Raymond came along and shot a really low score right after that; the game was changing and the golf course needed to make some adjustments to fit to it.
Now, I'll just sort of go through my history of what I feel about it. I think the golf course and Bobby Jones philosophy of the golf course is totally different now than when he originally started. He was very much a St. Andrews-type philosophy, fairly wide off the tee, put the ball in the proper side of the fairway, get the angle to the green or the angle to the pin, have a nice members course. You take the tees, you move them back and hide the pins, you have a Masters. That was sort of his philosophy.
Now, as equipment changed and the golfers started playing better and the scores started getting lower, things had to be done that would have to adjust that philosophy to the best it could to stay with what Bobby Jones had wanted but they had to adjust it to modern golf.
I'm not sure the golf course today would be the golf course that Jones would have done, because I don't think his philosophy was the same. Is it a good golf course today? Yeah, it's a darned good golf course today. Was it a good golf course then? Under the conditions that we played then, yeah, it was a darned good golf course then. But the golf course has changed over time. But it's the only golf course I know that has totally changed what they have done to adjust to what's happened with the times of the game and done it very, very well.
Not many golf courses, you see them take the U.S. Open, they take an XYZ course, they put five, six new tees and decide they are going to go a little longer rough and move the tees and fairways in another three yards and they figure that's their answer to, you know, the conditions of today. Here at Augusta, it was pretty well thought out, they have done a lot of things that have created more accuracy off the tee. You still have to put the ball in the proper side of the fairway but the fairways are not as big as they used to be. The greens are a maybe a little faster and harder than they used to be but that's more modern to what the game is today.
Q. You won a lot of your green jackets in the early years and when they effectively started making changes --
JACK NICKLAUS: Okay. Well, I think that some of the changes made the golf course more difficult for me. I don't think there's any question about that. But I still probably after the changes, I won '63, '65, '66 and that's where most of the changes came then, right after that.
Granted, I didn't win as much, but I still won '72, '75 and '86. Started out as a young kid and ended up as an old man and now I'm an older man. Did I mind the changes? Did I mind them for what my game? No. I thought that was great that they made the changes because it forced me to play better golf. In Tiger's way of thinking, Tiger is always trying to improve and get better. He's a hard worker and my feeling is that I would think he would welcome the more difficult the challenge, the more he would welcome it.
Q. In the press conference yesterday, Tiger apologized to all of the golfers, I don't know if you heard that or not?
JACK NICKLAUS: I did not hear it.
Q. Do you feel that was necessary or do you feel it was appropriate?
JACK NICKLAUS: I don't know. I think I'll stay away from that.
Q. Tiger talked about being more -- changing the way he handles himself on the course both in interacting with fans and being less demonstrative both after good shots and bad. In your opinion, what role does personality and emotion play in winning championships and can you change that and not lose any of your game?
JACK NICKLAUS: Well, emotion, I think plays a lot in different ways to different people. I never could show a lot of really outward exciting emotion and go back and play the next hole. I never could do that. Every time I did, I found myself all excited about what I did the last hole and pretty soon I found two holes later I made a bogey and double-bogey and I'm saying, why did I do that. I had to always reign myself in.
Did I get excited? Sure, I got excited but I got just as excited as anyone else would get excited, but I didn't show it on the outside because I had to hold myself that way. Tiger has always been exuberant and shown his emotions on his sleeve much the same way Arnold has always shown his emotions on his sleeves.
You know, do I think that will probably affect him one way or the other? You know, the only way you're going to find out is watch it in time. I think he's so disciplined with his game and so disciplined with the way he plays, I'm sure he will be able to discipline. If he tries to do something, I'm sure he will do it.
Q. In the next couple of days the USGA will decide whether Tom Watson gets an exemption for the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach; would you like to see him get that exemption?
JACK NICKLAUS: I played at Pebble Beach when I was 60. I think that probably answers your question, doesn't it. (Laughter).
I mean, I think what Tom did at Turnberry last year was fantastic. He unfortunately didn't finish it at the time when he -- and I ended up thinking it was his fault, I don't know if I told you this story but I got him about a half hour after he played. He said he felt bad and I said, "Tom, how many 59 year-olds have shot 65 the first round at the British Open? I can't think of any." I says, "How many have led after two rounds, how many have led after three rounds and how many have led after four rounds? I can't think of any."
"But I didn't finish."
I said, "Tom, you played a great tee shot on 18 and you played what appeared to be a great second shot. Just happened to be just that much too long." I said, "You picked the right club for your third shot."
He said, "Oh, I'm glad to hear you say that. I'm getting a lot of flak on that." (Laughter)
I said, "I know you're a good chipper, but it's the only club in your bag -- the putter is the only club in your bag you were not going to lose the tournament, because you were going to knock it on the green."
He said, "Yeah, but I goosed it."
I said, "Yeah, but so what, so did everybody else". I said, "You had to get the ball on the green." I said, "Now then you hit the put like the rest of us would."
So do I think he should be there? Absolutely. (Laughter).
Q. Tiger has acknowledged that he needs to show more respect for the game on the course. Did you at any point think that he disrespected the game on the course?
JACK NICKLAUS: I'll stay away from that, too.
Q. In regard to new grooves, what do you think we might see at this Masters, particularly with wedges?
JACK NICKLAUS: Good question, because I really don't know how -- I really paid little attention to how it's affected the guys. I would think that when they first did the groove thing, it was like throwing the deck chair off the Titanic, I didn't think there was much to it.
Then started thinking about it, and see what would happen, and the V-grooves, or whatever they are calling the groove, would require a softer ball out of the rough. Not that they -- now, these guys have never hit flyers in their lives. So they are going to hit a golf ball and say, all of a sudden, oh, what was that. 20 years ago, that's what guys used to hit. Never seen one of those before. They say, well, how do I prevent that? Well, you need a golf ball that's softer that spins more so that you have more ability to be in control of it.
Well, if that happens, they request that golf ball, and what happens to the driver? Well, the driver has more spin, so the driver with more spin means the driver is going to curve more. They are going to have change the driver -- I think it's going to have to run it's way through the bag. I think it will bring the ball back. Whether it brings the ball back far enough is another question.
Now, the USGA came to Muirfield and told us that was the first step and the second step was to maybe attack the size of the driver heads and the third would be if they had to, the ball. So they are going to go through the first step find out what it does, where it goes, what is the result and make steps beyond that. It's definitely a step in the right direction.
What will it do here? If the greens are firm, it will probably do a lot. Won't be out of the fairway, but out of that short rough, it will make a difference.
Q. If you reflect on your 18 majors, your win here in '86, would that be the sweetest one when you look back?
JACK NICKLAUS: Well, I think they are all very sweet. I didn't have any one that I didn't like. (Laughter) But I think that the last one when nobody expected me to win, including me, that obviously was very sweet.
Q. Could you fill us in on what you've been doing, I understand you've been in Morocco for a trip. What's the last few months been like for you?
JACK NICKLAUS: Are you asking me about Morocco or about what?
Q. What other things have you been involved in?
JACK NICKLAUS: Well, Morocco, I went over at the invitation of the Crown Prince to go to their tournament with the anticipation of helping to grow the game of golf in Morocco. I've been doing that in a lot of places. Matter of fact, I went over there and then yesterday he came over to the Bear's Club and we played over there and he asked me to redo his course where they have their championship, their Hassan Trophy and he knows that I would like to have a seaside golf course. So basically I'm doing three golf courses for him and one on the seaside. That's a pretty nice trip. Particularly when we are doing that much in the United States.
But more than that, he's a nice player, and he wants to grow the game of golf in Morocco. And he wants to -- now, Brazil with the Olympics coming, we have been very active in Brazil over the last few months. I haven't been there yet. I've been there previously but my people have been there a lot. Russia, China, India, you know, Korea, down through the Vietnams and the Cambodias and places like that are all starting to play golf, and I think a lot of it has been driven by the Olympics.
I think when apartheid was abolished in South Africa, I wanted to be part of the new South Africa. I went down and I've done quite a few golf courses down there. When the Berlin wall went down, I wanted to be part of what's happening in the Eastern block. I finished one golf course in Moscow and I have four others I'm doing in Moscow.
Really, I'm enjoying trying to grow the game of golf. I mean, do I need to do that? No, probably don't. From a financial standpoint I certainly don't need to do that. But do I enjoy that? Absolutely. I love the game. It's given me everything I have, and to be able to go to places and see the game grow and see other people playing the game gives me great charge and I love that. I've met a lot of people and been to a lot of places; I go three or four times to Europe and three or four times to China a year, and I enjoy that. That's why I go.
Q. What advice would you give a young guy playing his first Masters about the tournament in general and about playing the course?
JACK NICKLAUS: Watch, observe. I go back to my first Masters. And the first year I played, I played pretty well from tee-to-green. I hit 31 of 36 greens. That obviously means I didn't play 72. (Laughter) I shot 76-74 or 74-76, I don't remember which way it was. But I had eight 3-putt greens in 36 holes and got done with that and found out Arnold was leading the tournament. Arnold was at 141. He was leading the tournament and I was out of the tournament at 150. Arnold had hit 19 greens in regulation and was leading the tournament.
I said, you'd better learn how to chip-and-putt and understand what happens on this golf course. That's what I learned. You know, I learned by watching and seeing and seeing what people did. You didn't have to hit every green and you didn't have to -- you had to be able to learn how to admit this. This is a golf course you have to manage around the greens. It's not any different than going around any other golf course hitting it tee-to-green. It's a good golf course tee-to-green but you still have to play good solid drives and good, solid second shots and so forth. You have to think your way around this golf course.
So for a young guy coming in, some first timers have done reasonably well here. I think Lima did very well his first time here I recall. Fuzzy won the first time he played, didn't he, and I think someone else did very well the first time he played, not too long ago, somebody, I'm not sure who it was. Doesn't happen too often. Most of the time it's playing here two or three years to learn something. So watch, don't be focused so much on yourself, be focused on what happens in the tournament and how people play the golf course.
Q. A couple of questions ago you had your designer's hat on. How has the world of golf course design changed so much in the last -- sense you were doing the Muirfields?
JACK NICKLAUS: You look at Augusta, Augusta is as good an example as any. This is a totally different golf course than when I was winning here. I'm going back here and we are talking about Morocco, the course is an old Trent Jones golf course, which is a very nice golf course, Dar Es Salam in Rabat, and they struggled to break 4- or 5-under par. Now they are shooting 25-under par. The game has changed. Driving has to be more accurate. I don't like to have every hole be a big hole. I think that -- try to take the driver out of somebody's hands three or four times in a round for a big hitter, I think really allows the Fred Funks or the Gary players of the world to compete because their strong suit has been accuracy and iron play.
So I would like to see how you blend the long player and short player better to make it a better golf course rather than just stretch it out and hit it as hard as you can. Those are the kind of things I think you do.
Today, the greens are more like these greens here. This course here without these greens here is relatively defenseless in today's modern game. Even with the changes on the golf course, these greens make this golf course. That's why I say, I think you have to put a little more spice in your greens today to have some defense on your course and that's the only thing, members will have to put up with a little bit more of that for people who play it every day. If you have an interest in having a tournament at your golf course, otherwise your course is never going to have it because it can never understand the onslaught of what these guys can do.
Q. Given the success he's had at three of the four course the majors will be at this year, some people think Tiger will get very close by the end of this year, wondering what you thought about the opportunity he looks to have this year, and your opinion if that might have had anything to do with him deciding to start his season here this week?
JACK NICKLAUS: Yes, yes and yes. Probably. (Laughter) I think that -- I said earlier this year, they asked me if Tiger would not play this year and I said what did I think about my record, I said I think it would be a lot more difficult because he kept three of the golf courses we are playing are courses he likes very much, obviously Augusta and Pebble Beach and St. Andrews, he's done pretty well on.
I said, I didn't think there would be any way he was going to end up not playing those tournaments. If I think if he did not play those would it be more difficult? Yeah, it would be more difficult. Could he possibly do it? Yes. But it would be more difficult.
What other point did he have?
Q. Just the opportunity this year?
JACK NICKLAUS: I never expected him to pass that up. I fully expected to see him here.
Q. As someone who knows your place of history in the game as well as his to this point, how much do you think he's hurt himself and how shocked are by the amount he seems to have --
JACK NICKLAUS: Well that's a pretty hard question for me to answer. I don't think I'll answer it.
Q. In your prime you were pretty open about putting yourself in position and putting yourself in that spot down the stretch, you won a few on your own and to some degree, a few were delivered to you by others?
JACK NICKLAUS: Absolutely.
Q. Was your image and aura a part of that at all as far as you can tell, when guys would say, oh, boy, here comes Nicklaus?
JACK NICKLAUS: Guys say that to me, they come back and says, you're coming down the stretch, we all knew you were there. We knew you were not going to lose it. And that's basically the way I played. I lost some tournaments because guys beat me and I probably lost some because I didn't probably -- probably wasn't aggressive but I think I probably would have blown some if I had been aggressive. So I think it probably sort of worked its way out.
I always felt that -- and it's no different than today. You see Tiger on the leaderboard and they see them coming along and the guys start watching the leaderboard, they start worrying about Tiger. They can't do anything about him. Nobody could do anything about me either. All they can do about is themselves. If they can play their own game -- I just played my own game, did what I thought I needed to do. If I saw somebody really got moving and I had to take some chances , yeah, then I would take some chances. If I didn't, I didn't want to do that, let them beat themselves.
Q. You walked into part two of my question. You transitioned nicely. Given all that's happened with Tiger and he's proven to be human and mortal and if you cut him, he will bleed, we have all been reading what's been happening. Do you think his aura might be slightly diminished and his air of invincibility might be tarnished?
JACK NICKLAUS: As a golfer, no. I mean, why? Why it be as a golfer? I mean, you know, he's --
Q. In theory. He's not ten feet tall and bulletproof I guess anymore.
JACK NICKLAUS: But that has not been in his golf game. It's had nothing to do with him as a golfer. As a golfer, he has not played for five months. He has not played for five months. That, as a golfer, would be the only issue I would have him as a golfer.
That's why I was very surprised that he didn't play a tournament before Augusta. I thought he would play because I think he needed to have a little bit -- I go back to '86 when I think about that. And Seve came into the Masters in '86, and I remember we were talking up at the Masters dinner. He said, "Oh, I haven't played very much this spring. I'm not very sharp." He said, "I just haven't had enough competition."
And I kept waiting for Seve to make a mistake, all week, and when he hit the shot at 15 in the water, that was purely somebody who had not been playing a lot of competition. And if you watched his swing on it, I mean, it was quite obvious that he just quit on the shot, because he just -- he obviously didn't have a positive feeling about himself, and he hit it in the water. I knew exactly when he hit in the water, I was on 17 tee and I heard the groans and I heard the cheers and I said, well, Seve hit it in the water. That's exactly what it was. Obviously people that did like him and people that don't like him -- which I don't like that part of it; and that happened.
And Tiger not being sharp, you know, he understands that himself, that he is probably not as sharp as he will be a month from now. But, you know, he's here, and him not sharp is still pretty good.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you, Jack. Appreciate it very much.
JACK NICKLAUS: No, I have a few more minutes. Let's try something else. If anybody has got anything other than Tiger questions, let's finish a couple of those.
Q. You gave a couple of references to St. Andrews. You played the Walker Cup I believe on a links course. Does playing Augusta help you at all the first time you get to a links course?
JACK NICKLAUS: No.
Q. And what do you have to learn and how do you learn it if you have not ever been there?
JACK NICKLAUS: The links course? You learn it by go playing it. I don't think this golf course helps you as a links course. Rarely have the conditions been where you would stand out on the fifth fairway, occasionally, stand out on the fifth fairway and say no way I'm going to play that 3-iron from a 160-yard shot and bounce it in the with a running shot. You don't do that. I mean, I have, but how often, once out of 50 rounds? And the same at 14. No, I don't think there's enough. Jones wanted to have a linksy-type golf course here, but it's not the right round for links.
Q. Do they just have to pick it up themselves as they play it?
JACK NICKLAUS: Well, you know, in my case, first time I played in Britain was Muirfield, Walker Cup Matches. I just love it. I just got a great big kick out of it. I went down to Sandwich to play Lytham, and I just loved going down there and playing. Every time I went over it was like a new experience. It was like, man, I have a different game I'm going to play to this week. I have to go over for a week in advance, I have to learn how to play this game again, I'm changing golf balls, changing golf clubs, doing everything. I just had a blast. But the only way you learn it is to do it and I think that's the only way you learn this golf course is the same thing, just play it.
Q. Any chance you might play more than the one golf shot Thursday?
JACK NICKLAUS: I don't think I'd be allowed to. The only thing that's good about that, I don't have to go chase it. (Laughter) doesn't make any difference where I hit it. I have never seen anybody follow one of those shots yet. No, we are not going to play anymore.
Q. The pace of life for kids today is so fast, what is your experience with your grandchildren take to the game or not?
JACK NICKLAUS: They don't play, very little. Gary and GT, Gary Thomas, junior, they won the member best-ball challenge at the Bear's Club today. They shot 61 in best-ball today and won their tournament by one, and GT called me on the phone when I was getting out of here tonight. He's seven years old, and in the last month, he shot -- he's broken 50 about four or five times from the ladies' tees. I mean, at the Bear's Club, he can play.
None of the other ones play. Now, I think the reason for that is that Gary has spent -- my son, Gary, has spent a lot of time with him and that's what you've got to do. If you want to teach them to play golf, you introduce them, he's played all other sports, too. But he's introduced him to golf. He loves it. He just can't get enough. He gets up early in the morning before he gets into his schoolwork in the day, he makes his dad take him to the golf course to hit balls. Now, none of the other ones have ever gotten into it. Do they play? Yeah, three or four of them can break 80, but they are not dedicated to playing golf, and that's okay.
And that's fine. They are playing football, they are playing lacrosse, they are playing baseball, they are playing whatever they like to play. And I think that's fine. Will some of them probably ultimately end up playing golf? Yeah, I think one or two of them might, but none of the older ones; the younger ones.
Q. You contended with Hogan and Palmer, where does that theatre and convergence rank in your personal scrapbook, and where do you think it rates in the game's history?
JACK NICKLAUS: Well, hard for me to rate it in the game's history but in my personal scrapbook when my dad came in and said, "Guess who you're playing the last two rounds with."
He says, "Hogan."
It was like, you know, I'm going to get a chance to play with Ben Hogan. That was exciting. And so I did what I just told the gentleman back here; I watched. I almost won the golf tournament but I wasn't doing what I was doing. I was watching Hogan play golf, because I was going to learn from how he played golf and I learned a ton that day watching him play.
The nicest compliment I got from that is the next time I saw Hogan was here in the locker room. He walked in, and I had been at the golf course. He walked in and says, "Hey, Fella. You got a game." That was the nicest compliment I had. He saw this young kid and wanted to watch this young kid. And so we played there and Oakland Hills and we played a lot of practice rounds together.
It was a great opportunity for me to learn. As it relates to that tournament, I go back and look at it. Should I have won it -- if I had a brain -- because Hogan said, if I knew how to win, I would have won. But I didn't know how to win at 20 years old, not against the guys. I didn't have enough experience.
But came close. That was a great tournament for me. I really enjoyed that.
Q. What did you learn --
JACK NICKLAUS: Oh, man, I learned how to play golf. That could take me about three or for more hours to tell you. I learned how to play golf. Hogan, the first time he missed a green was the 35th hole we played, and he hit the ball in the fairway, he managed his game. He played little hooks, little slices, little short slots and he played conservative shots. And he made some putts and missed a lot putts. Hogan stood over a putt for abut an hour in those days.
They talk about all the putts he missed but he holed a ton of putts. He was my kind of guy to play with. We walked down the fairway; pleasantries. When you hit a good shot, if he said it was a good shot, you knew darned well it was a good shot. And if you didn't hit a good shot, you weren't expecting to hear anything, which you didn't.
He went about his business and I went about my business and I loved that. That's why I liked to play golf because I knew what a competitor he was and what an interesting man he was.
Q. Are you planning on going to the champions event in St. Andrews this summer?
JACK NICKLAUS: It really revolves around the Royal Bank of Scotland. If they want me to come and do work, yes. Am I going to go on my own to play four holes of golf at St. Andrews? No (laughter).
Q. Have you been there or played there since the 2005 Open?
JACK NICKLAUS: No. I have no real desire to go there as far as going to the Open. When I retired at 65, my desire to go to major championships is not exactly real large.
Now, I mean, I'm coming here to be the Honorary Starter, I am the member here, and you know, probably the real basic reason I come here is that each year one of my grandkids caddies for me in the par 3 and I have Jackie's second, his daughter, Christie, so I have the first girl caddying for me this year.
You know, they get a tremendous kick out of it and I get a kick out of having them. That's why I'm here.
Q. How do you feel about Angel Cabrera's menu? Blood sausage is on the menu.
JACK NICKLAUS: Oh, I hope he enjoys it. (Laughter) No, I'm sure it will be very good. I don't even know what blood sausage is.
Q. Looking back, I think there were only two times where you were leading going into -- after 54 holes at a major that you didn't win. There were two times you were leading after 54 holes and you didn't win, just wondering how mad, frustrated, how you looked at the next major after that, because we have that kind of scenario here where Tiger didn't win a major and was leading the first time after 54 holes.
JACK NICKLAUS: I never really knew what my record was until after Scott Tolley went back and looked it up. He says, you've won 18 majors leading 16 times -- is that what it is? No, no, I was leading 12 times and won ten of the 12 times. That's what it was. I said, "So my record is not terrible." I held on it win. I didn't have a clue what it was because I didn't pay any attention.
Q. But did it matter to you that you lost a major the next time around?
JACK NICKLAUS: I never looked at it that way. Every time I lost a major and I was in contention, I didn't like it. Nobody likes it. I mean, nobody -- I shouldn't say nobody, the person who did it doesn't like it. I love playing majors.
I love winning majors and I love being in contention in majors and as long as I gave it my best shot, at least I felt was my best shot, I could handle that. What I didn't like was when I gave it away. I gave it away at Lytham. That was inexperience. I bogeyed the last two holes thinking that I needed -- that I could actually bogey both holes and tie. I miscalculated what was happening on the golf course with Rogers and Charles.
But I shouldn't be thinking about what they did on the golf course because that's what my mistake was. I should have been paying attention to what Jack Nicklaus was doing and that's when I learned I can't control them; I can only control me. I stopped paying attention to them and started paying attention to me and that's what I learned from that tournament.
Q. St. Andrews, were you one of the people that fell in the love with the place when you first saw it?
JACK NICKLAUS: In '59 for the Walker Cup Matches, my father went over with three of his friends. And they came back that night, and I knew nothing about St. Andrews, absolutely nothing. They said, Jack, that's the worst golf course I have ever seen. I think one had 13 3-putts, one had 14 3-putts, one had 15 and the other had 16. They said, "Man, what a cow pasture, that's the worst thing I've ever seen."
I said, so when I went there in '64, I didn't know what I was going to expect. I walked in and I saw what was there. I was a kid. And so I walk in and I saw this stuff, I said, kind of neat, look at the history, look how what they did, and it withstood the test of time. I felt in love with it on day one. I went back to my dad and I said, "Dad, better reevaluate this, because this is a pretty neat place." And he fell in love with it, too, because I played well and he followed and he finally came back to understand it.
The Americans going over there to play, and the time of year -- they were over there in May and playing St. Andrews, which is not being prepared for a major championship, and for those days, the golf courses were in terrible condition in the spring. You know what I'm talking about, most of you people have been over there and today they are not that way. But that's what they were then.
Q. Can you share memories of 1970?
JACK NICKLAUS: Best memory I've got is I won. I had Sanders in the playoff. I do remember one thing, and people don't remember, but when Sanders and I in the playoff made the turn at the loop, they clocked the wind at 56 miles an hour. I did not even think about the wind at that point. It was 56 miles an hour with a small ball and you didn't even think about it.
Q. The assumption for a while now is that Tiger will pass your record in major championships; do you still think that's the case, and why or why not?
JACK NICKLAUS: Well, I think this year will have an awful lot to do with that. And I said if he didn't play this year, he will have a hard time. But he is going to play this year. I expect him to be focused on playing, and you know he's pretty good when he focused on playing.
So I would say the chances are pretty darned good. Matter of fact, I think if he doesn't, I'll still be very surprised. I mean, that's what he's focused his game on. He's won just about half or better than half of the last 50 tournaments he's played, something like that. That's a pretty good record. I mean, nobody's done that. Jones was the only guy who came close to doing something like that.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you.
End of FastScripts