Golden hour: Nicklaus talks Big 3, Tiger, Muirfield

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DUBLIN, Ohio – As always, one of the highlights of the Memorial Tournament is when host Jack Nicklaus stops into the media center for an ask-me-anything session with reporters.

Some highlights after an hour with the Golden Bear.

On the latest version of the "Big 3": "I think it creates interest within the press, creates interest with the fans. It gives you something to write about and talk about, which I think is good. But don't be too surprised if somebody else doesn't jump into there, too. That's my point. I think we have more good players today than we've ever had in the game of golf. And I think that's saying a lot because we had a lot of good players when I played."

On Tiger Woods not playing: "I think Tiger will be back. I think Tiger would have liked to have played this week. He's just not ready."

On comparing his game to today's best players: "They all have better short games than I had."

On Jordan Spieth's collapse at the Masters: "He'll learn from that, and it will be one of the best things that ever happened to him. That's certainly the way I look at it."

On putting at Oakmont: "Oakmont and Augusta National are probably the top two set of greens in the country. Oakmont, they never get as fast as here, nor did Augusta ever get as fast as here (Muirfield Village). We never had the pitch in. We never put it in. They've got a lot of pitch. Both golf courses have a lot of pitch. Oakmont could run at 9 or 10 (on the Stimpmeter) and be almost impossible."

On reports the USGA will have Oakmont at 14 on the Stimpmeter for the U.S. Open: "Nobody will finish. If they're truly at 14, they won't finish. It would be a really tough golf course at that speed."

On there not being world rankings when he played: "I'm glad there weren't. I never thought about being No. 1. I just kept trying to be No. 1."

On his definition of a successful year: "I never considered a year that I didn't win a major a successful year."

On Muirfield voting to not admit women and being taken out of the Open rota: "They'll change."

On his response to the heckling he endured at the 1962 U.S. Open at Oakmont: "If anybody got the last word, I got the last word. I won. I guess that's the way it worked."