The Ryder Cup isn't about winning.
“To me the competition is incidental,” Nicklaus said Thursday at a charity event in Aldie, Va., as reported by USA Today. “Who wins bragging rights – and I know everyone wants to win – but that’s not the important thing. The important thing is the game of golf and people having good relations and goodwill.
“The Ryder Cup to me – we make a little bigger deal out of it than I think should be ... It’s a great event to have bragging rights for Europe or bragging rights for America. It’s a great format; it’s a great competition. There’s a lot of nice things about it, but I wish we wouldn’t make such a war out of it.”
Nicklaus also hasn't been a big fan of the task force that was created to analyze the Americans' approach to the competition after their most recent loss, in 2014.
“That’s part of the things that I think is a little overkill,” he said. “They liked it; that’s what they wanted. I certainly didn’t have my nose in the middle of it so I sort of stayed out of it. But they felt it [the task force] was going to get them a little more together and more unified as a team and so forth. That’s OK. I’m 40 years removed from that team as far as a player, maybe my old-folks ideas aren’t necessarily the right ones. Maybe theirs are the right ones.I don't know. I just never thought you made that big a deal out of it.”
Nicklaus said the task force only raises expectations for the U.S. team.
“I don’t really see the necessity to put the pressure on the young guys to win the Ryder Cup,” he said. “They’ve got enough pressure on them week after week. When I was playing we had four major championships. Now we have four major championships, four world championships, the Players Championship, we’ve got the Olympics. We’ve got other significant events, they play all around the world.”
“I enjoyed playing the Ryder Cup, but I couldn’t tell you who I played or who I lost to, what my record was or anything else, I have no clue."
Despite downplaying the importance of winning, Nicklaus does think the U.S. will win this year. “People say why are the Europeans winning? I think it goes in cycles. I think the Americans have a better team this year. I think the Americans will win – they may or may not – but I think they will win this year. I think Davis has done a nice job, the guys want to play.”
Are you the ultimate Ryder Cup fanatic? Send in your video by clicking here.