Nicklaus Talks Pres Cup Tiger and Vijay


2005 PGA ChampionshipSPRINGFIELD, N.J. ' Bet you all thought you were done with me.
That was Jack Nicklaus first remark as he entered the media center Wednesday.
Nicklaus, who last played in the PGA Championship in 2000 at Valhalla, was on hand as an Honorary Chairman. He was recognized with a plaque on the 18th tee of the Lower Course at Baltusrol, where he won the 1967 and 1980 U.S. Opens.
Its a nice honor, said the five-time PGA champion. I think they picked an appropriate place.
Jack Nicklaus
Jack Nicklaus held court on a number of topics Wednesday at Baltusrol.
Nicklaus is not in attendance in a competitive role, having bowed out of major championship competition at last months Open Championship. But he will be keeping an eye on the event, as his U.S. Presidents Cup team will be finalized this week.
I know pretty much what Im going to do, but Im not even ' Im not going to announce that until next week, said Nicklaus, who announced Jeff Sluman as his assistant captain once again Wednesday, and will reveal his two captains selections Monday.
The U.S. team, which is determined based on earnings, is pretty much set from Nos. 1-8. But the ninth and 10th positions ' the final automatic spots ' are up for grabs, with Davis Love III and Scott Verplank holding those two places respectively.
Justin Leonard is currently 11th; Zach Johnson 12th; and Chad Campbell 13th. Points are doubled at a major.
What I look for is something balanced on the team. Depends on who ends up in the ninth and 10th places; depending on who ends up there as to who I might pick. I may go for youth; I may go for some experience, depending on whats there.
Nicklaus' U.S. team will take on Gary Player's International squad, which will also be finalized this week, Sept. 22-25 at Robert Trent Jones Golf Club in Lake Manassas, Va.
Nicklaus also touched on a variety of other topics Wednesday:
On the first time he saw Vijay Singh:
I dont know, 15 years ago or so, watching him come on the European Tour, and I watched this guy beating balls and never heard of him. I would go to Europe and see him hitting balls and I saw this beautiful golf swing, and they said, this guy is the hardest working guy Ive ever seen over here, and I said, well, if hes that hard of working, hes going to get somewhere. Its just taken Vijay a while to get there.
On the current state of Tiger Woods game:
I talked with Tiger quite a bit last night (at the Champions Dinner), and I told him I thought his swing plane at the British Open was the best Id ever seen it. I mean, Ive seen Tigers swing a lot in the last few years and I didnt think his swing plane was where he probably wanted it. But I thought at the British it was the best Id ever seen. So if its something similar to what he was using there, hes going to be very difficult again this week.
On where a win this week would rank Tigers 2005 season in the history of the game:
How do you compare what hes doing, because nobody has ever done what hes doing. Certainly I didnt. And certainly, you know, nobody else that you can go back and look at did anything like that. Hes dominated way beyond how anybodys ever dominated. I mean, I dominated and mine was dominated over a long period of time.
On comparing his rivals to that of Tiger:
I had guys that were stronger players, that had more experience at winning than Tiger has against him. But Tiger still has a lot of guys that play awfully, awfully well. Im not trying to degrade the players or knock down the players hes playing, but Im saying if we have fewer players and fewer players playing, they are going to win more championships and they are going to learn how to win more. And today with the competition, theres so many players out there that are good, they dont get the opportunity to win as much.
So when you get a guy who is used to winning, against guys who are not used to winning ' winning breeds winning is what Ive always said.
You realize, Arnold (Palmer) was 32 years old when I came along on the scene, and Tiger is 29. So sometime in the next three years a young Jack Nicklaus might come along to challenge Tiger, thats what Im saying. Or maybe nobody comes along and Tiger may win another 15 majors, who knows.
On if longer courses (like the 7,392-yard, par-70 Lower Course) are eliminating certain players from contending:
Yeah, unfortunately I think its the truth. The issue that I have is that if you arent a power player, you cant play. And you take the Gary Players, the Jackie Burkes, the Ben Hogans, Gardner Dickinsons ' theres hundreds of guys who are small of stature who didnt have the clubhead speed that they have today but they competed when they played well on certain golf courses they could play on. Thats not the case today, because of all the length and because of all the power and because of all the emphasis on how far the golf ball goes.
Little guys have a hard time playing this game anymore. I just dont like to see people eliminated because of physical stature. It should be ability and how you hit your golf shots and the way you can make your putts.
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