Golf Talk Live - Jack Nicklaus Transcript Segment 2

By Golf Channel DigitalApril 5, 1999, 4:00 pm
(SINGING BY CADDY QUARTET - AIR AS IS)

PETER KESSLER
YOUR LIFELONG FRIEND AND TEACHER, JACK GROUT, BEFORE HE PASSED AWAY SENT YOU A BEAUTIFUL LETTER TALKING ABOUT NOT ONLY A CONVERSATION THAT YOU HAD JUST HAD ON THE TELEPHONE BUT REFERENCING YOU WERE BEING VOTED 'PLAYER OF THE CENTURY'.

AND HE MADE THE COMMENT INSIDE THE LETTER THAT HE THOUGHT IT WAS MUCH MORE IMPORTANT THAT YOU BE A GREAT SPORTSMAN AS OPPOSED A GREAT PLAYER. WHAT DID THAT COMPLIMENT MEAN TO YOU WHEN, OF COURSE, HE WAS SAYING THAT HE THOUGHT YOU WERE EVERY BIT THE SPORTSMAN THAT YOU WERE A PLAYER?

JACK NICKLAUS
WELL, I THINK THAT JACK UH . JACK WAS A WONDERFUL GUY. I MEAN, HE WAS LIKE ANOTHER FATHER TO ME, PETER.

AND UH, JACK WAS ALWAYS UH . UH FELT AS THOUGH, UH, THE GAME OF GOLF WAS OBVIOUSLY A GIFT TO ME AND THAT HE WAS ENHANCING THAT GIFT.

YOU KNOW, I ALWAYS FELT LIKE THAT UH . UH, YOU KNOW, JACK GROUT ALWAYS SAID HE - THAT HE CAME ALONG AT THE RIGHT TIME TO HAVE A PUPIL LIKE JACK NICKLAUS. AND I SAID I ALWAYS CAME ALONG AT THE RIGHT TIME TO HAVE A TEACHER LIKE JACK GROUT.

BUT ANYWAY, OUR RELATIONSHIP WAS ONE THAT UH . WE'D GO TO THE PRACTICE TEE AND WE MAYBE TALKED ABOUT GOLF ONE OUT OF TEN TIMES ON THE PRACTICE TEE. WE JUST ENJOYED EACH OTHER'S COMPANY.

AND WE TALKED ABOUT SPORTS ALL THE TIME. AND WE TALKED ABOUT HOW TO HANDLE YOURSELF AND HOW TO .

HOW TO BEHAVE AND HOW TO, HOW TO DO THIS. SO I THINK JACK WAS REALLY SAYING THAT HE WAS, I THINK, MORE PROUD OF ME OF THE WAY I HANDLED MYSELF THAN NECESSARILY THE WAY I PLAYED GOLF.

HE TOOK MY GOLF FOR GRANTED. IT WAS THE OTHER PART THAT HE WAS REALLY PLEASED TO HAVE BEEN PART OF.

PETER KESSLER
WHEN BOBBY JONES MADE THE COMMENT ABOUT YOUR GAME AS OPPOSED TO YOUR SPORTSMANSHIP AFTER YOU SET THE RECORD IN '65 AND HE SAID WHAT'S NOW A FAMOUS LINE,

'JACK NICKLAUS PLAYS A GAME WITH WHICH I'M NOT FAMILIAR.' WELL MY REACTION'S ALWAYS BEEN, 'HE WAS EXACTLY FAMILIAR' .

THAT HE WAS, IN HIS TIME, THE LONGEST HITTER OF THE GOLF BALL, THE BEST IRON PLAYER, THE BEST THINKER, THE BEST PUTTER,

THE SAME THINGS THAT YOU WERE IN YOUR TIME. DID YOU BELIEVE THAT HE MEANT IT EXACTLY AS IT CAME OUT OR DID YOU THINK IT'S JUST ONE OF THOSE NICE THINGS THAT YOU SAY?

JACK NICKLAUS
WELL, THAT HE . I THINK THAT IT WAS A NICE THING THAT HE SAID. BUT I THINK THAT WHAT HE MEANT WAS THAT I HAD TAKEN AUGUSTA NATIONAL TO THE NEXT LEVEL.

IN OTHER WORDS, THE 64 THAT I SHOT IN THE 3RD ROUND, I HARDLY PLAYED MORE THAN A WEDGE ALL DAY LONG. I DON'T REMEMBER WHAT MY CLUBS WERE BUT .MAYBE I MIGHT HAVE PLAYED 4 AND 5-IRONS TO MAYBE THE PAR-5'S AND 9-IRONS TO WEDGES ON THE . ON THE REST OF THE HOLES.

AND THAT WAS A GAME ON THAT GOLF COURSE WHICH HE FELT HE WAS NOT FAMILIAR WITH.

AND, IT'S THE SAME THING THAT UH . I'M SURE THAT WHAT TIGER DID TO THAT GOLF COURSE 2 YEARS AGO WAS AGAIN A GAME THAT BOTH OF US WERE NOT FAMILIAR WITH.

SO AS TIMES AND ERAS CHANGE, YES, WE BOTH UNDERSTAND WHAT WE DID IN OUR TIME. BUT TIMES CHANGE AND PEOPLE GET BETTER. AND CERTAINLY, WHAT TIGER DID WAS NOT THE SAME GOLF COURSE THAT I PLAYED.

NOR IT'S NOT THE -- UH, GOLF COURSE I PLAYED, IT'S NOT THE SAME GOLF COURSE JONES PLAYED. BUT HE TORE APART A GOLF COURSE THAT WAS, UH, FAR MORE DIFFICULT THAN THE ONE I SET MY RECORD ON.

PETER KESSLER
WHEN PEOPLE COMPARE YOU AND JONES, IT'S DIFFICULT TO DO FOR A LOT OF OBVIOUS REASONS. HE RETIRED AT THE AGE OF 28. THE MAJORS WERE DIFFERENT FOR HIM. THE COMPETITION WASN'T AS DEEP.

HE DIDN'T HAVE AS QUITE A GLARE OF SPOTLIGHT ON HIM EVEN THOUGH IT WAS FAIRLY INTENSE FOR JONES AT THE TIME. WOULD YOU AGREE IN SUMMARY THAT JONES DID THE MOST OVER THE BRIEFEST PERIOD OF TIME AND THAT YOU DID THE MOST OVER THE GREATEST PERIOD OF TIME?

JACK NICKLAUS
WELL I THINK IT'S VERY DIFFICULT TO PROBABLY COMPARE ANY GOLFERS OR MANY ATHLETES PARTICULARLY OF DIFFERENT ERAS.

IN JONES' TIME, THAT WAS WHAT YOU DID. NOW BOBBY JONES, UH, AT THAT . IN THOSE DAYS, UH, I MEAN, WHAT, I THINK HE WHAT PLAYED 5 TOURNAMENTS IN 1930? THAT'S ALL HE PLAYED. I GUESS HE WON THE OTHER ONE TOO.

UH . BUT UH . UH .

HE REALLY DIDN'T HAVE A LOT ELSE TO PLAY IN OR TO PROVE HIMSELF. UH, AND I THINK THAT UH . UH .

HE PROBABLY . BECAUSE HE DIDN'T HAVE THAT MUCH MORE, THE PRESSURE ON EACH OF THOSE EVENTS WAS SO MAGNIFIED BEYOND WHAT WE HAVE TODAY TO WHERE UH .

YOU KNOW, HIS WAS ALL CONCENTRATED INTO ONE YEAR. I MEAN, OBVIOUSLY HE WON A LOT OF TOURNAMENTS OVER A PERIOD OF TIME. BUT MINE WAS CONCENTRATED, AS YOU SAY, OVER A LOT OF YEARS.

AND, YOU KNOW, I NEVER REALLY GOT TO THE POSITION OF FINDING OUT IF I HAPPENED TO HAVE WON THAT 3RD EVENT, WHAT WOULD HAVE HAPPENED AT THE 4TH ?

AND SO, I NEVER REALLY HAD ALL THAT BIG OF A PROBLEM AS I WENT THROUGH IT. YES, MINE WAS OVER A MUCH GREATER PACKED PERIOD OF TIME.

I THINK THAT JONES WAS PROBABLY A GREATER GOLFER OVER A SHORTER PERIOD OF TIME AND FAR MORE DOMINATING THAN I WAS.

BUT I WAS OBVIOUSLY DOMINATING FOR A LONGER PERIOD OF TIME OVER FAR MORE GOLFERS.

AND, YOU KNOW, AND . BUT HOW DO YOU COMPARE THEM? I MEAN, I CAN'T . I MEAN, HOGAN WAS DOMINATING FOR A VERY SHORT PERIOD OF TIME AGAIN OVER SOME . OVER . MORE GOLFERS THAN JONES BUT LESS GOLFERS THAN I PLAYED AGAINST.

SO, I MEAN, AND IT - HOW DO YOU COMPARE THEM? I MEAN, UH . JONES WOULD HAVE BEEN A CHAMPION WHEN I PLAYED. AND I THINK I PROBABLY WOULD HAVE BEEN A CHAMPION WHEN JONES PLAYED.

WOULD WE HAVE BEATEN EACH OTHER? YOU KNOW, WHO KNOWS. WHAT A NICE PROBLEM TO NEVER BE ABLE TO SOLVE.

PETER KESSLER
THAT 5TH TOURNAMENT THAT HE WON THAT YEAR WAS AT AUGUSTA COUNTRY CLUB, WHICH FOR PEOPLE WHO DON'T KNOW, OF COURSE, BORDERS AUGUSTA NATIONAL, HE HAD A 15 - HE HAD A 18 SHOT LEAD WITH 3 HOLES TO PLAY.

AND THERE'S A DELAY ON THE 16TH TEE AND HE SITS DOWN WITH TY COBB AND HAS A CHAT. HE GETS BACK UP AFTER A LONG DELAY AND GOES DOUBLE - DOUBLE - SINGLE AND WINS BY 13 SHOTS.

AND TY COBB NEVER STOPPED SCREAMING AT HIM FOR NOT CONCENTRATING THE LAST 3 HOLES.

HE HELPED??? -- HE WON . (LAUGH)

JACK NICKLAUS
I DIDN'T KNOW, I DIDN'T KNOW THAT.

PETER KESSLER
BY 13 SHOTS. AND JONES LATER SAID, 'THE BEST GOLF I PLAYED IN 1930 WAS RIGHT OVER THERE, AUGUSTA COUNTY CLUB.

JACK NICKLAUS
IS THAT RIGHT?

PETER KESSLER
WE'LL E RIGHT BACK. DON'T GO AW - WAIT, BEFORE WE GO WE'VE GOT SOME SHOTS FROM THE '63 MASTERS. JUST TOOK SOME QUICK HITS AND MISSES. LET ME GET YOUR THOUGHTS AS WE TAKE A LOOK.

HOW WAS THIS SWING, JACK?

JACK NICKLAUS
WELL THAT WAS LITTLE QUICKER AND UH A LITTLE BIT MORE POWERFUL THAN THE ONE I'M USED TO RIGHT NOW.

PETER KESSLER
HOW MUCH SLOWER WERE THE GREENS THEN, JACK?

THAN THEY ARE TODAY?

JACK NICKLAUS
UH .

NOT EVEN . NOT EVEN A COMPARISON. I MEAN, THE GREENS THEN WERE UH . I SUPPOSE IF YOU HAD A STEP-METER THEY WERE -- PROBABLY WOULD HAVE BEEN UH .

8, 9, I SUPPOSE, ON THE STEP-METER, AT THE MOST.

PETER KESSLER
HERE'S YOUR 1ST TEE SHOT LAST ROUND.

JACK NICKLAUS
HAD TO BE A HOOK.

PETER KESSLER
(LAUGH)

JACK NICKLAUS
I ALWAYS HIT . I ALWAYS HIT IT LEFT THERE WHEN I DIDN'T -- WHEN I NEEDED - COULD -- BUT

THAT WAS BEFORE THEY HAD TREES.

PETER KESSLER
DID YOU NOT COMPLETE YOUR BACKSWING ON THAT ONE?

JACK NICKLAUS
OH, I DON'T KNOW WHAT I DID, PROBABLY NOT.

LET'S SEE . I WORKED THAT HOLE THERE.

PETER KESSLER
THAT WAS A GREAT BOGEY PUTT ON 12 IN THE FINAL ROUND.

JACK NICKLAUS
WELL OBVIOUSLY I WASN'T VERY HAPPY WITH IT.

PETER KESSLER
(LAUGH)

IT WAS FROM 10 FEET. IT WAS A GOOD 4.

JACK NICKLAUS
NOW THAT ONE I WAS HAPPY WITH IT. I'VE HOLED SOME PUTTS ON 16 THAT UH . UH, WHY THEY HAPPEN ON THAT HOLE, I DON'T KNOW. BUT IT - I'VE CERTAINLY HOLED A FEW PUTTS THERE.

PETER KESSLER
NOW HERE'S THE ONE TO WIN. IT'S JUST A LITTLE SHORTER THAN THE LENGTH THAT YOU WOULD AS A KID DREAM THIS ONE'S FOR THE MASTERS WHEN YOU'RE PRACTICING?

JACK NICKLAUS
WELL AND LOOK AT, LOOK AT THE . THE THROWING OF THE HAT. I THINK I WAS CONTEMPLATING WHAT . WHAT WAS I GOING TO THROW WHEN I DID IT? IT WAS ABSOLUTELY, TOTALLY .

NON . YOU KNOW, IT WAS . IT JUST HAPPENED. BUT JUST -- IT WASN'T SOMETHING THAT UH . I WAS TRYING TO FIX. GEE, I GOTTA DO SOMETHING. (LAUGH)

PETER KESSLER
WE'LL BE RIGHT BACK BEFORE HE HITS DOUG SANDERS WITH HIS PUTTER. DON'T GO AWAY. (LAUGH)

JACK NICKLAUS
(LAUGH)

OKAY.

(BREAK)

NEXT SEGMENT
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USC's Gaston leaves to become head coach at A&M

By Ryan LavnerJune 19, 2018, 11:00 pm

In a major shakeup in the women’s college golf world, USC coach Andrea Gaston has accepted an offer to become the new head coach at Texas A&M.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Gaston, who informed her players of her decision Monday night, has been one of the most successful coaches over the past two decades, leading the Trojans to three NCAA titles and producing five NCAA individual champions during her 22-year reign. They have finished in the top 5 at nationals in an NCAA-record 13 consecutive seasons.

This year was arguably Gaston’s most impressive coaching job. She returned last fall after undergoing treatment for uterine cancer, but a promising season was seemingly derailed after losing two stars to the pro ranks at the halfway point. Instead, she guided a team with four freshmen and a sophomore to the third seed in stroke play and a NCAA semifinals appearance. Of the four years that match play has been used in the women’s game, USC has advanced to the semifinals three times.  

Texas A&M could use a coach with Gaston’s track record.

Last month the Aggies fired coach Trelle McCombs after 11 seasons following a third consecutive NCAA regional exit. A&M had won conference titles as recently as 2010 (Big 10) and 2015 (SEC), but this year the team finished 13th at SECs.

The head-coaching job at Southern Cal is one of the most sought-after in the country and will have no shortage of outside interest. If the Trojans look to promote internally, men’s assistant Justin Silverstein spent four years under Gaston and helped the team win the 2013 NCAA title.  

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Spieth 'blacked out' after Travelers holeout

By Will GrayJune 19, 2018, 9:44 pm

CROMWELL, Conn. – It was perhaps the most-replayed shot (and celebration) of the year.

Jordan Spieth’s bunker holeout to win the Travelers Championship last year in a playoff over Daniel Berger nearly broke the Internet, as fans relived that raucous chest bump between Spieth and caddie Michael Greller after Spieth threw his wedge and Greller threw his rake.

Back in Connecticut to defend his title, Spieth admitted that he has watched replays of the scene dozens of times – even if, in the heat of the moment, he wasn’t exactly choreographing every move.


Travelers Championship: Articles, photos and videos


“Just that celebration in general, I blacked out,” Spieth said. “It drops and you just react. For me, I’ve had a few instances where I’ve been able to celebrate or react on a 72nd, 73rd hole, 74th hole, whatever it may be, and it just shows how much it means to us.”

Spieth and Greller’s celebration was so memorable that tournament officials later shipped the rake to Greller as a keepsake. It’s a memory that still draws a smile from the defending champ, whose split-second decision to go for a chest bump over another form of celebration provided an appropriate cap to a high-energy sequence of events.

“There’s been a lot of pretty bad celebrations on the PGA Tour. There’s been a lot of missed high-fives,” Spieth said. “I’ve been part of plenty of them. Pretty hard to miss when I’m going into Michael for a chest bump.”

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Pregnant Lewis playing final events before break

By Randall MellJune 19, 2018, 9:27 pm

Stacy Lewis will be looking to make the most of her last three starts of 2018 in her annual return to her collegiate roots this week.

Lewis, due to give birth to her first child on Nov. 3, will tee it up in Friday’s start to the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship at Pinnacle Country Club in Rogers, Arkansas. She won the NCAA individual women’s national title in 2007 while playing at the University of Arkansas. She is planning to play the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship next week and then the Marathon Classic two weeks after that before taking the rest of the year off to get ready for her baby’s arrival.

Lewis, 33, said she is beginning to feel the effects of being with child.

“Things have definitely gotten harder, I would say, over the last week or so, the heat of the summer and all that,” Lewis said Tuesday. “I'm actually excited. I'm looking forward to the break and being able to decorate the baby's room and do all that kind of stuff and to be a mom - just super excited.”

Lewis says she is managing her energy levels, but she is eager to compete.

“Taking a few more naps and resting a little bit more,” she said. “Other than that, the game's been pretty good.”

Lewis won the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship in 2014, and she was credited with an unofficial title in ’07, while still a senior at Arkansas. That event was reduced to 18 holes because of multiple rain delays. Lewis is a popular alumni still actively involved with the university.

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Just like last year, Spieth in desperate need of a spark

By Will GrayJune 19, 2018, 8:38 pm

CROMWELL, Conn. – Jordan Spieth has arrived at the Travelers Championship in need of a turnaround. Again.

Spieth’s playoff victory last year over Daniel Berger, complete with a bunker hole-out and raucous celebration, went down as one of the most electrifying moments of 2017. It also propelled Spieth to some more major glory, as he won The Open in his very next start.

So it’s easy to forget the state of Spieth’s game when he first stepped foot on the grounds of TPC River Highlands a year ago. Things were, quite plainly, not going well.

He was struggling on the greens, even going so far as to switch putters at the AT&T Byron Nelson. He then failed to contend at Erin Hills, only netting a T-35 finish thanks to a final-round 69 that came hours before the leaders teed off.

So here we are again, with Spieth in search of a spark after a series of underwhelming performances that included last week’s effort at Shinnecock Hills, where he bogeyed the last two holes of his second round to miss the cut by a shot. Except this time, the climb back to the top may be even steeper than it was a year ago.

“I’m not sure where the state of my game is right now,” Spieth said. “If I strike the ball the way I have been this year, then the results are coming. But the last couple weeks I’ve played Muirfield and then the (U.S.) Open, and I hit the ball really poorly and didn’t give myself that many opportunities to let the putter do the work.”

While many big names play sporadically in the time between the Masters and U.S. Open, Spieth remained as busy as ever thanks to the Tour’s swing through Texas. So even after failing to contend much in the spring outside of a memorable finale in Augusta, and even after struggling for much of his week at TPC Sawgrass, Spieth looked out at his schedule and saw a myriad of possible turning points.

There was the AT&T Byron Nelson, played in his hometown and at a venue on which he was one of only a handful with any experience (T-21). Then a trip across town to Colonial, where he had beaten all but two players in a three-year stretch (T-32).


Travelers Championship: Articles, photos and videos


Throw in the missed cuts at Muirfield Village and Shinnecock Hills, and Spieth has made it to the last leg of a six-event stretch that has included only one off week and, to date, zero chances to contend come Sunday.

“I think here this week, the key for me is just to get out in the first round and try not to do too much,” Spieth said. “I mean, 90-plus percent of the tournaments the last two years I’ve thrown out my chances to win a golf tournament on Thursday. I’ve had too much to do from here on.”

That was certainly the case last week on Long Island, where Spieth’s hopes for a fourth major title evaporated well before course conditions became a focal point over the weekend. He was 4 over through his first two holes and spent much of the next 34 stuck in a fit of frustration. He gave himself a glimmer of hope with four late birdies Friday followed by a pair of bogeys that snuffed it out with equal speed.

Spieth has continued to preach patience throughout the year, but there’s no getting around some eye-popping stats; he's 188th on Tour this year in strokes gained: putting and 93rd in fairways hit. It can foster a pressure to find a cure-all in any given week, especially given how quickly he got a middling summer back on track last year.

“It’s something that you fight, sure,” Spieth said. “It’s been that way just about every tournament except Muirfield, because then you go to the U.S. Open and think you don’t even have to shoot under par to win this golf tournament. So as much as that kind of comes into your head, it’s not bothering me this time. I’m going to try and have fun, and make progress.”

After this week, Spieth will have some down time with family before making the trip overseas to Carnoustie. He plans to have a few private dinners accompanied by the claret jug, one last toast to last year’s success before turning the trophy back over to the R&A.

But even Spieth admitted that as it pertains to his chances to follow in Brooks Koepka’s footsteps by successfully defending a major title, he’ll be greatly aided by working his way into the mix this weekend. It represents the last chance in this early-summer swing to get his name back on the leaderboard, an opportunity to light fire to a pedestrian campaign like he did a year ago.

No pressure.

“It’s your basic stuff that sometimes gets off, that the harder you try to get them back on sometimes, the worse it gets,” Spieth said. “It can be frustrating, or you can just kind of wait for it to come to you. I think I’m OK with where things are, whether it’s the rest of this year or next year. I feel like there are good scores coming.”