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May 30 2012

5:54 PM

Nicklaus on Bubba, Tiger and Arnold

Interview: Jack Nicklaus

The host of the Memorial meets the media during his traditional Wednesday news conference.

DUBLIN, Ohio -- As he does prior to every Memorial Tournament, Jack Nicklaus held an engaging interview session for the media on Wednesday. Among the topics were clip-on ties, the 1962 U.S. Open, Bubba Watson, slow play and family. Here are some of the highlights.

ON BUBBA WATSON: "He's got, to put it mildly, a rather unique golf swing, and I think that's to his credit, which is to me what the game is all about, is learning who you are and what you are and what you do. You know, people criticize Furyk for his golf swing, but Jim knows what he does and how he does it.  You look at some other golf swings and you see what you think is a perfect golf swing, but sometimes they don't know what they're doing with it. Bubba knows what he's doing with his golf club. He had to learn that. He had to learn how to do that. I think that's what's so unique about it and what's so good about it.’

ON SWING INSTRUCTORS: "When I was 19, Bobby Jones invited me down to his cabin at the Masters. My father and I went down. ... He said I had my seven lean years, and he said, every time I'd play, I'd run back to Stewart Maiden, who was his teacher, and get a lesson for the problems I was having, and so forth and so on. He said, it wasn't until I learned that I didn't need to run back to Sterling or didn't want to run back to Sterling that I became a golfer. ... Jack Grout taught me from the start. He said I need to be responsible for my own swing and understand when I have problems on the golf course how I can correct those problems on the golf course myself without having to run back to somebody. And during the years that I was playing most of my competitive golf, I saw Jack Grout maybe once or twice a year for maybe an hour. If I was in the Miami area or something, I'd run down and see Jack and we'd spend about an hour and we'd spend five minutes on the golf swing and an hour catching up. But he taught me young the fundamentals of the game.  He taught me how to assess what I was doing. When I made a mistake, when I was doing things, how do you on the golf course fix that without putting yourself out of a golf tournament and then teaching yourself. You've heard me say in many press conferences, I'm not hesitant to change my golf swing in the fourth round of the U.S. Open or the Masters midway in the round if I didn't like what I was doing, because I felt like if I didn't like what I was doing, pretty soon it was going to get me."

ON TIGER WOODS' SWING: "I sat with Arnold over here and I had Tiger over here at the Masters dinner this year, and Arnold and I, I can't remember what we were talking about because Arnold couldn't hear me, I guess, but we had a great time. We kid each other constantly, so we have a good time. And then Tiger over here ... I was asking him, Why do you need somebody to watch you all the time? He said, I really don't.  He said, I go to Sean and I get some ideas, but then I really go work on it myself and try to learn what I want to do and how I want to do it, which I think is the right way. I said, If you're doing that, you're on the right track, but all I read in the papers is how Sean is making a swing change on you. He said, That's not what I'm doing. I said, Okay, that's fine then, because he's trying to be responsible for himself."

ON THE 1962 U.S. OPEN AT OAKMONT: “Going to Oakmont it sounds funny, may sound ridiculous to all of you, but I didn't know who Arnold Palmer was for all intents and purposes. I didn't mean it that way, but what I mean is that all I had to do was worry about myself. I wasn't worried about Arnold or Gary or whoever might be there. I was interested because I felt like I really had the chance to win those two previous (Opens), and I had just finished second the week before to (Gene) Littler at Thunderbird and I was really playing well and I was charged up to play, and that was my sole thought was that this was my week. All of a sudden I found out I was in Arnold Palmer's backyard, but I found that out a couple weeks later after the tournament was over because I didn't pay attention to it while I was there. I don't know if you understand that, but that's what a 22-year-old kid thinks like. Maybe even a 16-year-old kid."

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