By Matt McCoy
Memorial Tournament host Jack Nicklaus met with the media in what was an entertaining 44 minutes with reporters. Jack touched on several subjects including the Memorial Tournament, Phil Mickelson's quest for the career grand slam, the evolution of Muirfield Village, his early days as a pro and Tiger Woods.
To listen to Jack's visit with reporters click here:
Here are some of the highlights from Jack's presser.
On the Memorial Tournament: "I think the tournament has evolved very nicely. We haven't positioned ourselves to be anything more than what we are and I think we're a good tournament...one of the top tournaments in the game. We haven't positioned ourselves to be a major. That's not been our goal. We positioned ourselves to try to be a service to the game of golf, no different than what Augusta (The Masters) started out to do. That was sort of my guiding light to what I wanted to do and I think we do pretty well."
On Phil Mickelson, yet to win the US Open, going after the career Grand Slam: "(When Jack played) there wasn't much fanfare from my side or anybody else's (about winning the career Grand Slam). My fanfare was winning the British Open (in 1966--the last of the four Majors Jack won). I never even thought much about career Grand Slam. I was trying to win it in one year not in a bunch of years."
Jack was asked about a comment made by Lee Trevino, that if Jack played with today's equipment, he would have driven the ball 400 yards in his prime. Does Jack buy that?: "Oh sure...what else do you want me to say? I don't know how far I would hit it...but (I won) the PGA driving championship driving contest in 1963 and it was 341 yards, 17 inches...but that was with a 42 3/4 inch wood driver. It's a little different than what we use today."
With so many young players on tour, like 20-year old Jordan Spieth, Nicklaus was asked about the decision process he went through to turn pro: "I had three jobs I was working at the same time...I was working Ohio State life insurance company, I was working for Parker and Company which was a brokerage firm out of New York and I was working for a slack company...and I was making close to $30,000 a year. That's pretty good for a 20-year old back in 1960. I thought about playing the tour (then) but you had to be probably in the top five to be making $30,000 a year, so money was not the issue when I turned pro. Today it's a whole different deal. You have a guy turn pro today and if he plays decent he can go out and make $5 million on the tour. I turned pro because it was my access to playing against the best. I wanted to be the best at what I could be. I decided I didn't really care about being the best insurance salesman. I really wanted to be the best at playing golf...so that was why I turned pro."
On the injured Tiger Woods, pursing Jack's record of 18 major championships: "If he's healthy, I think Tiger's got 10 plus years to play top quality tournament golf. He's got a little over 40 major championships and he's only got to win five to pass my record. As good of a player as he is, I don't think that should be a big deal."