Featured Golf News
Nicklaus Speaks Out About Memorial Tournament
Jack Nicklaus was on hand Tuesday at the site of Memorial Tournament, Muirfield Village Golf Club in Dublin, Ohio. Golf's "Golden Bear" discussed a variety of subjects, including the participation in the event he hosts of the game's two top-rated players, Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson.
Nicklaus will be playing in the 10-man Memorial Skins Game on Wednesday. The $100,000, nine-hole event will benefit The First Tee. Nicklaus will play in the first group with Masters champion Mickelson, Sean O'Hair, Kenny Perry and Ernie Els. Woods will play in the second group with Rory McIlroy, Steve Stricker, 2002 Memorial champion Steve Furyk, and Zach Johnson - who won last weekend's Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial.
In the interview session below, Nicklaus touched on a variety of subjects, provided several revealing anecdotes, and described his family's fund-raising efforts for Nationwide Children's Hospital. Here's the complete transcript of that get-together with reporters.
MODERATOR: I'd like to welcome our host Jack Nicklaus to the interview room. Jack won this Tournament twice in his career. If you'd start off, we've got a great field again this year. If you'd make a few comments about the field and maybe the course, and then we'll take some questions.
JACK NICKLAUS: Obviously the field is good. Obviously World's No. 1 and 2 are here. Every year we always have a good field. This year shouldn't be any different. I think it's probable interesting that Tiger and Phil are sort of battling for No. 1 at this point in time. That should be interesting here. Both of -- obviously Tiger has played better than Phil has here, but Phil has played well here. The golf course is really good. Perfect, basically. I came here -- I played Saturday and Sunday, two days in a row. That is a lot of golf for me. The golf course, I couldn't find anything. I went along and I found a little bit of material that come up slightly on a bridge, so we fixed that. That was the extent of my search on the golf course. Now, that Paul Latshaw and his crew have done a great job. That's been fixed incidentally. (Laughter) Paul Latshaw and his crew do a great job.
MODERATOR: You mentioned you played a couple rounds of golf. You've got a big event next week where you're playing with Gary Player and Arnold Palmer. Do you have any comments about that?
JACK NICKLAUS: Well, you are talking about a charity event that we're playing. Of course, we do a lot of charity events. This particular one is in Bristol, Tennessee. Arnold, Gary and I are doing a scramble down there. Mountain Mission School has been in existence a long time. They are going to raise -- they are going to approach $15 million on a one-day event. Pretty decent event. Kind of amazing, I think, that Arnold and Gary and I are going to play a scramble. That's about all any of us can do anymore, scramble. We'll play with a bunch of different foursomes, and they're going to raise a lot of money. It's kind of nice. It will be fun to be back with Arnold and Gary. We're not playing against each other; we're partners. That will be fun.
Golf does a great job. I don't have to tell you so much about golf in this charity. You know what golf does; it raises more money for charity than the other three big sports combined. That's a pretty good testimony for a lot of the things that happen through the game of golf.
Q. What advice would you offer to the young guys out there?
JACK NICKLAUS: Well, you know, I guess we were all young once. If I remember back, I think I was at one time. And you know, when I first started, the thing that I always had to keep in mind was to get myself ready, get myself prepared. When you are first starting out in the game, try not to do a whole bunch of things that you don't need to do. I remember -- I'm not going to mention name, but I remember several young guys who had very, very good records starting out. They got with a management organization, and they spent most of their time running around doing exhibitions and playing special events and doing this and doing that, and they never made it. They were both very good players. I saw a lot of that happen.
I always felt like - go out, establish yourself, play golf, learn to play golf, learn how to play the different conditions that you played because most of these kids have grown-up in one area of the country or the world. You are going to find all of those conditions, all the variety of conditions in the U.S., whether it comes to inland golf courses or hard seaside or whatever you are going to find. You are going to find everything. They need to learn how to play. They need to learn how to prepare themselves for them. When the golf tournament starts, be prepared to play it. I think that you probably -- I don't think the Tour would like this, but I think it's hard to play every week because you can't prepare every week. I know they need to play as much as they can. I did. I guess I played -- my first year on Tour I played every week. I played the first six weeks, then I skipped a week. And then I played every week from then up through the U.S. Open. So I guess I did play quite a few times. The U.S. Open was my 17th tournament and I won that. I think that you need to be prepared. Your need to learn to develop the golf game. Once they do that, if they want to do some stuff on the side, they can.
Q. Whether your record in the Majors in will be broken, have your feelings changed in the last year?
JACK NICKLAUS: I don't think my feeling has changed. You are relating obviously to Tiger. I felt for a long time that my record would probably get broken some day, whatever it is. Tiger has come along, obviously the best player that's come along a long time. But I felt like with the problems that he had last year, I was asked about this year particularly. And this year particularly he had three really golf -- he had Pebble Beach and St. Andrews were important golf courses for him. He basically had won on those fairly easily through the years. If he had problems with those golf courses, sure they won't come around for a while. He is 35 years old now. Maybe it might be tougher. Do I still think Tiger will break my record? Yeah, I think he probably will. He is a very dedicated, hard-working golfer. But then again, I always said you have to do it. It's not just gimme, you have got to go do it. We'll watch.
Q. I think I have got this right. You had 10 professional majors in your first 13 years. Then over the last 11 years, four majors. At what point did it become -- if it was harder to win a major, what made it more difficult?
JACK NICKLAUS: Well, usually most golfers are in their prime from about 32 to 35, 36, 37, somewhere in that area. My standpoint -- my career started to change a little bit when I broke Jones' record, which was 73. I was 33 years old. I was still right in the middle of the prime of my career. Jones' record was never something that I looked at from day one. It wasn't until the British Open in 1970 that Bob Green said, Jack, that's ten; only three more to tie Jones. Honest to goodness, never even looked at it. Never added it up. Never thought about. It was never an issue. Nobody ever talked about it. Then when I had 14 after that. I was still in the prime, so I played, let's just say, the prime of my career, 36, 37, somewhere in that area. Then I didn't really sort of -- it wasn't as big a priority for me, because I already broken that record. Did I win more? Yeah, I won more because I still liked to play golf and I worked at it. But I didn't work at it -- after I won when I was 40, in 1980, I didn't work real yard. I felt like that was the end of my career as it relates to really working and going after something. You know, I think the win in '86 was just a mistake, I suppose in many ways. (Laughter). I shouldn't have won that. I played well enough to win it that week. I used to say I used to start thinking about The Masters about the first part of January, and start preparing about the first part of January. My later years I started thinking about The Masters the first part of January and started preparing for it about the end of March. So I never really got myself -- honestly, I've often wondered why I sort of wasted those years in many ways, but I think you all do that. I didn't -- I really didn't play maybe a dozen tournaments a year after 1980.
It just wasn't that big a priority. I was playing because I enjoyed playing a little bit. But that was just the time when all my kids were growing up, getting involved in different sports, doing different things. More interested in doing that than I was in my own deal. So when you look back on it, man, I wish I would have played harder. Then again, I look back and I'm glad I didn't because I know my kids and I spent my time with my family. And I got involved in a lot of my own business. I really created a business with golf course design that transitioned me from playing the game to being involved in the game to where I can do something -- found something I really loved doing, and something that different really depend on my athletic ability to play it, only from my athletic experience. It was something that I have been able to do for a lifetime that I really enjoy. Not only that, my kids have all been involved with me in it. I certainly don't have any regrets on any of that. My career is what it was and what it is, and my record is what it is. But I said firmly that will be broken by Tiger. If it is, it's okay. I just want to be the first one there to shake his hand.
Q. With that being said and you saying that you didn't really focus on Jones' record or other records, it's clear that Tiger has targeted your record, has talked about it. From a pressure point of view, does that make it harder to actually obtain?
JACK NICKLAUS: Probably for him it would be. You weren't back then. I can't find anybody in this room that's that old. (Laughter) Not even Doorman. Back then the press didn't talk -- ask Kaye Kessler if they ever talked about stuff like that. There weren't statistics back then. There weren't records back then. Nobody paid attention to that. It was what happened, what went on. There really wasn't that much coverage. I'll go back to the story of 1960 at the U.S. Open. I'm U.S. Amateur Champion and we're playing at Cherry Hill. Columbus had Kay and Paul Horning didn't send either one of them out to cover the Tournament, the U.S. Open. They were the two guys that covered golf. So Woody Hayes covered it for him. Absolute truth. Woody was out for a conference, and he stopped by he said where is the Columbus contingent? He's not here. He stayed and covered it. Nobody cared that much about it.
So the perspective today, I can pick up a newspaper today and found out how many on the shots the guys played left-handed on Thursdays of last Monday. You can find out anything you want to find or pick it up on the Internet. It is just a different day. You ask about the pressure though, and I think that we didn't have a lot of pressure in those days. It wasn't really put on us. We had to create our own pressure. The pressure created on ourselves is what you wanted. I wanted to practice and prepare so when I came down the 18th hole, I had an opportunity to win the tournament. I wanted that pressure on myself, and I think Tiger wants that pressure on himself. His pressure is a lot greater simply because of the media attention today and what happens to the sport. Times have changed. Will he have a tougher time coming down the stretch? Maybe. Only because of the pressure that will put on him if he happens to read newspapers. I tried not to read them when I was that age, each though there wasn't much in there. I didn't mean it that way. (Laughter). You can take it any way you want.
Q. Jack, you just brought up 1960 Open. This being the 50th anniversary of that Open, that might be the greatest Open in recent memory. Your thoughts on the significance of that Open and your part in it?
JACK NICKLAUS: Well, you know, I sort of relate it back to the story -- I'll digress here for a second. I was over last year at the British Open. The tournament was going to be at Turnberry. The press asked me: What do you remember from that great Open in 1977?
I said very simply, "I lost." I have a different phrase for 1960, "I blew it." You know, I had the tournament reasonable well in hand if I had known how to play. Hogan said I played with a young kid that if he had known how to finish, he would have won by several strokes. I shot 39 in the last nine holes and in that Open to lose. That's part of learning, and it's part of the experience. Arnold shot 30, 35. He shot a great 30 going out. We would play two rounds that day. Oddly enough, it was such on the leaderboard that the leaders finished ahead of him who really was behind everybody to start with. It was an odd way they did things in those days. The pairings were not -- I don't really understand why. Do you know what I'm talking about? When we had two pairings and he started off on a different side? It was just very different. Not taking anything away from Arnold; Arnold played a great round of golf.
It was an exciting tournament. It was a great tournament for a young guy. I remember walking off the 12th green. I looked at the leaderboard, and there was one 5 on the board and that was me. I just got through not birdying the easy 12 hole. I hit a 4-iron over the green and made par, made a bad chip. I three-putted 13, 14. And after I look at the leaderboard, "Nice going, Jack." Then I miss a 3-footer at 16, and about an 8-foter at 17 and bogey 18 to lose that golf tournament. That's a pretty poor finish. You learn from that. Go back and look at what Watson did. Watson had the opportunity to win a couple of PGAs and an Open or vice-versa. He learned from that. I learned from that too. So you have to go through the learning experience. I suppose maybe it was the best thing that happened to me that I didn't win. If I had win maybe I would have been cocky, not that I wasn't cocky enough anyway. I'd probably set back on my laurels and maybe not gone to work to try to rectify the mistakes that I made. You look at things -- you look at the good side of things, too
Q. Is there something specific you took out of that as far as learning experience?
JACK NICKLAUS: The learning experience basically said here I was a young guy and I start paying attention to a leaderboard, and I had about a 12-foot putt for birdie at 13. I ran it about 20 inches by the hole, and there was a ball mark between my ball and the hole. I didn't have the presence of mind as a 20 year old -- that wasn't my ball mark. I didn't if I could fix it or not, and I didn't have the presence of mind to ask. Of course you could fix it. But when you are in the the middle of something and you're a young kid, you don't think about it. I missed a short putt. You know, I learned that other people make mistakes, too. As I evidenced with Hogan, Hogan finished six -- he finished bogey, triple bogey. He wasn't the only one that was going to make mistakes. Other people make mistakes too. You learn that the only person you can control is yourself. The only thing you can do is manage your own game. You can't worry about what's happening around you. Those are the things you learn from those kind of experiences. And you look back and you say, I shot 39, how in the world can I possibly mess up a golf course that badly? I shot 32 on the front 9. That comes with age and experience and just learning the process of how to win.
Q. Right up until the end in 1982, it looked like you had everything you had to do to win at Pebble. Were you in the scorer's tent when Tom pulled the chip shot -
JACK NICKLAUS: Actually I was being interviewed by Jack Whittaker on the 18th green. He was congratulating me on my fifth Open and saying how great it was to have been covering golf in your time. All of a sudden -- he had just finished "your time" and (crowd noise). I looked behind me on the monitor and there's Watson running around the green. Hold up, time-out a second. Jack's, it's not over yet. We saw where Watson hit his tee shot. He had virtually no shot unless he holed it, which he did. Tom holed a 1-putt on the last hold, which was going pretty fast and would have run by about four or five feet if it hadn't hit the hole. I didn't birdie the last hole. At the time, I didn't think I needed to either.
Q. That was obviously disappointing to you. How disappointing was it? Did you think that was going to be your last opportunity to win a major championship?
JACK NICKLAUS: Well, I didn't know. How am I supposed to know that? I never really thought that way. Just went ahead and played and gave myself the best opportunity. Just before that tournament I one the Colonial two or three weeks before that Open. So I was playing well and that was not -- hadn't thought much about it, Larry.
Q. Everybody knows your affection for Pebble Beach. Could you share maybe some of the strategic qualities that have made it such a great U.S. Open layout?
JACK NICKLAUS: From my standpoint, I just sort of -- when I won there '61, I fell in love with the place. I played great. Every single round I played in the Amateur, I played under par. The first time that I had walked off a golf course and did yardages. I guess there was an article in the USA Today this morning. I just liked it, and then I came back and one I guess three Crosbys or something. I won three times in a year period there. I won in '72, then won the Open in '72. Then in January '72, I came back and won the Crosby again. I had a greater experience there. I went to Shell matches there. Beat Snead in one and beat Tom in one. You know, I just happen to like the place. I think it's a pretty special place. It's not a very difficult golf course in the wind does blow. It's extremely difficult when the wind blows. Just a dramatic changes the golf course. I understand they made some great strides of lengthy the golf course for this year's Open. I don't know whether that is good or whether that is bad. I don't know what they did. You know, I think it's a very special piece of property in the United States.
Q. You did a new fifth hole for Pebble. I wanted to get a clarification, did you also work on the golf course prior to the '92 Open?
JACK NICKLAUS: I don't remember what years it was, it was so long ago. We were consultant for it for a while. We changed 18th hole a little bit. We changed -- what did we do? We redid the 4th green. We redid the 7th green. Changed the bunkering at 10. I don't know if we added a bunker at 13. Is there a bunker around 13 now? I don't remember. I think we might have done that. Changed the bunker at 16 a little bit. Changed at 19 a little bit. Changed 18's green.
Q. Mr. Nicklaus, did you have a general rule of thumb when you got in trouble on the golf course? Especially in a U.S. Open, whether it is the rough or if the winds were swelling, did your place, your position, at that time dictate your thinking?
JACK NICKLAUS: These guys that don't look at leaderboards I think are silly. You still got to know where you are. If you are sitting in a position, and you are in the second round and you got to carry it over something that may not get there, may end your tournament, you don't do it. You get to the last round and you need to do something you are two shots back you might try it. Yeah, you got to know where you are. You have always got to -- golf is a very cerebral game. You better darn well watch what you are doing and where you are. If you have any chance to be there. I said earlier, other people are going to make mistakes too. So don't -- one thing you don't want to do in a tournament, which is what I learned early. I learned it at Cherry Hills. I learned that you don't beat yourself. And if you don't beat yourself -- maybe that's why I've 19 seconds. I always had the theory don't beat yourself. Somebody might beat you, but don't beat yourself. That is sort of the way I play golf
Q. Jack, you said numerous times that you don't really watch golf much on television. You watch Watson a lot during the British Open. Television is kind of the life blood of this Tour in general. Yet, there are a lot of questions about what should and shouldn't be done. Do you have thoughts on what you would like to see that might entice you to watch more golf on television?
JACK NICKLAUS: It's not that I don't watch golf because I don't enjoy the game. I don't watch golf because I am not a spectator. Never have been a spectator in any sport. I have always been an active player in whatever I have done. For me to sit down in an afternoon and watch a sport on television, I just don't. I will watch an Ohio football game or my grandkids play. Most of time if there is something on at night, then I will watch that. I am a participator and I always have been. I don't think there is anything about the way they do golf that might entice me to play more. I think that it's just -- I just -- I just don't want to sit down and watch. Do I have it on? Yeah, it is usually on in the house. If I wash by it I look at I want who is winning. The other day when McElroy was coming down the stretch at Quail Hollow, I got sort of enamored with that. I just had lunch with him a month before. We talked about how to finish and what to do and what to go through the game and things like that. So I kind of took an interest in him. I thought he did all right. You know, 62 wasn't too bad from the last round. (Laughter).
I don't know whether I had any part in that. I don't think I had much of a part in that. Basically, I drop him a note and said what I told you is to play within yourself. But I said this was ridiculous. He went a little bit more than that. I take an interest in that kind of stuff. I took an interest in Tom, obviously. Tom's a great friend. We have been great competitors for years. When I see a guy that's 59 years old that puts himself in contention to win a major championship, and he stays there all week. Barbara had started texting him before the Tournament. As the week on, she kept going back and texting him every day. I sort of put a little input in with it. Finally the last day, I said, hey, I never ever sent a text in my life. I wouldn't even know how to send a text. But I wrote the note and said let's have you text it. My first text ever. So -- and sent, frankly. That's how good I am, right?
That's the kind of stuff -- when I've got something something I'm interested in. I will watch if Tiger is coming down at the end of one of the majors and he has got a chance to win, yeah, I'll watch that. But if the U.S. Open is coming on at 2:00 and sit here for four hours and watch it, I'm not going to do that. I watch -- I was over in the Bahamas fishing during The Masters, and we came in from fishing to watch the last nine holes of the Masters. I thought that was a pretty big sacrifice for me.
Q. Golf is one of the few sports that bans cell phone use from spectators. I was wondering what kind of comments you hear about that cell phone ban?
JACK NICKLAUS: Never heard one. What do you want me to comment on?
Q. Just wondered if you think that's a good idea?
JACK NICKLAUS: Why in the world would you want to be on the golf course and listen to somebody talk? I mean, every golf course I'm involved with, we ban cell phones. But you know, it's getting to be a little different. They are not just phones anymore. Now you can take them to the golf course we don't want you to be making phone calls on the golf course and having it ring. But you have got your GPS and you get your yardages on your golf courses, and you can get it right on your phone. So we're a little bit more lenient about that kind of stuff. I think you need to be because technology is part of the game. I mean, Jack you play, every time you go, you use your GPS, don't you? I know Gary does. And so I don't know how to use it yet so -- I still got my old book I wrote down my yardages.
Q. Speaking of technology, and how about miking the players on the course? Are you in favor of that?
JACK NICKLAUS: We mike every specialty event we have. We always are miked. I don't know. Technology has gotten so far -- I almost want to say it's almost gotten out of hand. Everything has become technical. Do you have to know everything. And pretty soon they are going to have one of these monitors you put on the guy and have him think. Sort of reminds me of the old story -- probably shouldn't say it, but I will. The old Simon Hobday story. It is a true story. Simon came in, and he asked for a ruling. And he asked for a ruling, and he said to the official. Official came over, and he said, Simon, you don't get a drop here. Anybody who knows Simon, one of the old real characters of golf. He said you don't get a drop. He said why not? He says, you just don't get the drop here, Simon. He says well, he says, if I call you an SOB, would I get fined. He said, yes, Simon, you would get fined. He says, well, if I think you are an SOB, would I get fined. He says, no. Simon says, well, I think you are an SOB. So the whole thing goes back to you -- pretty soon you guys are going to have monitors on the guy's head to think about what he is doing.
So it's -- I think it's nice to have a little bit of mystery, and going to have every quarterback in the NFL have his head monitored and listening to what he does, would it be interesting? Yeah. But you know, then they figure out how they are going to get it to the other side. I guess a little too much
Q. Jack, is there any concern or reason to be concerned with the future of American golf as a participation recreational sport? Is the business climate a lot of golf courses that are struggling? Is there an answer to help them?
JACK NICKLAUS: Well, you know, it's back a little bit on the soapbox. I think that the rule of the game, the equipment of the game, have all added to the non-growth of the game. And what I mean by that is that, as the golf ball goes further, as the clubs allow you to hit the ball further, the golf courses become longer. The longer it takes you to play the game, then the less young people are going to play it. Because today kids are spending -- guys are spending more time with their kids. You have got little league, everything, every week. And you know, you want to bring people in the game. It would be great if you could get up in the morning at eight o'clock you say, honey, I'll be back for lunch. You go and you play 2 1/2, 3 hours, whatever it is. Now you've got the whole afternoon to do what you want. But it's not that way. You leave at eight o'clock, you get home at four o'clock. I don't think that really brings people into the game.
Somewhere along the line, we have got to come back with either shortening a round of golf to 12 holes, or whatever the number might be. And actually have it official -- all courses have 18 holes. You could have three sixes any place. If you have 12 holes and you have a 12-hole handicap, where you could play in 2 1/2, 3 hours and still get back home. Or if the golf courses are all going to 7,500 yards -- if golf courses were like it used to be at 6,200 yards, obviously, it takes a heck of a lot longer to play 7,500 yards than it does 6,200 yards. And all of the things that contribute to make the game play longer and take longer help to run people away from the game. Obviously a 7,500-yard golf course costs more to maintain than a 6,200-yard golf course. So cost of the people to play the game. It is all a vicious circle. Somewhere along the line the PGA Tour can help be the lead in that, or the USGA or the RNA or whatever it might be. We've got to figure out a way to bring people in the game and not lose them. We bring people in the game -- a lot of people are brought into the game. The PGA Tour brings a lot of people into the game, but you have got to keep them there.
The game has got to be something that we can do. Do we do golf courses too difficult? Probably. I'm very guilty of that myself. But if you don't do a golf course with a challenge, it is no fun. It's no fun to go do a golf course and somebody walks out and plays it and says, gee, that's a nice golf course. Where am I going to play tomorrow? What you want is this is a nice golf course. What time can I play here tomorrow? To do that, if it is too mundane, they are not going to want to do that. You have to have a little something, excitement and spirit in the golf course. We're all guilty of that. This is what you are asking, isn't it? How do you keep people in the game? Somewhere along the line, it's got to happen fairly near future, that the Tour has got to sit down with the USGA and RNA and figure out a plan, how they are going to develop -- every other sport is played in three hours or less. Name your sport that takes any longer than that? Except maybe your five sets of tennis.
Q. Yankees-Red Sox game?
JACK NICKLAUS: Theoretically, that's a 2 1/2-hour game. I am sure you have overtime, but that is exciting. Just like the Tour would be exciting with the overtime and sudden death. That is exciting. You understand where I'm coming from. We have got to get people to participate in the game and get on the golf course, get off the golf course, and allow them to do something else. How do you solve it? I don't know.
Q. You talked a little bit about various tournaments on the schedule, keeping people interested, whether it is watching on television or what have you. The Tour is apparently going to be talking with players and suggesting getting more big names in, quote, unquote, designated tournaments. I understand it's a vicious circle of independent contractors that don't have to play -- the Tour is playing the strength to have PGA Tour in golf. Are you in favor of having players, big names play in more second tier events?
JACK NICKLAUS: Well, I don't know, it is nothing new. It is the exact same situation we had when I played. We were all independent contractors, no. One thing I tried to do, I tried to pick one or two tournaments that I hadn't played in. I tried to add that to my schedule. I think that Arnold tried to do that. I think Gary tried to do that. Were we always successful? No, probably not. We tried to do that. We tried to play around the world. Always tried to play in Britain, always tried to play in Australia, tried to go to Asia when we could, tried to play around the world. What is happening on the Tour today is you have got your four major championships. You have got your world championships. You have got your other significant events. By the time you get done with it, and it's not a U.S. Tour anymore. This is World Tour, whether you think it is or not. The players from around the world, if they're going to come here -- let's say they're required to play 12 events here. That is a lot of events for them to play. They have got to go home and support their own Tour. So that is a lot of golf for these guys. So you start designating them to play more, it really becomes a difficult situation. You don't have the -- I suppose you have the power to say if you don't play -- what you do is you have 12 events you have to play, isn't that what it is?
MODERATOR: 15 for a member.
JACK NICKLAUS: Member has to play 15. That makes it tougher. It used to be 12. Obviously, they have made it more. They have answered what you are talking about. They have gone to 15 events. If they have done that, then you have got a person from Malaysia or Japan or Spain or wherever it might be, and ask them to play 15 events here plus what they have to support the European Tour, the Asian Tour, the Australasia Tour, or whatever they have to support, that's a lot of golf. Golf today is not just going out and playing a little $20,000 event that we used to play when we played. We had half a dozen big tournaments. Every one they play is a big tournament today. So it's a very difficult problem and one that -- if they would have an answer for it, you wouldn't be asking the question. I don't have any more answers than what they have tried to do.
MODERATOR: We have got to cut off the questions at this point.
JACK NICKLAUS: Let me get one more from Doug.
Q. Talk about the Skins game tomorrow and your decision to play with Phil.
JACK NICKLAUS: The Skins game tomorrow, we started out, and it was going to be eight players. There were a couple of guys that I thought that really played well this year that probably weren't originally into it. So I asked the Tour, can we expand that to ten players? Tour said sure, that is fine. I played with Tiger last year. Phil, I think, made a special effort to come back last year. I said I would play with Phil this year; so we just sort of split it up that way. Why I'm playing, I don't know. I tried to get it so I could play on the front nine. I can reach some of the par 4s there. But I start off at 10, and there's no way in the world I could get there in two. I'm hoping to get to the fairway. You know, we'll have a good time. It was a good show last year. Morgan Stanley has been a great sponsor for us through the years. They've done a nice job, and they have a contract that goes through this year, and they have fully sported that contract and what their contract was. And we appreciate that very much. Yet they still had a Pro Am. They didn't feel like it was proper thing to entertain the customers. So they supported the Skins game. The money would go to charity, First Tee, basically. So that is what we are doing.
MODERATOR: We have a special announcement now. Jackie, if you would come down. Barbara. And Dr. Allen, if you'd come sit next to Mr. Nicklaus.
JACKIE NICKLAUS: Before we start, I just want to make a couple of comments on my dad's discussions. Most bets, referring to Doug's question about the Skins game, are won on the 1st tee. You notice he was posturing himself he can't reach the 10th hole and whatnot. We played on the weekend, and he still plays pretty well, believe me. Don't count him out. He also made a comment about '86 Masters being a mistake. I don't recall, but he had a heck of a caddie if I recall correctly. Anyway, we're not here to talk about that.
First I would like to thank the press for once again supporting the Memorial Tournament. And giving us this great opportunity to make a very important announcement that not only means a great deal to the Nicklaus family but also to Central Ohio.
Outside of family, I can't think of two things that are more important to mom and dad than giving back to the community and helping children. When my father created the Memorial Tournament 35 years ago, he did so with the goal of creating an event that would not only represent his passion and love for the game of golf but also an event that could be used as a vehicle to give back to the community. This give back is what we're talking about today. The Memorial Tournament and its legacy to Central Ohio charities, most notably, the Nationwide Children's Hospital.
Five years ago, inspired by their love for children and their passion for helping children, mom and dad have created the Nicklaus Children's Health Care Foundation. The mission of the foundation is to support programs, activities that advance and enhance the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of childhood diseases and disorders. Today we are proud to announce the alliance with the Memorial Tournament, the Nationwide Children's Hospital and the Nicklaus Children's Health Care Foundation. Needless to say, and this is very important, all moneys raised for charity through the Memorial Tournament will go to the Central Ohio pediatric health care and the local charities previously supported in past years by the Memorial Tournament.
Bolstered by the Memorial's global reputation as one of the PGA Tour's elite Tournaments, this alliance will generate increased funding, opportunities, and awareness for both the Nationwide Children's Hospital and the foundation. At the same time and aided by the foundation, the Memorial will be able to increase its longstanding support and promotion of Nationwide Children's Hospital, one of Central Ohio's most recognized and respected pediatric healthcare institutions, and the Memorial Tournament neonatal intensive care unit. Anyway, at this time I would like to ask my mom to say a few words
BARBARA NICKLAUS: Thank you. We really are very excited about this announcement. I think when Jack and I moved to Florida, Columbus, Ohio, is obviously still our home. Our roots are here. We were very involved in Nationwide Children's Hospital here, and I think, when we moved to Florida, we felt like we wanted to keep that same connection. I know all of you probably heard this story so I won't go into detail. But our daughter Nan was very ill when she was about 11 months old and kind of kept choking and all of this. Ended up that she had inhaled a piece of Crayon in her lung. Anyway, she was in Nationwide Children's Hospital in the intensive care unit. We felt like the care that she got at the hospital from the doctors was phenomenal. I think any time you feel like an organization like that has saved your own child's life, you want to make sure that nothing happens to anyone else's child. That was basically our introduction to there. I had done a lot of volunteer work at Children's but hadn't had a personal contact. So that was probably what made us want to do anything we could for children.
So five years ago when we started the Nicklaus Children's Healthcare Foundation, and actually I talked to a lot of the people at Nationwide Children's. They were very supportive. They helped us set up a lot of programs. We have been back and forth, and they've offered any advice. So we kind of felt like we always been partners, but not officially. So we just think that this will be a great bond and that with the Memorial Tournament and with Nationwide and the Foundation that we will get a lot more nationwide support for the hospital here from the tournament. We're just very excited that we can all come together for this great cause.
JACKIE NICKLAUS: I know that Dr. Allen and my dad are up here. I'd love to have both of you make some comments.
DR. ALLEN: Well, on behalf of the community and particularly Nationwide Children's Hospital, we want to commend the Nicklauses for their lifelong commitment to our community here, particularly their passion and interest in supporting children's healthcare, just giving back to us in so many ways. We have just been the fortunate beneficiaries, particularly our patients and their families. We're very proud to be the children's hospital in Barbara and Jack's home town, and home of this great golfing event. We have been the primary beneficiary of this Tournament for the past 35 years, which has just done marvels for taking care of very small children through the Memorial Tournament Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. Today we get to celebrate continuing this role now by working with the Memorial Tournament as well as the Nicklaus Children's Health Foundation.
The foundation involvement will extend our ability to do what we have done so far and present additional opportunities, as Barbara mentioned, by raising the visibility of the great work that goes on in this fabulous city across the country. Clearly the impact of the Nicklauses has been felt. We now have the largest neonatal network in the country. And I was just reflecting on the fact that babies who were born 24 weeks gestation, 16 weeks premature, when this tournament started, had almost no chance of survival. Nowadays those children do remarkably well. Just a sea change in our ability to take care of vulnerable children over the life of this Tournament. So we say that is just an example that, although there is great things that go on on the golf course here, even greater things go on off the course because of the great philanthropy that arises from golf tournaments such as this.
I want to thank the Women's Auxiliary Committee. I noticed they filed in the room just before this. People often don't know because it is rather unique across the country. We have 2,600 volunteers who don't just live in Central Ohio. They are from around the country. They donate more than 21,000 hours to support this great Tournament, give it a personal home-like feel for the people that come here. For us, particularly the hospital, this has generated over $9 million since the inception of the tournament. So we're very excited about this new step and progression with the Nicklauses and just fortunate to be in the great community. Thanks.
JACK NICKLAUS: Well, the only thing I want to add to that is that we are delighted to be part of it. You may say why did we get involved here? We think that we can bring more awareness. We think that we can do more together than we can do as individuals. That is what we're trying to do.
MODERATOR: Time for a few questions.
Q. One other thing on Pebble Beach if I could?
JACK NICKLAUS: All right. Let's make sure we are covered here. Anybody have anything they want to talk about? We have been very pleased with being able to raise money here in the city for children, and we're -- I go back to the story of how the foundation was founded. I think that might be an interesting story for you. The Honda Tournament was in Ft. Lauderdale and moving to the Palm Beach area. Fred Millsaps had been a very heavy involvement in that tournament. Came to us and said -- came to me and he said, Jack, he said, I know you you would know -- I said, no, Barbara would know. He came to the two of us and asked us how would the West Palm Beach area -- what children's organizations, what could we be involved in? They have always been involved in children's charity. So Barbara, we had grown our children and had not been to a children's hospital in our area. We always said there was nothing between Joe DiMaggio and Arnold Palmer, meaning there was nothing between Ft. Lauderdale and Orlando.
So Barbara, when we raised our five kids, we had to take the kids two hours to Miami, basically, and no parent wants to drive and leave their kids away from home when they are sick. They want there to be someplace where they can go. I said, Barbara, why don't you go for it. That's what you've always wanted to do. So we started the healthcare foundation. We supported a hospital down there for kids, and we had sort of a false start with that because it was a for-profit hospital which we couldn't raise money for. We switched out of that, and we made an alliance with Miami children's hospital in the area, a very good hospital. We're now bringing care into the Palm Beach area and the County area. Our president and CEO Patty McDonald, who runs the foundation, is in here front of us. If you you have any questions for Patty later, she'll be more than happy to answer them. But we have gone to that and the last few years we have raised, I don't know 14 million bucks, I think, we have raised down in our area for children's healthcare foundation.
We thought, to come up here, we have the ability, we think, to get a little greater reach by bringing the Nicklaus Foundation here and actually on a national basis too. But this particular event is about Columbus, and we'll grow from there. The visibility and the awareness will help us. We think we can go a lot of places to help kids in many places. We started basically here, expanded to West Palm Beach, come back and expand here, and hopefully grow from here. It is just something that we felt strong about and something that we are very passionate about.
Q. I was just wondering if the foundation then will be able to draw in other organizations to support what is going on here in Columbus or in Florida or wherever?
JACK NICKLAUS: We think we will. We think that by our foundation -- in other words, we don't make money particularly through the Honda Tournament. We have prime beneficiary for that down there. We do other events. We can do other events for Nationwide Children's Hospital, other than this tournament up here, to raise money for it. So I think that's what we can do. What am I going to do with the rest of my life? Sit and watch television? I don't watch golf anyway. (Laughter).
Just like the thing we are doing with Arnold and Gary next week. We're going to raise $14 million in a one-day event, $15 million. That's pretty good. We're doing what was announced last week in Benton Harbor, Michigan. PGA Senior Tour is going there in 2012 and 2014 on a golf course we're just going to open this summer. But that's basically been supported by Whirlpool and the community there. That's been a very, very in need community. So that's going to raise a lot of money for that community. Just another thing that the PGA Tour is involved in, in helping to raise money. Raise money for good causes. That's what we want to do. Thank you very much. Appreciate it.
The transcript for the above interview is courtesy of ASAP Sports.