No pressure then?
nope... they did say potential, as much as to say he has to earn it, but he has the ability.... JACK NICKLAUS
(On Rory McIlroy following the second round of the 2011 US Open, and after Rory set a 36-hole Open record with a 65-66 start).What do you see in Rory, be it the person or the swing, that you like?
JACK: First of all, I like his moxie. I suppose that is the right word. I like the way he carries himselfóhis moxie. When I first met him, I liked him. I met him at the Gardens Mall (in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.). I thought he was very pleasant. So I started to follow his career.
And then we had lunch during The Honda Classic last year (2010). We sat for about an hour and half, and we talked about his game, the things to do, and how to finish golf tournaments. We talked about the things I did when I was playing. He was worried about that he couldnít finish and couldnít win. I said not to worry about it. Instead of shooting 36 or 37 the last nine holes, one day youíll shoot 32 or 33 and win. Itíll just happen. Keep playing; keep your nose to the grindstone. You donít have to try to push something to happen. One day it will just happen, if you keep working at it and trying. Just believe in yourself, play within yourself, understand yourself, understand what you can do, and do what you can do. That was the basic message.
And when he won at Charlotte a few weeks lateróshooting 62 in the final roundóI dropped him a note and said that I told you it would happen, but 62, thatís ridiculous. That is really making it happen!
I have kept in touch with him a little here and there.
When I saw him at Muirfield Village for the Memorial, I hadnít seen him since the Masters. I just said, ĎIím sure that you learned from your mistakes and what happened. Donít worry about that. We all make mistakes. All good players have to make mistakes before they can have successes. Sometimes itís better to have mistakes, because if you only have success and donít make mistakes along the way, all of a sudden if you make mistakes, you canít figure out why you made them.He mentioned in his press conference comments made during your meeting at the Memorial about putting pressure on yourself. Can you elaborate?
JACK: Pressure is what you live for. You want to have pressure on you. You donít want to come down to the last hole needing to make par to finish 20th. You want to come down to the last hole with pressure on you to win. Everyone is going to put pressure on you. Thatís going to happen in life. If you are going to be successful, youíre going to have pressure. So you just have to learn to live with that, deal with that, and to handle it yourself. And we all handle it differently.At least twice this week Rory has mentioned his conversations with you. And then you look back to the conversation you had with Charl Schwartzel at The Bearís Club about how you played Augusta. And then a few years ago, I believe you talked to Trevor Immelman before he won the Masters. And there was a conversation a couple years ago with Aaron Baddeley. Do you enjoy the opportunities to sit down with these young talents and impart a little of your wisdom on them?
JACK: Of course I do. And I end up following those kids and their careers. They evidently think there is value in advice from an old man. I take great interest when someone is trying to improve themselves. If I can be of help, I am delighted to do so. I then follow them and wish them all well. I wish they all could win.How much of todayís play were you able to watch?
JACK: I watched some of it coming home
I saw replays of a lot of (Roryís) round and we actually saw the last three holes. He hit a beautiful second shot at 16 but didnít make the putt. At 17, he made a really nice birdie. At 18, I know what he was trying to do. He was just trying to hit the ball out to the right; he was not trying to (pull) that ball (toward the water). But sometimes you make a mistake and he made a mistake. Heíll get over that. You canít be too unhappy with 65 and 66.Is there anything in your gut that would make you feel that he will handle this weekend differently than perhaps Augusta?
JACK: I would hope he learned from his mistakes. Our conversation at the Memorial was very brief. But I remember we did talk about (Tom) Watson and the mistakes he made early in his career and how he came back and learned how to win. I did the same thing at the British Open in 1963 at Lytham. I figured out why I did those things, what I tried to do and shouldnít have done. I have kicked myself for almost 50 years for blowing that tournament. But I knew why I did it. So I hope that I learned from it. That was my question to him. You made some mistakes and I hope you figured out why you made those mistakes, why you did something that didnít follow what you normally do.
Heís a nice young man. I like him a lot.