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The three-time British Open winner, 69, praises his old friend and rival Tom Watson for what he accomplished at Turnberry last week
Dan Patrick: How do you explain what you saw the entire four days?
Jack Nicklaus: Tom has not lost his ability to swing the golf club. He drove it exceptionally straight. British seaside golf courses don't require length, so he wasn't stressed out as far as having to drive the ball a long distance. He managed his game well. He just didn't make the last putt. Win or lose, he ended up doing something unbelievable, and we were all really proud of him. It was a great effort, and it makes us old folks feel good.
DP: You spoke to him on Sunday night. Was he upset that he let this moment slip by or could he relish what he almost pulled off?
JN: He was very upset, and he should have been very upset. I would have been very upset, and I was very upset for him. It was obvious when he got to the playoff that he had spent all his emotion and energy and didn't have much left.
DP: If you're Tom Watson, what do you do better at 59 than you did at 29 or 39?
JN: I don't know if you do a whole lot better. Tom was pretty darn good at 29 and 39. He obviously had confidence in his ability to play the golf course. He's been very successful at Turnberry. I remember the last time we were in Turnberry, in 1994, he ended up feeling like he gave the tournament away. I remember we were out playing the par-3 golf course at midnight, trying to blow off some steam. When I called him [Sunday] night, I said, "You ready to go play the par-3 course?" He said, "Only if you're here."
DP: Bigger surprise—that Tom Watson plays great for four rounds or that Tiger Woods misses the cut?