Putting kings will be Presidents champions: Nicklaus

Wed Oct 7, 2015 11:45pm EDT
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By Peter Rutherford

INCHEON, South Korea (Reuters) - Jack Nicklaus concedes he was in a less-than-generous mood when he designed the course being used for the Presidents Cup in South Korea but is happy with recent changes to the greens and says precise putting will trump big hitting this week.

Nicklaus, a four-time captain of the biennial event which pits the United States against a team of international players minus Europeans, said he was honored that a course bearing his name was hosting the first Presidents Cup in Asia.

Both teams have players noted for their massive distance off the tee such as Jason Day and Dustin Johnson but Nicklaus said it would be the players who negotiate the course's huge, undulating greens that would be in the ascendancy.

"I think you'll see some good scoring, I think putting will be more important than driving," he told Reuters.

"They are all big hitters, they play the same courses every week and I think you need to putt the ball pretty well on this course. There's plenty of room off the tee and I don't believe this course is going to get hard enough to make any difference."

Nicklaus earlier told reporters to laughter that changes had been made to the greens because "I made it too tough to start with.

"I think a lot of times, everybody, all designers go through cycles of when they do different things. I guess I was in my bumpy cycle when we started this. I'm in my more 'peaceful, love golfer' cycle right now."

Nicklaus, who won 18 majors and is regarded as the greatest ever player, said he hoped the two team captains would be able to arrange a Sunday singles showdown between Jordan Spieth and Day, the hottest players in world golf.   Continued...

Golfer Jack Nicklaus (L) of the U.S. watches his ceremonial tee shot at the announcement of the future home of the Jack Nicklaus Golf Club Korea in New Songdo City in Inchon, west of Seoul April 24, 2007.   REUTERS/Jo Yong-Hak