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Regarding the state of the game in the United States, Nicklaus said the economic slump has taken a harsh toll.

“It’s absolutely just murdered the game in the United States,” he said. “Clubs are all having trouble, people don’t have spendable income, too many people are out of work, we have all of the problems you have with a bad economy.”

Nicklaus said much needs to be done to help grow the sport in the U.S. That includes making it more attractive to youngsters, who in the age of video games tend to have shorter attention spans.

“The game of golf takes a long time and that’s part of the problem,” he said, referring to the four or five hours needed to play.

Nicklaus advocates making the game easier for young people at an early stage. Other sports allow children to play with modified equipment and rules, such as smaller balls and lower baskets.

“Kids have gotta have some success, they have success early in these other sports, but they don’t get this success early in golf,” he said.

Nicklaus‘ many course designs around the world are part of the legacy he’s leaving to the sport. He added he’s working on developing equipment to help make it easier for young people to play in public parks.