By Alex Micelli, Golfweek

AUGUSTA, Ga. – At 73, Jack Nicklaus is still a great interview. Having won six Green Jackets also makes him the oracle of how to play Augusta National during the Masters Tournament.

Starting his Masters career in 1959 and winning his first Green Jacket in 1963, Nicklaus clearly played enough rounds to advise not only Tiger Woods when he came calling, but Rory McIlroy, Belgium’s Nicolas Colsaerts – who asked for advice last weekend – and eventually 14-year-old Tianlang Guan, who actually asked for an audience this week with the Golden Bear via email.

“I just try to find out what they are thinking and what they are trying to accomplish, what they are trying to do, what are their goals and how do they approach what they doing,” Nicklaus said. “I told Nicolas the other day, I said, 'There’s going to be half a dozen golf shots on this golf course that make or break this golf course that can kill you, not so bad if you hit it good. But if you hit it poorly, you’re down the road.' ”

Nicklaus says he never found a bad putt from the middle of the green on any of the 18 holes, looking at birdie every time.

Translation?

Sometimes you will go for it, taking a chance and sometimes you will look for the middle of the green. When and how you make those decisions is why there’s a tournament.

Nicklaus talked honestly about Tiger Woods' drought. Woods, who has four Green Jackets, hasn’t won the Masters since 2005 and hasn’t won a major championship since the playoff win at Torrey Pines in 2008.

“Obviously the older he gets, and if he doesn't win, it makes my record move out further,” Nicklaus said of Woods' quest to surpass his record 18-major total. “But I've said it, and I continue to say it, that I still expect him to break my record. I think he's just too talented, too driven, and too focused on that.”

Yet even Nicklaus concedes Woods has had a great spring with three wins – but that all could be for naught in predicting major success if he doesn’t win his fifth title this week.

“From this point, he's got to win five majors, which is a pretty good career for most people to start at age 37,” Nicklaus continued. “He's played very, very well this spring. I think if he wins here, I think that it would be a very large step towards regaining the confidence that he has not won a major in, what, 5 years . . . He's going to have to figure it out.
"But I think if he figures it out here, it will be a great boost for him. If he doesn't figure it out here, after the spring he's had, I think it will be a lot tougher for him. “

And a little thought on the second major of the year, the U.S. Open at Merion playing at less than 7,000 yards?

"Merion will do just fine," Nicklaus said. "Merion has got six or seven holes that you can abuse. They have got six or seven holes that will abuse you. Merion will do just fine."

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  • Honorary starter Arnold Palmer punches the air after hitting off the first tee before the first round of the Masters golf tournament Thursday, April 11, 2013, in Augusta, Ga. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

  • Honorary starter Jack Nicklaus walks to the first tee before the first round of the Masters golf tournament Thursday, April 11, 2013, in Augusta, Ga.(AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

  • Billy Payne, Chairman of the Augusta National Golf Club, introduces the honorary starters before the first round of the Masters golf tournament Thursday, April 11, 2013, in Augusta, Ga. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

  • Honorary starter Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus, right, pose with their caddies after hitting off the first tee before the first round of the Masters golf tournament Thursday, April 11, 2013, in Augusta, Ga. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

  • Honorary starter Jack Nicklaus hits a ball on the first tee before the first round of the Masters golf tournament Thursday, April 11, 2013, in Augusta, Ga. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

  • Honorary starter Arnold Palmer hits a ball on the first tee before the first round of the Masters golf tournament Thursday, April 11, 2013, in Augusta, Ga. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

  • Honorary starter Arnold Palmer reacts after hitting his ball on the first tee before the first round of the Masters golf tournament Thursday, April 11, 2013, in Augusta, Ga. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

  • Honorary starter Gary Player hits a ball on the first tee before the first round of the Masters golf tournament Thursday, April 11, 2013, in Augusta, Ga. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

  • From left, honorary starters Gary Player, Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus chat after hitting on the first tee during the first round of the Masters golf tournament Thursday, April 11, 2013, in Augusta, Ga. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

  • Honorary starter Arnold Palmer hits a ball on the first tee before the first round of the Masters golf tournament Thursday, April 11, 2013, in Augusta, Ga. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

  • Honorary starter Jack Nicklaus hits a ball on the first tee before the first round of the Masters golf tournament Thursday, April 11, 2013, in Augusta, Ga. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

  • Honorary starter Arnold Palmer, right, shakes hands with Jack Nicklaus after hitting his ball on the first tee before the first round of the Masters golf tournament Thursday, April 11, 2013, in Augusta, Ga. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

  • Honorary starter Arnold Palmer reacts after hitting his ball on the first tee before the first round of the Masters golf tournament Thursday, April 11, 2013, in Augusta, Ga. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

  • Honorary starter Arnold Palmer reacts after hitting his ball on the first tee before the first round of the Masters golf tournament Thursday, April 11, 2013, in Augusta, Ga. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

  • Honorary starter Arnold Palmer hits a ball on the first tee before the first round of the Masters golf tournament Thursday, April 11, 2013, in Augusta, Ga. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

  • The Masters - Round One

    AUGUSTA, GA - APRIL 11: Honorary starter Arnold Palmer of the United States reacts after he tees off to start the first round of the 2013 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club on April 11, 2013 in Augusta, Georgia. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)

  • The Masters - Round One

    AUGUSTA, GA - APRIL 11: Honorary starter Jack Nicklaus of the United States waves to the patrons after he tees off to start the first round of the 2013 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club on April 11, 2013 in Augusta, Georgia. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

  • The Masters - Round One

    AUGUSTA, GA - APRIL 11: Honorary starter Gary Player of South Africa tees off to start the first round of the 2013 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club on April 11, 2013 in Augusta, Georgia. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

  • The Masters - Round One

    AUGUSTA, GA - APRIL 11: Honorary starter Gary Player of South Africa tees off as Arnold Palmer of the United States and Jack Nicklaus of the United States look on to start the first round of the 2013 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club on April 11, 2013 in Augusta, Georgia. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

  • The Masters - Round One

    AUGUSTA, GA - APRIL 11: Honorary starter Jack Nicklaus of the United States waves to the patrons after he tees off to start the first round of the 2013 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club on April 11, 2013 in Augusta, Georgia. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

  • The Masters - Round One

    AUGUSTA, GA - APRIL 11: Honorary starter Gary Player of South Africa tees off to start the first round of the 2013 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club on April 11, 2013 in Augusta, Georgia. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

  • GOLF-US-MASTERS

    (L-R)Honorary Starters Gary Player, Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer hit their ceremonial first tee shot to start the first round of the 77th Masters golf tournament at Augusta National Golf Club on April 11, 2013 in Augusta, Georgia. AFP PHOTO / DON EMMERT (Photo credit should read DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images)

  • The Masters - Round One

    AUGUSTA, GA - APRIL 11: (R-L) Honorary starters Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer of the United States are seen before the first round of the 2013 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club on April 11, 2013 in Augusta, Georgia. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

  • The Masters - Round One

    AUGUSTA, GA - APRIL 11: Honorary starter Jack Nicklaus of the United States and Gary Player of South Africa watch as Arnold Palmer of the United States (not seen) tees off to start the first round of the 2013 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club on April 11, 2013 in Augusta, Georgia. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

  • The Masters - Round One

    AUGUSTA, GA - APRIL 11: Honorary starters Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus of the United States talk before they tee off to start the first round of the 2013 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club on April 11, 2013 in Augusta, Georgia. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

  • The Masters - Round One

    AUGUSTA, GA - APRIL 11: Honorary starters Gary Player of South Africa, Arnold Palmer of the United States and Jack Nicklaus of the United States talk before they tee off to start the first round of the 2013 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club on April 11, 2013 in Augusta, Georgia. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

  • The Masters - Round One

    AUGUSTA, GA - APRIL 11: Honorary starter Arnold Palmer of the United States tees off to start the first round of the 2013 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club on April 11, 2013 in Augusta, Georgia. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

  • The Masters - Round One

    AUGUSTA, GA - APRIL 11: Honorary starter Arnold Palmer of the United States reacts after he tees off to start the first round of the 2013 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club on April 11, 2013 in Augusta, Georgia. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

  • The Masters - Round One

    AUGUSTA, GA - APRIL 11: Honorary starter Jack Nicklaus of the United States tees off to start the first round of the 2013 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club on April 11, 2013 in Augusta, Georgia. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)

  • The Masters - Round One

    AUGUSTA, GA - APRIL 11: Honorary starter Arnold Palmer of the United States tees off to start the first round of the 2013 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club on April 11, 2013 in Augusta, Georgia. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)

  • The Masters - Round One

    AUGUSTA, GA - APRIL 11: Honorary starter Gary Player of South Africa tees off to start the first round of the 2013 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club on April 11, 2013 in Augusta, Georgia. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

  • The Masters - Round One

    AUGUSTA, GA - APRIL 11: Honorary starter Jack Nicklaus of the United States tees off to start the first round of the 2013 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club on April 11, 2013 in Augusta, Georgia. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

  • The Masters - Round One

    AUGUSTA, GA - APRIL 11: Honorary starter Arnold Palmer of the United States tees off to start the first round of the 2013 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club on April 11, 2013 in Augusta, Georgia. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

  • The Masters - Round One

    AUGUSTA, GA - APRIL 11: Honorary starter Jack Nicklaus of the United States tees off to start the first round of the 2013 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club on April 11, 2013 in Augusta, Georgia. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)

  • The Masters - Round One

    AUGUSTA, GA - APRIL 11: Honorary starters Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer of the United States talk before Gary Player of South Africa (not seen) tees off to start the first round of the 2013 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club on April 11, 2013 in Augusta, Georgia. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

  • GOLF-US-MASTERS-

    (L-R) Honorary Starters Gary Player , Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus wait to hit the ceremonial first tee shot to start the first round of the 77th Masters golf tournament at Augusta National Golf Club on April 11, 2013 in Augusta, Georgia. AFP PHOTO / DON EMMERT (Photo credit should read DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images)

  • The Masters - Round One

    AUGUSTA, GA - APRIL 11: Honorary starter Gary Player of South Africa smiles before he tees off to start the first round of the 2013 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club on April 11, 2013 in Augusta, Georgia. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

  • The Masters - Round One

    AUGUSTA, GA - APRIL 11: Honorary starter Arnold Palmer of the United States tees off to start the first round of the 2013 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club on April 11, 2013 in Augusta, Georgia. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)

  • GOLF-US-MASTERS

    (L-R) Honorary Starters Gary Player , Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus waiit to hit the ceremonial first tee shot to start the first round of the 77th Masters golf tournament at Augusta National Golf Club on April 11, 2013 in Augusta, Georgia. AFP PHOTO / DON EMMERT (Photo credit should read DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images)

  • GOLF-US-MASTERS

    Honorary Starter Arnold Palmer hits his ceremonial first tee shot to start the first round of the 77th Masters golf tournament at Augusta National Golf Club on April 11, 2013 in Augusta, Georgia. AFP PHOTO / DON EMMERT (Photo credit should read DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images)

  • The Masters - Round One

    AUGUSTA, GA - APRIL 11: Honorary starters Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer of the United States clap after Gary Player of South Africa (not seen) tees off to start the first round of the 2013 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club on April 11, 2013 in Augusta, Georgia. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

  • The Masters - Round One

    AUGUSTA, GA - APRIL 11: (3rd L) Honorary starters Arnold Palmer of the United States, (5th L) Jack Nicklaus of the United States and (2nd R) Gary Player of South Africa pose with members before the first round of the 2013 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club on April 11, 2013 in Augusta, Georgia. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)