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April 24, 1998

Frank Nobilo


LEE PATTERSON: Maybe just a couple of thoughts about your round today and heading into the weekend.

FRANK NOBILO: Well, it is nice to be back on the ball. That's the main thing. I think you know, I have played so well here last year and the start of the season has been very similar to like last season where it has been quite dismal. So I don't know what it is about this place. Maybe it is the air, the rain, the wind, whatever, or the people. But, whatever it is, altogether, it brought my game back. So I am extremely happy.

Q. How about your round today, what were the keys?

FRANK NOBILO: I think I putted very well today. The course is obviously playing soft. So it is more like tighter golf. My putter, really, it has sort of been sub-par over the last two to three months. I switched back to the same putter I used last year, last week. And, putted a little bit better. And, today, I basically -- I didn't miss very much out there. My lag putting was great. I hit a lot of shots today that were like 60 feet away; managed to get the ball up to the hole and tap it in and move to the next hole. So, that takes a lot of pressure off. I made a lot of key putts around 10 to 15 feet. So, that was really the big thing today.

Q. Are you playing well enough to take -- (inaudible)

FRANK NOBILO: I am still going to find something in my swing. I am still not swinging my best. If the conditions stay soft, then you can get a way with a few bad shots. If you pull an iron shot, rather than the ball bouncing off the green, it stops. So, I -- around this golf course, it makes a big difference. But if I start swinging well, then obviously, I hope it firms up. The swing is getting better. Two days away, who is to tell?

Q. How often do you switch putters? Just by feel? How many -- do you have a rotation of them or a barrel of them back home?

FRANK NOBILO: Normally, when they misbehave. But, no, I had one putter, I think, for about six years. Then I changed two years ago back to a center shaft for a little while. Normally, I make a change probably once, twice a year. Rest one for a couple of weeks; sometimes it makes it feel better when you bring it back. Basically, I won a couple of tournaments at the end of last year in Mexico and Hong Kong with the same putter and then I just did some testing with some other putters and, supposedly, another putter tested better. I put it straight in the bag and it seems like ironical that maybe the computers don't always make the right sense, so I switched back to what felt better and it works better.

Q. When you won your two Sarazens, were they at the same golf course?


Q. Does repeating in that event, does that make you feel like repeating here is more within range?

FRANK NOBILO: Yeah, I think in your career, you know, it is like when you have never won a tournament, you win a tournament, and you think: Right now, I am a winner; now I can do something else. And, then, when you repeat a tournament, then you think you can do it again. So, by winning back-to-back Sarazens means that, for me, the monkey was off my back; that if I was playing well this week, that there is a good chance you can do it again because you have done it. I won't be worrying about it. I would be worrying more about playing well. And, I don't know what it is. Some courses, you have a better feel. I have traditionally played well at the same sort of places. So, I didn't expect to go out and shoot 65 today. But, I think once you get out there, you have a lot of good memories on the holes. I think that's what gets you going. You don't panic. You feel that you have a shot that will work out, work in with that hole. You get on a green, you are a bit more positive with the break on a putt. I think that is why you play well at the same sort of venues.

Q. The answer is probably pretty obvious, but why don't more golfers repeat more often?

FRANK NOBILO: You have to play very well and I think the standard nowadays is exceptionally high and quite often you will see, you know, a person like, for example, last week, Nick Price didn't win, but Nick Price always feature in Hilton Head. He is a great ball-striker, very great driver. That is really what you need around there. So, if he doesn't win, he is always in the frame. I think you have to look not necessarily at people repeating, but whether they play well at the same sort of venues. And I think to repeat means you have got to really play as well as you had the previous year, which is, like, your best golf. If you don't repeat, you'd like to finish up as high as you can. That is always going to bring you back to the same type of course.

Q. When you saw the scores yesterday, did you think, I have to shoot a 65 today?

FRANK NOBILO: Yeah, I knew that, you know - I knew I needed a good round anyway to make sure I was in there for the weekend. But I thought, the way the course is at the moment, it is not playing the way it normally would and, normally, the course is much harder to score on. The slopes on the greens come into play. They that means you have to put your iron shots in the right part of greens because it was soft; that really counts for nothing. Now it is more tighter golf, which means you have to putt well and you have to score well. Otherwise, the leaders are just going to go forward, like what Bob Estes is doing now, and the rest of us will be going backwards. So really needed to shoot 67 -- that is what my coach said to me yesterday. He said try and finish with 3, 67s, so I have got a couple of up my sleeve now.

Q. Last year, television we sat in here watching because it was raining. You didn't show up on TV until probably the 15th or the 16th hole in the round. Knowing that people were going to focus on you a little more, does it make a difference?

FRANK NOBILO: No, I think it is better. I think when everybody was talking about Tiger Woods the other day, what a difference a year makes, I think a lot of the media and the press helped Tiger last year as an example where the focus gets moved on a player and people worry about them. The same when Greg Norman, when he was in his prime and whatsoever. Last year, all I was thinking about was winning a tournament. Hopefully this year if I get up there and come Sunday then people are going to say: He knows what it takes to win around here and they might think twice, but you have got to win and you have got to win as often as possible and then let the rest of the people worry about that.

LEE PATTERSON: Tell us about the birdies and the eagle. Birdied 11.

FRANK NOBILO: I started on 10 today. The 11th hole I birdied it yesterday. Today I hit a 3-wood and I hit a 9-iron to about six feet underneath the home. Sorry, actually I hit it to 15 feet - it was yesterday. I hit it to six feet. 13, the par 5, that is actually same thing happened last year where I started a little run. I hit drive and 3-wood just on the fringe, 2-putted from about 60 feet. 14, I hit drive and 7-iron to about two feet. And then the next hole par 5, I hit drive, tried to have a go at the green with a 3-wood, finished up on the fairway bunker, hit a sand iron to about 15 feet and made that. Then I bogeyed 18; hit it in the fringe; took 3 to get down. Second hole, I hit drive and 3-wood to 15 feet made that for eagle. And then 6, I hit 3-wood around the corner pitching wedge to about 20 feet, made that. Next hole I hit 3-wood off the tee and then hit like a knockdown 7-iron shot to about 15 feet, made that again: So, I mean it was an accumulation of like 10- to 15-footers really.

Q. Keep it in the fairway?

FRANK NOBILO: Generally, yeah, I just hit a couple of little strays that was with it. But, it helps, the fairways are quite soft.

Q. Nobody seems intimidated by the rough because you just hit the fairway; it will stay --

FRANK NOBILO: I think everybody knows that the rough is so bad, but the fact that the greens are soft means that you don't -- you can -- you don't have to hit it a long way off the tee; you don't necessarily have to drive the ball brilliantly because the difference between going with a 5-iron or a wedge isn't that much because the greens are that soft. And, that is a shame because this golf course, I think really plays well when it is a little bit firmer. It is a big advantage then if you drive the ball well and go in with a shorter club and -- you know, I think a good iron player has much more advantage when the course is a little firmer.

LEE PATTERSON: Anything else?

End of FastScripts....

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