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June 16, 1994
LES UNGER: Just played first round of his career in the U.S.
Open, Frank Nobilo, from Auckland, New Zealand. Courses in the
United States you have played, the record doesn't show that you
have been here, but perhaps you have.
FRANK NOBILO: Yeah, I played the last two USPGA's. I think by
memory I probably finished about 25th at Bellerive when Nick Price
won it. Last year I played with Paul Azinger in the third round.
I think after about 15 holes in the third round; probably two
off the lead; probably finished 20. Those are the only two majors
I have played in the United States up until now.
LES UNGER: Questions.
Q. How was the humidity and heat for you today?
FRANK NOBILO: Extremely tough. I was fortunate to play two tournaments
in the Far East this year Malaysian and Indonesian Open. I lost
Malaysia in the playoff; went on to win Indonesia the next week.
The temperature is very similar to here. I think it helps with
the slower pace of play. Obviously, today we had more time to
use a wet towel or get a lot of fluid into the system. If we were
playing much faster, I think the people would be expiring out
Q. Assuming that you are not very familiar with this golf course,
are you a little surprised, relieved, your reaction to coming
here starting so well?
FRANK NOBILO: I am relieved to have finished, actually. The golf
course itself, I think -- I have been playing professionally since
1980 and tee to green it looks very much like a British Open course,
but the greens are very much like courses in Melbourne and Australia
like Melbourne, Metropolitan Golf Club, Victoria, where I played
a lot of my early professional golf. It is a case of combining
both. I have enough experience on quick greens and played enough
British Open style golf courses. It is the case, hopefully, of
putting both parts of your game together. But it is a great golf
course. No real question about that. And obviously it is very,
very worthy of the U.S. Open.
Q. Two questions. I think you may have been the only golfer
without a hat. Did you forget a hat and secondly, could you talk
about the bogey, birdie on 16 and 17 and how mentally you were
affected by the bogey and coming back?
FRANK NOBILO: First and foremost, hats, I try and practice with
them, but I get the brim right over there, and I don't know, I
just can't seem to play with it. Every time I put one on I make
a bogey, so I just leave them off. Yeah, 16, we are out there
at that stage; I think 4 and a half, close to five hours and I
sort of had a bit of moving behind the tee and hit a 4-iron. I
thought I missed the green left. I was a little bit annoyed. I
was surprised to see the ball on the fringe. Just that first putt
wasn't that good; went to about four feet; hit a poor second putt.
Then it was a case of regrouping and saying, that hey you haven't
finished yet. It is a tough golf course, and you know, if you
let it slip now, you are going to come back in an ambulance. I
played 7, 8 really well. Hit a great drive down eight; hit an
8-iron. I thought the second shot at eight was great as well,
but you hit a hard spot and skipped off on to 20, 25 feet passed
the flag which is really, really quick, and so still had to work
the 2 putt for par, but the golf course you can't let up on. I
think when you get a bogey. I heard someone saying bogeys are
inevitable out there. You just have to avoid the double bogeys.
LES UNGER: You find the golf course played differently than
in your practice round.
FRANK NOBILO: Yes and no. I have tended to play most of my practice
rounds around midday in the afternoon because I figured that that
time of the day a lot of the moisture is already out of the greens.
A lot of the players tend to play their practice rounds early;
then the course tends to change. In practice, the course seems
to be much more benign, softer, but all my practice rounds have
been more in the afternoon, so it has been a little bit similar.
Q. Frank, how have your first U.S. Open round end up like this
FRANK NOBILO: It is great. I think the U.S. Open is obviously
one of the great majors. I base myself in Europe so we always
talk a lot about the British Open as being the number one major.
I think both the U.S. and the British are neck and neck. So I
think when you come and play you have never played them before,
and your whole life you wanted to play, I think when you come
out and play a famous course as Oakmont and shoot 69, you couldn't
really ask for anything else. I am ecstatic.
Q. There have been some complaints this week about the course
being set up to hard, the fairways are too narrow, rough is too
long, etc. so forth. Do you agree with that or are these conditions
similar to what you play, or how do you react to that?
FRANK NOBILO: I only played 3 of the majors now. I don't think
they were ever what we want, but the thing about every major championships,
probably the last decade, they have always seemed to establish
a very worthy winner, and I think if you look at the regular touring
that are played all over the world, a lot of the times it comes
down to putting competition and if you roll the ball good for
four days, you do well. But I don't think anyone flukes a major
championship now. They are set up so tough that it is very much
a case of bringing the best game with you and having a very, very
strong mind. I think that is always the requisite of a great champion.
So from that point of view, I don't think that they are set up
to tough. They are very uncompromising but at the end of the week
they always seem to pick out the best spot.
Q. Has it been frustrating in the past years not being able
to get into this tournament and describe your form coming in here?
FRANK NOBILO: I think from a European standpoint, it has been
very frustrating the way some of the foreign players have been
looked at in The Masters and the U.S. Open. I think the USPGA
lacks their attitude on exemptions four or five years ago and
the general consensus is, from a foreign players' point of view,
would love to play these events and sure as hell as soon as you
invite us, we will come over and play, and I think the standard
of golf worldwide now justifies that. The best players in the
world are from all over the globe. America still has the strongest
depth, no question about that. But golf is such an international
game now. I think for major championships to be worthy of the
championship they deserve, it should be more like tennis, the
best players that are acknowledged all over the world get a chance
to play and you always going to have great championships.
Q. And your form?
FRANK NOBILO: My form this year hasn't quite been as good as last
year. It has been very consistent. I think I played 10, 11 starts
in Europe. Had 5 top tens. Played two tournaments in the Far East.
I lost in the playoff in Malaysia and won the Indonesian Open
the week after. I haven't played a lot. What I have played has
been sort of fairly solid. For me, the year really starts from
now on in. The U.S. Open, the British Open, the USPGA plus whole
host of a lot of other events around the same time.
LES UNGER: I thank you.
FRANK NOBILO: Thank you very much.
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