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June 16, 1994

Frank Nobilo


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 there.

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 one?

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.

End of FastScripts....

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