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June 18, 1994

Frank Nobilo


LES UNGER: Are you comfortable with your position? What are you thinking about as far as tomorrow goes.

FRANK NOBILO: I think you generally try and take each day as it comes. Ernie obviously is playing really well. He is a very good friend, so I don't know if we are going to be drawn together or not. That would probably help both of us if it was. It is a great golf course, and I think with the amount of top players that are within five or six shots of the lead, conceivably anything can happen tomorrow. It is a golf course where-- obviously Johnny Miller shot 63. With the quality of the players there, it is very, very possible. So you know, because of all those eventualities, I have really got to worry about the way in which I play. If I keep trying to play the golf course the same way; if I can stop myself getting to myself, then I have a good chance.

LES UNGER: Would you like the weather to stay as it is?

FRANK NOBILO: Yeah, I think it is good. I think the weather being hot helps someone like myself. I played two tournaments in the far east this year, in similar conditions, lost one in a playoff and then won the next week by about 3, 4 shots. So the hot weather is good. I seem to swing all right in the heat and keep going.

LES UNGER: Questions, please.

Q. Started to talk before about the foreign players and Tom Watson's comment was he thought the top international players were dominant right now?

FRANK NOBILO: Yeah, as I was mentioning the day before, it is a great compliment for, first of all, Tom to say that because he obviously has been one of greatest players of all the time. I think what he is highlighting on is the fact that most of the foreign players right now generally tend to play all over the world, so they are learn a great variation of golf shots. As the top American players, I think, currently now there is probably 10, 15 of the top American players that really generally choose to travel and choose to play all over the world. Whereas there is probably the top 30 or 45 players that have chosen to play in Far East, Europe, America, whatever, so I think it does broaden your game and it teaches them more shots. If you turn the clock back to the '60s, Palmer and Nicklaus and the likes of Julius Boros, they were the only players who used to travel and played anywhere. That is why, hence, I think, they were so dominant. They were familiar with the great variety of conditions.

Q. Frank are you as surprised as most American golf fans probably are to find you in the spot you are in?

FRANK NOBILO: Yes and no, I suppose. To me, it doesn't really matter one way or the other. If they can get up there and kick my ball in, I'd probably be more interested. It is awkward. I play such little golf in America, so from that point of view, I think it would be-- it probably would be the logical assumption that they wouldn't know who I was.

Q. I don't know if we want to turn this into a Ryder Cup, but there are-- between the foreign players and the American players, the only American players up there are, I guess, Hale Irwin and Tom Watson. Do you fear them because of their experience and their age and all that they have done?

FRANK NOBILO: Yeah, I they are all great players. Hale Irwin has won 3 U.S. Opens. He knows what it is like. Tom obviously won a bunch of the majors. There are a lot of other guys just behind them. I think fear has to be sort of explained. So many things can happen. It can happen through so many different players. The best thing about a major championships is reputations count for very little once the golf ball has been hit. They have a huge intimidation factor at the start of the week and they are worth a few shots, but I think because of the nature of the golf course and the event, I think, it does affect every player including the great players. The biggest advantage that they do have is they are probably more used to that -- they are more used to that sort of intense pressure. But then that really still means that they have to play well and put themselves in the position where their experience would count.

Q. Do you expect the crowd tomorrow to get into a pro U.S. mentality?

FRANK NOBILO: Not really. I mean, you got a South African on the top. I am from New Zealand. You got a Scott. There are a few Americans. I think it is a compliment to the tournament. The USGA decided this year to invite a lot of more foreign players and I think with the intention of inviting a lot more foreign players it is a credit to the tournament that the guys are performing well. So in some respects if you don't want that to happen you don't invite them. And I think it enhances the tournament. It is one of the great championships of the world. It always has been. So it's a tribute to America that everyone wants to come here and play well. I think that is the way I would look at it.

Q. You mentioned playing two tournaments in the Far East. Where were they at and who else of note was playing in those tournaments?

FRANK NOBILO: I was just invited to play the Malaysian Open and the Indonesian Open. Probably most of the players that are playing would probably play on the mini tour in the states things like that. There were a few other Europeans. But it fitted in nicely. It was in about March, so it was quite cold in Europe and there was obviously a couple of tournaments that I didn't like to play at that stage. It fitted nicely. I needed to work on my game. I needed to work up a sun tan as well so ....

LES UNGER: Have you played in a pairing with any of the top three or four fellows recently or ever?

FRANK NOBILO: Yeah, Ernie, we played a few practice rounds lately; not this week actually, but more in Europe. And Colin and I played start of the year, yeah, so most of the guys.

Q. Frank, you mentioned pressure. As your role in this tournament has become more and more prominent. Have you felt the pressure becoming more and more prominent and particularly what were you feeling today?

FRANK NOBILO: Yeah, I think it is -- you are not human if you don't feel it. You have to outweigh that with what you can achieve; when the fear of hitting a bad shot or playing poorly, either comes the enjoyment factor or what you want really want to achieve problem, then it becomes a real problem but I don't get to play in a U.S. Open everyday so I feel I have something to prove. Right now, that is the overriding factor. Maybe with three holes to go tomorrow, it might be a different kettle of fish. Big thing now is that I wanted to justify my inclusion in the event. I wanted to come here and try and prove that I was -- that you know, I was probably worthy enough to try and get a spot in the Masters next year or whatever. So there was a lot of things to try and achieve, and I think when you have your focus on those things that does help you concentrate.

LES UNGER: Have you played other American courses in tournament play?

FRANK NOBILO: Only the USPGA last two years.

Q. At 24 years of age, do you think Ernie Els has the experience; the depth of game and the composure to win a major championship?

FRANK NOBILO: No question. I think one of the big advantages dealing with Ernie right now is that Ernie played tremendously well in the Volvo PGA just a few weeks ago beaten by the current Masters champion who was full of confidence. Ernie played great and didn't fault. Then obviously last week he comes to America and he loses to Lee Janzen, last year's U.S. Open champion. So I think the thing is he is actually used to being up there against the best players in the world and right now, I think he would be sort of thinking, hell, I could have won the last two tournaments, and his focus would actually be more on winning rather than the consequences of playing poorly, so right now I'd say he is in an ideal frame of mind.

Q. Where did you meet Ernie and tell us what you know about him?

LES UNGER: He will do that. He is right there.

FRANK NOBILO: Oh, there he is. It was 4 o'clock in the morning; wasn't it, Ernie? No, I was unfortunate enough to be on the receiving side of some of Ernie's golf a few years ago. He is a bit bigger than me so I have to be polite now that he is back in the room. He is such an affable young player, very easy to get along with, has made a lot of friends in a very, very short career and already he has won a bunch of tournaments and I know he is going to go on and play very, very well.

LES UNGER: One more if there is a good question. Nobody has a good question, we wish you good luck.

End of FastScripts....

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