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November 16, 2001

Bernhard Langer

Frank Nobilo


THE MODERATOR: Congratulations on winning the first match. I think we'll have some overcall comments from each of you regarding the match and conditions out on the course today?

FRANK NOBILO: I looked forward to it as soon as I saw the pairing. Any time you are partnered with someone you've respected for 20 years, is always going to get me up to the occasion. On this type of golf course, it's a tremendous test for match play, and I think we had just the right amount of breeze where you could play shots you were not going to be penalized too much, the breeze was not excessive. Scott and John both had great seasons, as well as Bernhard, and it was always nip and tuck from the very first hole.

BERNHARD LANGER: I agree with Frank. Being out with Frank was a pleasure. He played very well drove the ball great, hit a lot of solid iron shots. And the greens are very difficult to read and to putt on. They have got a lot of slope and you have a lot of grain, the speed varies going into the grain or downgrain. The wind blows the ball around on some of the exposed greens. The tricky part is on the greens, I would say. But it was also a pleasure going against Scott and John. They were truly gentlemen. There was nothing that could have been criticized. We enjoyed each other's company. We had a good match until 17 when we finally won, but up until then nobody was ever more than 2-up. And this course can grab you anyway, every hole, especially the holes coming in are very challenging and very tough. So even if you are 2-up or 3-up, it doesn't mean that you are going to win the match. You have to play until the end.

Q. Any particular turning point? Obviously, the match was close throughout, but anything that stood out as a turning point in the match?

BERNHARD LANGER: I thought it was important for us when we went 2-up. First we were down when John made a good putt on the first hole and we got one behind, and then we got it back fairly quickly and got ahead in the game. Then eventually we got to 2-up on 10, and that gives you just a little bit of a cushion and even though we lost one later on we were always ahead from the fourth hole on -- I think, fourth or fifth hole on which we were ahead in the game. I think that's good. That keeps the pressure on the other team.

Q. Bernhard, any way of comparing the golf course and the conditions and the pressure between this event, which has no history and what transpired in '91?

BERNHARD LANGER: Of course, you can compare it. The golf course, the tees are forward, so we're playing a shorter golf course than we did ten years ago. So it's a little bit easier. The wind is similar, even though there were a day or two in the Ryder Cup when it was really blowing hard. Today it was just about 10, 15 miles an hour and it's actually slowing down now. So it is a little less and the wind really makes this golf course -- because of the difficult greens and the undulations and slope in it, if you misjudge the wind and you take the wrong club or the wrong trajectory, you are going to have very tough putts. You are going to make lots of 3-putts. So the golf course is in excellent shape. The greens are maybe not quite as good as they were ten years ago. They were really nice then, but it's a little bit later in the year and they have overseeded. I think at the time we played ten years ago, it was pure bermuda, so it's a little different now.

Q. Talk about the pressure?

BERNHARD LANGER: The pressure is very similar. Obviously, the Ryder Cup has a great history and we've had great rivalries over the last 20 years. But this is just as important because we don't like to lose. I mean, you pick any of the guys out here, we want to win, which doesn't mean we are going to be mean to each other or whatever. Just, hopefully, it will be played in the spirit of the game, gentlemen-like and with the rules, according to the rules. We are certainly going to try 100%.

Q. Frank as someone who did not take part in that Ryder Cup, is that talked about among players that, you know, The Ocean Course was such a bear to handle and so difficult to deal with back then?

FRANK NOBILO: No question. I think as a foreign player, and I mean one that's not from Europe and one that's not from America, we were always envious of the tremendous matches that were played between the two respective nations. I remember vividly watching '91, and I think all credit to some respects to Mark Calcavecchia to come back after what happened. When you have events of that nature, under that sort of pressure, it can break careers. And this course is so penal, in certain situations, I didn't really want to have to play 17. And Bernhard and I were talking about it last night and for some unknown reason, I said that I don't mind taking the odds. We got a little lucky there, too, with my shot. Yeah, these sort of events always seem to be on golf courses that have very penal finishing holes. I know the three Presidents Cups that I've played, I think Lake Manassas was a much softer venue that this. They seem to put the Ryder Cup on some really strong tests. I think the Ryder Cup is tremendous competition, but I think if you ask anyone, as long as you play this game, as long as you can keep walking, hitting golf shots, you want to compete. And the hardest thing for me over the last two to three years, for various reasons, I haven't played as well and you really miss competition. Just getting out there and making a number doesn't really cut it. You miss playing with the best players in the game because they are a great bunch. I think what a lot of the scribes miss, when you have the best players in the world play so hard, but they play incredibly fair, and you see that at the top level in this game and I don't think you see that in any other sport. So from that aspect I think it is a privilege to be involved in an event that's not the Ryder Cup and it's appreciated by all of the players playing it.

Q. Both of you mentioned the golf course is a great match-play venue, what about as a stroke-play event, do you think it's set up properly, could stand the test under stroke-play?

BERNHARD LANGER: Oh, definitely. I think the golf course is a great design. It's very challenging and has a lot of interesting and demanding holes out there, so you could play any sort of event. Especially for match-play because of the holes coming in, especially the last five or six, but that doesn't take anything away from the first few holes that are very good, too. With the difficult greens that you have out here and the wind that is always blowing, it makes it a great venue for any type of tournament, it doesn't matter what.

Q. Alternate-shot most casual golfers don't get to play very often. What are some keys about having a good alternate-shot partner and a good match in order to make things work between the two of you?

FRANK NOBILO: I think you've got to be very patient, No. 1. You know, we were talking about it before we came here, alternate-shot, mistakes are really critical because you are literally giving a hole away. In best ball somebody can make a birdie out of nowhere. But if you drive the ball out of play, you put your partner under tremendous pressure, poor iron shot on a golf course like this, it's very difficult. You're trying to do your best to put your partner in the best possible position, but at the same time, you don't want to put him out of play. It's a great challenge. I've enjoyed alternate-shot. I played it as an amateur. Played it at the Presidents Cup, and to play with someone like Bernhard as your partner, when he hits so many high-quality shots, it does make the job a little bit easier, but it's good fun.

BERNHARD LANGER: I agree totally with what Frank said. But on top of that, alternate-shot, you can't be totally aggressive because you've got to pay the price immediately. If you miss one thin on the wrong side of the green, you are not going to make birdie and lose the hole. It's very different from the four-ball. You can be very aggressive if your partner is in play, at least one of the partners can go for it and risk everything as long as the other one is in play. But in foursomes, you can't do that. You've got to play smart, keep the ball on the fairway, on the greens and keep the pressure on the other team. If you keep missing fairways and greens, it makes it easy for the other guys and you don't want to do that. To me, it's always -- with the guys in the Ryder Cup, anyway, you want to play the guys who are steady, who can play steadier. In four-ball, you bring the guys out who can make six or eight birdies, but four or five bogeys, as well. But we don't have this option this week because everybody is playing.

THE MODERATOR: Gentlemen, thank you very much and we wish you all the best the rest of the way.

End of FastScripts....

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