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June 14, 1994
LES UNGER: Nick Faldo has never previously been to Oakmont,
has played two and a half rounds in the last few days. So we might
as well find out his assessment of this course.
NICK FALDO: I don't know. I think, as everybody said, it is a
very demanding golf course. I mean, it is the toughest one I have
ever seen. You have got to drive, hit the fairways, second shots
are tough. And as everybody has been saying, the greens are the
toughest slopes I have ever seen anywhere in the world. So all
in all, it is a pretty severe golf course.
LES UNGER: Do we have some questions for Nick?
Q. Talk a little bit more about the greens.
NICK FALDO: Talk more about the greens. Well, I thought the funny
thing was, I walked up to standing at a tee and said "this
one is all right." I thought at last, "this is a flat
one." I said, "where is the pin?" So she said,
"it is behind that hump, but you can't see that because there
is a hump in front. It is in between two ridges." I said,
"oh, fine, this is the flat one." So, you know, they
are brutal. There is a couple of them out there, where you would
be 30 feet from a hole and got 31 feet of break. I mean, they
are quite something. They are quick. There is obviously certain
areas you just don't want to be. That is going to be the "skiddle"
of the week. It is really being, you know, defensively smart in
hitting it in the right spots, so you are constantly giving yourself
half a chance to, you know, just 2-putt and walk off the green
happy. I mean, I think it is just going to be a very patient week
Q. Comparisons with other U.S. Open venues?
NICK FALDO: Oh, I should think this is the toughest. If you play
it in this sort of weather where the greens are firm, then this
will be the toughest golf course, you know, simply because every
shot is so demanding. You got to hit those fairways because the
rough is so thick that you will just be wedging it out back into
play and, you know, the greens are, as I said, second shots are
very difficult because you want to get to the right spot. And
then, if you are not quite in the right spot, you are going to
have what looks like a straightforward putt, but every putt seems
to be moving, you know, six, eight, ten feet a break all the time.
Q. Can you compare the greens here to Augusta greens?
NICK FALDO: Well, these are tougher, far more severe than Augusta.
Augusta doesn't have many greens that run away from you. You have
got so many greens here that front to back and then off they go
and there is nothing out there to stop them from rolling. I mean,
you can quite easily just -- you know, if you just think, oh,
this is half hole, boy, just give it a bit of a hit, you will
run 25 feet past, no problem.
Q. What did that victory do to your confidence; the recent
victory in Europe? Talk about the period leading up to it.
NICK FALDO: It helped. I have been working hard on my game all
season. I have been very pleased with the improvement which is
nice to get a little bit of reward for the work that I have been
doing. I looked it on film. Really, the swing is as good as it
has ever been. I think that that is -- so I have just got to go
out there and just play and, you know, see what I can do.
Q. Nick, assuming the weather doesn't change much, what kind
of score do you think is going to win here?
NICK FALDO: That is speculation, really. I have no idea what --
I mean, if it rains, it's going to soften the greens and then
you see what sort of scores for the last two days when it softens
up -- that is a tough one. I mean, you are going from, if it's
hard-- Jack won with one under, and if it gets soft, you know,
Larry Nelson finished 65, 67, so that shows you the difference.
So I really -- pure speculation what the score will be.
Q. Nick, have you ever seen a golf course that is better suited
to your game?
NICK FALDO: I don't know. Well, if you are playing good, you obviously
-- the last winners won here playing left to right and I hit the
ball left to right. I think that is obviously the way that the
golf course shapes up, so -- but I think I am quite happy with
it for the way things are out there at the moment. I think I am
going to hit a lot of 1-irons. I can't see much more than between
two and four times with the driver per day - most of the times
either a 1-iron, and you know, just keep the thing on the fairways;
that is the most important thing out there.
Q. Nick, some of the players have compared this with some Links
courses because of the ability to run the ball up, do you feel
NICK FALDO: That is the nice thing about it. You have to have
that-- you know this was designed 100 years ago and you have got
to have that ability. Obviously they had 350 bunkers here before,
so you have got to have that ability to land it short because
they have got so many greens that slope downhill and away -- I
guess it originally designed with no trees out there probably
very much did look like a Links.
Q. The foreign players usually win Augusta and you all come
over here and have a rough time with the U.S. Open. Steve talked
a little bit about this Links course. This weird setup now and
the way it is playing, is that going to give a European player
an advantage; namely you?
NICK FALDO: I can't see how the golf course, you know, leaves
us with such an advantage in any way -- I think you know, I think
if you do have to run the ball in; then we are used to that possibly
more than American guys, yeah, because we play a lot of courses
in Europe which when they get firm, we have to bounce the ball
30 yards short of the green. It wouldn't quite be that firm, but
you know, you have got to visualize landing in certain spots and
letting it release, that is the trick of it and knowing exactly
how far it will release.
Q. On what four holes will you use your driver?
NICK FALDO: Probably 7 and 9; then possibly 11 because that is
going straight into the wind; that is tough to get to the top
of the hill and maybe 18 -- I mean, that is about it, really.
Q. Have you had a 4-putt yet out there?
NICK FALDO: I beg your pardon? Have I had a 4-putt out there?
Q. Everybody else has?
NICK FALDO: I am sure. I haven't been trying that hard yet. Yeah--
no, I haven't been grinding that hard yet, but you can lip it
out from 4 feet and if the thing goes 15 feet the other way, so
I haven't trying to keep it easy. Easy on the mind.
Q. How much are you looking forward to the challenge given
that this is, as you say, the toughest golf course you have ever
seen; that is the general consensus, how much --
NICK FALDO: As you said, it is the world challenge. You have got
to accept the challenge and play as well as you can. I think it
is going to be a lot of times on that golf course, you are going
to have to accept what happens and what you get. I mean, it is
going to be a tough course. There is -- nobody can go through,
you know, 72 holes and it is all gone smoothly for you. I mean,
I think you have got to hit some great shots and not get the reward
for it and obviously, I think the important thing is to try and
keep your momentum. I think that is if you make a mistake, which,
you know, to hopefully bounce back after that. That is going to
be the key thing. Because if you keep playing a couple of holes
and you go in the rough all the time, running up the score, it
is going to dent your morale pretty hard. I think somehow you
got to keep the momentum and keep your morale up. That is the
Q. What does the U.S. Open mean to you now? Is it one you want
to win the most?
NICK FALDO: Yeah, sure. That is the number one on my list, yeah,
simple as that.
Q. Nick, can you reflect back a little bit on the year with
Curtis (Strange) and how well you played that year and what that
meant to you?
NICK FALDO: Yeah, I played-- I only missed four fairways the whole
week and, you know, from tee to green I played great and didn't
have a clue what I was doing with the putter, so that was, you
know -- but you don't look at it -- that course, the problems
were all part of it, obviously I ran close there. I ran close
the other time when I hit the hole wherever that was (Medinah
Q. How long was that putt?
NICK FALDO: About 20 feet. Yeah.
Q. Nick, I am sorry if I missed it, but you talked about the
greens. Did you say this was the first time you have been here
and also comment about those greens.
NICK FALDO: That was the first time I have been here and these
greens are -- they are the "bestest" I have ever seen.
LES UNGER: I appreciate you coming by thank you.
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