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January 18, 2007

Nick Dougherty


GORDON SIMPSON: Very nice round, 66, good way to start your new year.
NICK DOUGHERTY: Yeah, it is. I played relatively well. I was quite consistent. My iron play was relatively good. I was hitting a lot of greens and when you're doing that it's pretty easy. I missed quite a few putts out there. I find the greens quite true to read because of the grain. The putt on 18 I missed it about four or five inches and it was only about eight feet. But all in all everything was all right. I've worked on my swing with David Leadbetter in Orlando in the winter, four weeks.
GORDON SIMPSON: How much of that was work?
NICK DOUGHERTY: I did four days with David, and then I practised for like -- I practised maybe just over half. I did 17 or 18 days practise, the rest was holiday.
But all in all, it's good. It was a little bit scraggy out there. I wasn't quite synchronized, but having said that, even when I didn't play so good, it wasn't drastic. The back half of last season when I played poorly, it was really, really bad.
So all in all, I'm quite pleased -- well, I'm really pleased with my score. It was a really good start.
I wouldn't have thought I would be three behind. Phil played awesome, he's a great guy. I've played practise rounds with him as well and he's just got a really solid golf game. You wonder where he's been till now. You watch him play and it's top draw; he's as good as any of the other guys. He hits it really good, really solid and he putted extremely well today, and he wasn't making them in the side; they were going in the middle.
GORDON SIMPSON: Just as well he's not listening to this.
NICK DOUGHERTY: I told him he's lucky. I did tell him that.

Q. Did you take a break after New Zealand?
NICK DOUGHERTY: Yeah, I did. I flew from there to South Beach on holiday with my girlfriend for seven days and I went over there. So I did really, but I really like the stuff that I did in New Zealand. Don't get me wrong, I probably should have won, but 79 was pretty bad in the third round. My attitude was really good and I was laid back and wasn't that bothered.
It was pretty good today. I wasn't really that fussed in particular. I think that's the way forward for me. I'd like to think that golf is a game that's aggressive because that's the kind of person I am. I like the idea of contact sports, you don't think about what you're doing, you just react to things. But golf isn't that way, so for me getting excited and trying to make things happen doesn't really work.
So I'm going to try to stick to being more laid back and carefree in some ways, because if I do something really bad, no point in beating myself up because it's not that important particularly anyway.
It's very correct in what you say. I do always play well at the beginning of the year. I think that's also a lot to do with scheduling as well. This year I'm not going to play more than 26. Last year I played 29 but that's unusual for me, and if I add to them when I get in majors, I'll take tournaments out to keep it there, and I'd like to see David sort of three or four times this year as well.

Q. Don't you see David at the majors?
NICK DOUGHERTY: Yeah, I see him at the majors, which is a waste of time. Nothing against David but how can you work at a major? Your mind has to be on what you're doing; they are hard enough as they are, aren't they. Maybe Wentworth, once or twice he's been there and that's it and that's not good enough.
I need it -- even when I first got with David, his first reaction was "it's much better than it's ever been when you come to me before," which is not what I expected because I played the worst golf of my professional career for five months, so it shocked me a bit. If I would have known that when I was doing it, obviously his opinion about my golf swing is something that is, you know, it's important to me. It gives me confidence because I trust him.

Q. Do you treat as sacrosanct everything he tells you?
NICK DOUGHERTY: No. But when it comes to my golf swing, yeah -- when it comes to my golf swing, if he says to do something -- I mean, I question if it was a bit radical. But I generally believe the man. It would be like Tiger Woods trying to tell me what he thinks, and you could say, that's all right, Tiger, isn't it, you would just go with it because he knows his stuff. And I have faith in that man, so I go with it, yeah.

Q. (On second half of last season).
NICK DOUGHERTY: No, because also I never won a tournament before the end of the season. Last event of the year I should have won and I came in second and I played some really good golf.
I don't really know to be honest. It's just last year all went horribly wrong because I tried to be doing something that I wasn't. The way I play golf is good enough and it was good enough to me, to be on the Ryder Cup Team, I just wanted it so bad and that's my personality, I can't help it. I tried so hard, I pushed so hard and it just doesn't work for me.
It's so detrimental. It wouldn't take much for me to do something fractionally wrong, and my confidence goes through the floor. I don't like the person that I feel, the things I say, the remarks I make, it's just not really me.
So it's just easier -- I find it better if I can be a little bit more laid back about it and that comes back to the way I was brought up. Everything's been really quite -- in my childhood, if I did it wrong, I was made to know about it. And that's certainly got me so far, but now I'm at the stage where I've got to back off. I work hard, I do, I do everything I've got to do. What more can I do? I've got to just let it happen.

Q. How do you compare to your dad in terms of being strict?
NICK DOUGHERTY: I'm probably worse than him in a lot of ways. My self-talk is not now -- certainly, I can't say now because it's not been that long since I changed, but certainly my self-thoughts was extremely bad. I don't talk to anyone else in the world like I talk to myself. And that's me, but that's the kind of thing that was instilled to me. Anything other than perfection -- that's what my goal is, is to get away from it, relax a bit.

Q. Hohw about the revisions to the golf course?
NICK DOUGHERTY: Oh, is there? I didn't know that. They are all good to be honest. On the holes they have done it, certainly to make holes like 3, it's a better driving hole now. It's a hard driving course as it is, but the added length, I don't think they make a dramatic difference on the hole, now is just means you can hit driver instead of 3-wood.
GORDON SIMPSON: Thank you very much.

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