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March 1, 2007

Nick Dougherty


GORDON SIMPSON: Nick, well done today, especially on the front nine. That was the key to your score to your 68, but didn't quite finish off on the back nine. Can you take us through your assessment of the day.
NICK DOUGHERTY: I think all in all it was a good day. I had three weeks off so I'm pleased with the score. You know, 68 wasn't what I was looking for. I did some work in Dubai; I had two weeks off after Dubai and then I went back there for a few days practise before here. And I'm working on some good stuff at moment on my swing and it feels great. The front nine was about as good of golf as I've played to be honest. All six birdies -- actually one birdie was from 20 feet, another was from 40 feet, so it was pretty spectacular and that doesn't happen very often, and I left two out there as well. So I was very pleased 5-under on the front nine. And then I birdied 1 as well. I was pleased with that.
But I don't know, I hit a bad tee shot down 3, and from then on really I struggled. I don't know what really happened with the swing which is really quite disappointing to be honest. I haven't hit a shot left in seven days of practise. I've hit a lot of balls, as well, and I was hitting some left today.
So I'm going to go do some work on it this afternoon. I'm sure I'll sort it out. It's a bit disappointing because I really thought, the way it was going, for the rest of my life, I'll never hit a bad shot again to be honest, which is golf.

Q. Do you think the 4-under is going to be a competitive type of score today? Graeme Storm is 7-under and Adam coming out later?
NICK DOUGHERTY: I think 4-under is good on any course particularly this one. As much as I'm disappointing with finishing 4-under, that's because I was 6-under through ten.
It's a tough golf course. I think it's particularly difficult. The greens are quite tricky to read and the rough is very penal. The par 3s are brutal -- well, probably two of them are the two hardest par 3s I've ever played, anyway. So I think 4-under is a good score. I think if you shot 4-under, you would be relatively happy.
I don't know, I think I saw Ernie is over par or something. The good players are also struggling. It's one of those courses, if you play good, you'll reap the benefits because you're going to be hitting short irons off the fairway; so the greens, they can be attacked. But if you start missing fairways, like the last five for me was tough. I did quite well to come back in 2-over for the last five holes or six holes. It's not that easy, so 4-under is good, yeah.
GORDON SIMPSON: Is there anything specific that someone said to you to work on and that's what got you going?
NICK DOUGHERTY: Kind of. Some of the stuff, there's things that Lead has given me to do. It's the same kind of thing, but it's a little bit of a different twist on it. I'm really starting to relate to it well. You know, I'm trying to do the same things now for a few years, and they are starting to take, and when it's good now, it's really, really good.
The consistency is the important thing for me this year really, and that's why it's disappointing because that does not produce consistent golf playing like that the last six holes. But so far this year, I've been extremely consistent.

Q. Could we have what was a key thought as your swing was going so well, and then could you move on; could it have been the heat that got to you over the last few holes?
NICK DOUGHERTY: That would be a nice way to think of it, yeah. But I don't think so, though. You know, the things I'm working on, I mean, I prefer to keep them to myself to be honest at the moment because I'm usually quite open about what I do with my golf swing. And it means more to me because the kind of things I work on myself as well -- David has given me like a blueprint of where I'm going with the swing, but it's got my take on it.
So the things I'm working on are really quite simple. But when I hit the bad tee shot on 3, a tee shot that I'm not that keen on, and then I think I lost a little bit of confidence there because all of a sudden I hit that tee shot left, and like I say, I haven't hit one left in like six days or seven days of practise. So to do that, all of a sudden it made me a little bit worried. The swing I'm making is a more aggressive, confident kind of action. So if you are tentative with it, it can be dangerous, especially around this golf course. It shows up around here because there's so much trouble around.

Q. Where were you seeing Leadbetter most recently?
NICK DOUGHERTY: I haven't seen him -- I worked with him at Christmas time. So after New Zealand I went there for four weeks. He gave me some stuff, like you may have seen me using it but I use the two poles when I practise. One is for alignment, one is for shaft plane, and I got criticised on SKY Sports for me using it at tournaments because it looks technical, when actually it's nothing like that at all.
What those instruments give me is they give me confidence to know that I'm doing to right, because if I swing incorrectly, I hit the poles. So it's instant feedback for me. So even when I warm up, like for this round today I use that as my alignment pole, I'll use it on the back and I'll use it on the front, because those are the two things in the swing I need.
So those are the things David gave me and those are things I can use constantly and they are things that never change. Because of course as you know in golf, if your swing -- if you change your grip because it's too strong and it may make it weaker and that -- inaudible -- over time. So to keep that feeling of it being weak, which you feel when you first do it, once you get used to that, you have to do it more and more; before you know it, you have too weak a grip and that's what happens. That's what I've done before when I've worked with David. I've gone away and it's been great at the start of the year and I've not seen him through the year and I slowly kind of deteriorating because I start fiddling and stuff.
So the things he's given me are consistent and I can do without him. But also my plan this year is to see him at least three or four times throughout the season, and I have a completely different schedule this year. I mean, I've only played six tournaments, which is not many for me considering I played three before Christmas. I'm not going to play more than 26. I'm going to base this year around peaking for our good tournaments because that's where I've always poorly, and it's not because of the golf courses -- sorry, they are all good tournaments, but our stronger tournaments at home in Europe, and for me that's where I want to try and play well this year.
GORDON SIMPSON: Thank you very much for coming in and good luck tomorrow.

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