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June 14, 2007

Nick Dougherty


Q. First round was a fantastic round out there?
NICK DOUGHERTY: Yeah, I'm delighted. I think it's my first, you know, U.S. Open is my favorite tournament to play, which is unusual, because I'm British so you think it would be the British open, but Pinehurst is the most special week I've ever had on the golf course and this here is fabulous, so I'm extremely pleased with that start.
It's the first major I've come to usually in good form. Usually I'm struggling or my confidence is struggling a bit so I'm very pleased.

Q. Is there something different about the game, your head, your mentality, your confidence?
NICK DOUGHERTY: Yeah, with all of that, my game is so much, better, I've been working with a new coach, Damien Taylor, I still work with Leadbetter as well, but Damien has taken a new role, and obviously playing so well halfway through last year and looking like I was going to make The Ryder Cup team and struggling for that period of time, you learn a lot, and I think I've come on a lot since then and it's good. It's nice to go out and shoot a round like that, because the gods are saying, you deserve to play better; you're a better shooter.

Q. Does the back play easier than the front?
NICK DOUGHERTY: To be honest I think the back is a lot easier than the front anyway, because 7, 8, and 9 is so brutal. I putted well on the backside, it's hard to tell if the course is playing easier than it has` been because of the rain last night. It's softer, and it's still very difficult, but it means you can just about stop the ball now. 16 you can hit a 5-iron over that trap and stop it, like today, whereas when it's firm you have no chance.
We're probably going to have a good day today and after that, who knows?

Q. What do you enjoy about being here?
NICK DOUGHERTY: I love the fun, you Americans are noisier than us, and I like that. I love the atmosphere, the way the tournament is run, I love how tough the course is?
The U.S. Open is brutal, it tests every aspect of your game, and mentally as well and it's just one that I like trying to qualify for every year and I'm delighted that I made it through again.

Q. I know you grew up in Liverpool, what did your parents do? Tell us about your background.
NICK DOUGHERTY: My mom has been a housewife now for about -- well, for as long as dad told her to be, about 20-odd years now. My dad was a car salesman and then he moved into the property business and he coached me from what I was 4 years of age which is when I started. So I'm a golfy family. My brother is a corporate lawyer in New York and they don't get to come watch me play too much, unfortunately. They're not here now. Dad can't help to watch it on TV and tell me what he thinks about what he thinks about every shot I hit. He came to watch me at Bay Hill once and never do it again.

Q. Did you score better than you played?
NICK DOUGHERTY: Yeah, that's reflected in my putting stats on the back nine, my short game was great, and my course discipline was superb as well. It's disappointing, because I've been playing well in practice and I've got my coach here, and we should work on it, and it's the same thing that I've been doing wrong, so it should be easy to fix. I'm just pleased to get through hitting it the way I did.

Q. Nick can you talk about the 17th?
NICK DOUGHERTY: I hit a 3-iron down the right, today that wind is hurting, so I went down the right, and then I hit it 6 foot to the hole, and it was an easy putt.

Q. (Question regarding driver.)
NICK DOUGHERTY: I would have been, but today, I used a driver. It's huge, and you would still struggle to reach the front.

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