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September 4, 2007

Luke Donald


JOEL SCHUCHMANN: Luke Donald, thanks for joining us here in the media center at the BMW Championship, the third event in the PGA TOUR Playoffs for the FedExCup. You enter this week's event 28th in the standings. First and foremost, you'd love to get a win here in your adopted hometown of Chicago. Maybe some opening comments.
LUKE DONALD: Yeah, I always enjoy coming to Chicago, playing this event. It's a home event for me, I guess. I stay at home. I enjoy this golf course. It has a lot of added benefits. Obviously it's a big week for me. I need to step up and play well this week and assure my place for next week.
So just looking to gain some confidence and hopefully have a chance to win come Sunday.

Q. We know you're a new bridegroom now. Has that affected your golf? Has it changed Luke Donald?
LUKE DONALD: I don't think so. I don't think my marriage has anything to do with it (laughter). You know, my wife, Diane and I, we lived together for four or five years before we got married. I don't think much has changed. I'm hoping it'll make me a stronger golfer rather than a weaker one.
I haven't played obviously very well, and I'm disappointed I haven't played as well as I know I can the last few months. I don't really put it down to anything in particular. I think it's just the game of golf is like that occasionally. I know I'm working on the right things. I'm trying to stay positive, and I know if I keep doing the right things that things will turn around and I'll have a good week.

Q. What do you think has been missing from your game? What are you working on specifically, and how close do you think you are?
LUKE DONALD: I do think I'm very close. My results might not show that, but it's not really one specific part of my game. I think mostly I've got to do a good job of mentally staying on top of my game. I think when you have some poor results and don't hit the ball as well as you'd like to, then it can get you down. But you've got to keep staying positive.
But it's really not been one part of my game. Like last week was a good example; one day I didn't putt very well, one day I didn't drive it very well. It's hard to pinpoint.
But I'm working very, very hard. I feel like I'm working on the right things with my coach, and it's a matter of staying patient as much as you can and knowing that -- just waiting for that one little spark, one little bit of momentum to get you going.
Last week I made 18 birdies, I just made a lot of mistakes. You can't make 18 birdies and not play well. It's a matter of being very close.

Q. Ryder Cup qualifications start this week back in the UK. These two tournaments give you a massive chance to pick up world points, don't they?
LUKE DONALD: Yeah, World Ranking points obviously are very high in these playoff events because the fields are so strong. I wasn't aware actually it was this week, but I knew it was sometime in September. That's added incentive to try and play well this week and next week obviously. Ryder Cup is obviously a huge deal to me. I've had two great Ryder Cups so far and I'd love to be a part of next year's also. Hopefully I can just start playing well and that will take care of itself.

Q. We heard a lot at the PGA and on about how a lot of players didn't understand the system, were adjusting to the FedExCup, slow to warm to it a little bit. Do you feel it's all full bloom now, or how do you feel it's progressed after two tournaments?
LUKE DONALD: It's getting a lot of talk. I think that's a good thing. I think it's bringing it a little bit more excitement to the end of the season, to the end of the TOUR Championship anyway. For me it's been a good thing. I mean, I haven't played like I would have liked to, but I've enjoyed something different. I think it's a new model. Obviously a lot of people are going to have a lot of questions at first, being the first year. I think a few things might change.
But overall I think it was a good move by the TOUR to shorten -- to bring the TOUR Championship closer to September rather than November. It's a big deal for these Playoff events. Obviously it's great to have one of them in Chicago, which is a great sporting community, and I think it deserves to have a great event this week. I enjoy the FedExCup. I mean, I'm looking forward to obviously reaping the benefits by playing a little better.

Q. Tiger missed one, now we don't know if Phil is coming. Are you surprised, given the push this has had from the TOUR, are you surprised any players would miss one of these if they didn't have to?
LUKE DONALD: Yeah, somewhat surprised. I mean, I think if the TOUR were to look back in hindsight, the idea was to get all the top players to play in all four. Obviously Tiger has missed one, Ernie didn't play last week, and I heard Phil is questionable. You know, that's obviously not what the TOUR wanted.
So I think they're going to have to really look at that and figure out if there's another way they can do that to try and make the players come and play four. Obviously we're all individual people and we can choose which schedules we want to do and what's important to us. But for me it was important to play all four, and hopefully I will be.

Q. You can be spokesman for the whole city of Chicago. Do you think the fans would be bummed if and when they found out that Phil is here playing a corporate outing today and he elects not to play?
LUKE DONALD: I'm sure the fans will be disappointed. He attracts a lot of people, a lot of fan base, and if he doesn't turn up, it'll be tough for this tournament, it'll be tough for the city of Chicago and its fans. But again, I guess it's Phil's choice. It's totally up to him what he wants to do, and whatever is in his best interest I'm sure he'll do.

Q. You said that maybe the TOUR could improve -- look back and see which ways it could guarantee people showing up all four weeks. Do you have any ideas in mind or specifics?
LUKE DONALD: Well, I haven't really thought about it too much. But you hear lots of suggestions out there. You know, maybe if you don't play in all four, you're ineligible to win the $10 million at the end. Maybe if you play in three of four you only win three quarters of it or something. There's so many different scenarios you could come up with, but it's finding the one that is fair for the TOUR and fair for everyone. Obviously the TOUR would love for Tiger and Phil and the big guys to play in every one, but it's tough to make them play that many in a row sometimes.

Q. There's talk about maybe not making the Pro-Am mandatory. Is that even an option in your mind?
LUKE DONALD: Well, Pro-Ams can be a pain sometimes, but I think for me I always look on the positives. They're a way to play a practice round the day before the tournament, tournament conditions. You can meet some great people, you can cultivate great relationships through them, and it's these people that -- where a lot of the money for the tournaments are generated. So I think it's quite a cool experience for -- it's very unique in our sport that amateurs are able to play with the professionals. You don't see it in any other sports where they play up close, and I think it's a tradition that should carry on.
I don't really like playing fivesomes. Maybe there's a way we could lessen the numbers a little bit. But otherwise -- there are a lot of events where they don't play Pro-Ams, the majors, the world events. All these players, they don't have to play in too many Pro-Ams touring the year.
JOEL SCHUCHMANN: Luke Donald, thank you.

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