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October 7, 2007

Nick Dougherty


SCOTT CROCKETT: All right everyone, Nick, many, many congratulations and a wonderful performance today. We sat together all of us this year a lot of times lamenting on you not winning, and now this week we are sitting here discussing you actually winning. You must be very, very pleased with yourself.
NICK DOUGHERTY: I'm, yeah, especially in the manner that I did it. The start I had felt like a similar start to other tournaments where I had other chances to win. But you know, I spoke to my dad before I went out and I felt very nervous to be honest. It means so much, you know, to win, and as much as I really wanted for it not to mean that much to me, it's difficult. You know, it's my nature to care that much. I just felt it was in my hands.
And it's a life-changing win in that what it's done. It's changed the perspective of this year; it's changed obviously where I am in the world, where I am with my own personal goals in my career and what I've done. It's just so hard for me to go through the process without me jumping and wanting to get to the end too quickly.
I was prepared to go out there today and felt much better and when I got out there. I just trusted myself and I knew that I had the game to get it back, and I did. I made three lovely birdies in a row there, and I played really solid, because it was a much more difficult golf course today. Pin positions were extremely tough, and obviously there's a bit more wind, especially into on the back nine which made it play particularly difficult.
I hit a couple of flat shots in, hit my second shot fat on 16, but amazing 2-putt.
17, the par 5, saw Ernie just made bogey, and knew I had a three-shot lead at the time, and it's kind of a nothing shot up there. So I kind of bumped up off the right short of the green and hit a putt across the green. My long putting has been great and I thought I would have a good chance of getting up-and-down, and if it didn't work, I would make five. Well, I hit a pretty awful bunker shot to the front and ended up pretty much behind the bunker and I made a good 3-putt so to speak from there to make bogey.
And then 18, you know, I didn't hit a particularly great tee shot, but it was a fairway finder, and a good shot in and it was lovely to finish that way. It was nice to get the job done.
The difference between here and Singapore, I cruised to the finish in the end. This one, I worked harder for, and the calibre of player that I was trying to beat, especially when I saw Ernie get within one, I thought, goodness, gracious, it's just what you need, someone of that calibre. And then he fell away.
And then Justin came, who to be honest is the guy I thought was going to put the heat on me before I teed off because he's playing so well at the moment. So to beat him means a great deal to me.

Q. Is it a relief to have won after so many chances this year?
NICK DOUGHERTY: Exactly, yeah, I wasn't getting away from what I was doing. I've done fantastically well this year. It's because of what I've done that I was in a position to be able to win this week. The way I dealt with the start today, I didn't have those attributes, you know, ten months ago, and I think I've learned from the errors. And thankfully the errors have been in events that haven't been as important as this one, and so it's nice for me to get it right in the right place.
So, you know, it is a relief, though, you're right. It's feels like it's been a long time since I've won Singapore, many opportunities not taken and many squandered. So it's nice to be on the receiving end of a trophy again.

Q. And now you're on top of The Ryder Cup Money List, how important is that?
NICK DOUGHERTY: If I can just cling on. If I can just cling on now.
Of course it is important to me. I really want to make that team. And you've got to play -- that's the thing I've noticed before. When I got close last time for The Ryder Cup, I never had any really big finishes in big events, and that's what you've got to do. So wins like this are important; and to win an event with this field and this stature, it should give me confidence that any tournament now. It's equal to anything, obviously, outside of the major championships. It's one of our big events, fantastic field this week. So it gives me a lot of confidence.

Q. Would you have been less nervous if you had been tied for the lead?
NICK DOUGHERTY: Yeah, I think you're right, I think I would have been less nervous if I was tied, because a lot of it is my expectation that I put on myself. I demand so much of myself, and it becomes a real burden and it becomes hard to operate. I start making it and swinging it outside of myself and I start making errors and putting pressure; and it's pressure not from anyone else, it's just me.
And also, dad said last night in typical dad way, trying to say the right thing, he said, second place would be good enough for him, so it's in your hands isn't it, really, which in a sense is correct. But then it really got me thinking, yeah, you know, it is in my hands, really, which wasn't necessarily true, but --

Q. (Was it more pressure having the lead)?
NICK DOUGHERTY: To be fair, I'm getting quite used to not winning with leads. I could have dealt with it. The one thing I was going to make sure I was doing to do is walk off the course making sure I committed to everything I do and did exactly what I wanted to do; and if I didn't play well enough -- and to be honest, I didn't play that well today, but I got most out of my round, and consequently I won.

Q. When I saw you last year at last year's British Open, you were very, very down on yourself, were you ever close to quitting?
NICK DOUGHERTY: I was very down on myself but I would never quit the game, that's not something I would ever do; I don't quit. It was difficult timing. My granddad nearly died that day actually when you saw me. It was a bad time. It was a really bad time.
And I did wonder about if I was ever going to be back to where I was, because, you see, there are still many guys, good players coming through and they don't seem to -- they start off all right and it slips away at the end, and they think they are going to come back and nothing really materializes and they become journeyman pro. But I thought I'm better than that. I know I'm better than that. Just my biggest weakness is my own mind, and it's also my biggest strength in that I punish myself so badly when things are not going well and I beat myself up so much, it becomes a hell of a hole to climb out of at times and that's where you found me last year.
I get there eventually but it takes me longer than most.

Q. Life-changing week, how is it different from Singapore?
NICK DOUGHERTY: Because Singapore was a fantastic win, it's a co-sanctioned event, though, don't get me wrong, obviously there are Asian players and Australian players playing in this, as well, and that was a big one because it's a big tournament for Monty, as well. But this is a very big lift, there are very good players playing this week who I've beaten to win this tournament.
You know, it's one of our biggest events on Tour now, certainly prize money, which I think attracts the stronger players as well. You know, whenever you get the likes of Ernie Els teeing it up, it's worth winning.
I just feel like the Old Course it's never really got on with me. It's never really given me much and this would be one of the last places I would not expect to win. And links golf, which is, you know, not necessarily my favourite kind of golf because I've never been that strong at it. I've always been better on the normal courses we play on Tour. So to see that I can compete here obviously changes my perspective of possible chances to win The Open in the future.

Q. You mentioned how happy you were to play with Peter Dawson, was there something he said --
NICK DOUGHERTY: Well, it wasn't so much what he said. I just liked it. I really enjoyed playing with him because I respect him, as well. I've spent quite a bit of time with Peter in the past as well, and I did actually get to meet him when I was an amateur, as well.

Q. Have you played with him before?
NICK DOUGHERTY: I've never played with him and I was looking forward to it. And I was fortunate to play with Sir Michael Bonallack when he was in charge my first year; and to play with Peter was nice. He's a lovely chap, extremely courteous and very knowledgeable about what to do and very encouraging. He did all of the right things. It was a special time and it was nice for him to be there, as well with me. I think he enjoyed it, as well, and he played good golf. So it meant a lot to me and certainly relaxed me because I was involved with him in conversation. It really helped me, that, to be able to converse with him rather than -- it's just I don't know what he's going to charge me to take him out, we'll have to see.

Q. (About Rory McIlroy earning his European Tour card).
NICK DOUGHERTY: Yeah, I'd imagine it's done it, that one event. I don't know much about Rory to be fair. But I did see all of the hype about him when I played the Walker Cup and the world's expected, and he's delivered, to be fair to him. I think he's a fantastic talent. I didn't do that on the back of my Walker Cup success, and I was extremely high-profile. Not sure, did Luke get his card -- did he? Or he got it from his invites, Luke. I think he went to the school, as well. So for Rory to do what he's done from, what, two starts that he's had so far, that's amazing and all credit to him and he's done it in a world-class field this week, as well.

Q. (Ideal conditions this week at St. Andrews).
NICK DOUGHERTY: Yeah, it's always nice to play a course like this in this weather. Obviously it make the courses seem a lot friendlier. Considering the spring we had this year, which I think a lot of the links courses suffered, particularly up here in Scotland, I think they did a great job. The greens rolled really well. Also I think it's really worth saying, Carnoustie's greens were actually phenomenal, probably the links greens I've ever putted on.
I couldn't believe it when I saw them to be honest. I think all in all the course is in great condition, as you would expect, and these are world-class golf courses and as far as links goes they are pretty much the pinnacle.

Q. Does this win mean even more because of St. Andrews?
NICK DOUGHERTY: It does, yeah, I was just saying, it's not a course that's been really good to me but it means the world to me and it's still very special. I love coming up here and I love St. Andrews. The fans here at St. Andrews, the Scottish public that come and watch here are knowledgeable and it's lovely to see that. They won't clap for a garbage shot and I like that. They are respectful, as well, and you know, so to win here, coming up through the town on 18 is great.

Q. Have you spoken to your father yet?
NICK DOUGHERTY: No, I haven't had a chance. I'm going to make him sweat anyway. He put pressure on me to win this.
SCOTT CROCKETT: Many congratulations, well played.

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