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October 1, 2008

Nick Dougherty


SCOTT CROCKETT: Thanks very much, Nick, for coming in and joining us and welcome back to the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship. A year ago on Sunday we sat here, a very proud moment for you and a great victory. Reflect on that, it was a great victory for you and one that I know you enjoyed a lot.
NICK DOUGHERTY: It was. It was a wonderful day. I think to win at St. Andrews is something every player wants to have on their C.V., whether an Open Championship or an Alfred Dunhill Links Championship. Any excuse to be here and pick up a trophy on Sunday is nice.
I was proud of what I had did and it was on the back of a year that had been quite frustrating. Felt like I should have won a few times last year and I had, and the style that I did it, as well was very, very special.
SCOTT CROCKETT: Coming back, you do you get those nice feelings walking on the Old Course?
NICK DOUGHERTY: Yeah, I played 7:50 this morning, played 18 holes. It's very special coming here anyway regardless of whether or not you are defending champion for a tournament or not. It's a very, very special place. It is good.
I need these things at the moment. It's been a rubbish year, and I need some good things, some good vibes and certainly coming here and obviously recalling the shots I hit in the final round, and the way that I won, is a nice thing for me to have and some fond memories and good feelings resurface.
SCOTT CROCKETT: A word about playing tomorrow with your partner, Peter Dawson.
NICK DOUGHERTY: He's promised me we are going to win the team, as well, this year. We'll see. It will be good.
It's one of those things you don't know who you are going to play with, and obviously being defending champion, presumably there's a chance you'll end up playing with perhaps one of the celebrities as in the actors, and I think that can be a burden. You'd love to play with these guys and then every day, you know, kind of of a thing, go and have a few beers and a round of golf with them but to play when you're in a tournament playing with the likes of Samuel L. Jackson, it would be difficult to concentrate, because I love the guy. I love watching his movies and love what he does. No disrespect to Peter, but I'm much more comfortable in his company and I haven't seen his latest movie.
It's great, it's familiar and obviously more good feelings. He was there when I won on the 18th green. He's a lovely guy to play with and he's a fine golfer, as well. It's always nice when you can play with somebody who can really play, as well. Looking forward to it and it was a great draw.
SCOTT CROCKETT: His movie went straight to DVD I think.
NICK DOUGHERTY: I think it did. (Laughter).

Q. Is it feeling like the end of a long season, are you fatigued?
NICK DOUGHERTY: Yeah, I am. It has been a long season. Been no good to be honest. I've not enjoyed it in the slightest. It's been a horrible year. Golf has not been any fun. Feels better marginally now that the Ryder Cup is over, I must admit. That was a real burden. With what happened in April with my mum after the Masters, any other year, I would have -- or if I was already a Ryder Cupper, I would have probably bowed out and gone and sort myself out. I just presumed it was the right thing to keep going, and to try and make the side would be a lovely gesture to my mum in honouring her; naïve to think it would be that easy with the things I was thinking and feeling. It truly wasn't.
It's horrible. I've never felt like that before I felt very, very down and very, very depressed about what I was doing. And it's difficult because we're in the public eye with you guys and you comment on a professional level, and it's the golf, and if we play badly, we play badly. If we're not going to make The Ryder Cup, we are not going to make The Ryder Cup.
And it's difficult because with all of the things that are going on, you feel like it's not your fault, but the world doesn't stop. The guys keep playing. No one is going to let you off. It's a cutthroat business. Guys are pushing to the very limit and consequently with what I had going on and with the way that I unfortunately dealt with it, it meant that everyone passed me by.
It's been tough to watch that and trying to deal with everything else, I must admit, and that has made it feel like a particularly long year and a very, very stressful one.

Q. Did you watch any of it?
NICK DOUGHERTY: No. I had two golf days strategically organized for the weekend. But it was one of those things, when I missed the team, I was obviously disappointed. I had never thought I was going to get a pick and I had always played it and thought there was a chance of getting a pick, but in the end, because your mind thinks -- you know what you have been through and how much it's cost you. And the way it's made me feel, I'm the only one who knows how it made me feel and what it's cost me.
And I'm showing signs here that I'm starting to come back, and you think, you never know -- of course it was never an option and it was never going to happen looking at what eventually did happen. When it came up, it was like, last thing I want to do is watch those guys having a ball out there and presuming beating the Americans, because we did have a great team, after all, didn't we. I didn't watch it.
But when it actually came on, like it's been in many Ryder Cups in the past, ones I haven't been able to qualify for, I enjoyed that, and I was with Ross Fisher coming back and we were trying to listen to it on Five Live and we were -- it was very distorted. It was like, was that a par from Mickelson or -- you really get into it and you can't help it. You rushed back and watched most of it on the telly, the back half of the singles and it was disappointing not to see the guys win. Yeah, I was watching and supporting with everyone else.

Q. What should you have done to sort yourself out? Should you have gone away?
NICK DOUGHERTY: I don't know really. I just know that I shouldn't have put myself under the pressure that I did. I shouldn't have expected what I did. I presumed it was all going to be plain sailing, because I was paying good golf. I was, and I just thought that having never lost anyone and been through that kind of suffering. I used to think that playing bad golf, people should feel sorry for me, and I no longer was. Because people in the real world suffer far greater things than bad rounds of golf.
And I presumed that, okay, my mum is gone, I was devastated, but I'm the kind of person that's going to go out there and prove to everyone how strong I am and I can do it for my family and I'm going to do it for my mom and it's far greater than that. It's not like bouncing back from a double-bogey. You know, it's your mum. I'll never, ever see her again, and is the person in my family, you're aware particularly, Lewine, very involved in my career and it was my mom's life watching me on Internet, following me and the other players. She would be the first to tell me: "Oh, he made a double-bogey, so your bogey wasn't so bad on that hole," all of these things. When that bit had been taken away from you in a very unjust way like it was, it's very difficult to deal with and much more so than I gave it credit for.
I have a new found respect for people that do come back. I remember when I first came on Tour, Miles Tunnicliff came out and won after his mother passed away and I thought it was impressive, but now I think it's a lot more impressive to deal with what had been going through his mind and being that strong to go and win straight after, it was incredible.

Q. It was unjust. You said it was unjust. But do you have to accept that it was unjust in order to move on?
NICK DOUGHERTY: I think so. I think I've got -- yeah, the hard thing for me has been dealing with the fact that she's gone. You know, it's funny, when -- not to go into detail but when everyone knows your mother is dead. And I knew she was dead because I went to the funeral and I was there when we turned the machine off in the hospital. I felt normal, you know what I mean, which has made me feel guilty at first because I thought I should be more upset because it had not sunk in at all.
It's only now in the last couple of months that it really hits me and I can't fathom, I see things -- I go and see my dad or go in the house or go to the Celtic Manor Wales Open or Wentworth where we had so many great times; I come here and walk around this golf course and I remember the phone call that I had with my mom and dad when I won the tournament and I was calling them and dashing to make the flight at the airport; everything in my life involves my mom. Every single thing in my life involves my mom.
And I'm not the only person, and I'm not saying mine is harder than anyone else's but they are things I'm learning to deal with. And it's difficult when you're out here trying to perform, when you are trying to obviously, first of all, make The Ryder Cup and now trying to salvage some sort of a year, because it's been a horrid year and my results have been awful. On the back of last year it's extremely disappointing and I need to start turning it around. I'm going to take 2 1/2 months off at the end of this year and hopefully that's going to help. I want to try and finish this year with some sort of form to give me something positive to go into the off-season.

Q. It sounds from the way you are talking you have not come to terms with it or whatever the jargon is.
NICK DOUGHERTY: Yeah, I'm not going to -- it's important. You feel cheated. She was a super, healthy, fit woman, great person, just a great person who was always helping other people. Just I've never met a woman like her. Best person I ever met, ever will meet, and when they are taken away, you just think, how is that fair, and that's the bit that's hard to deal with. Because you know, I believe in everything that there is -- I believe in God and I believe in the afterlife, but I also believe that good people should be treated better and should be given the opportunity to live happy lives; if you treat people right, you should have a happy life yourself, and unfortunately that's not what happened with my mother and that's hard to accept. That's really hard to accept.

Q. Golfing question. You missed the cut last week, where would you put the state of your game?
NICK DOUGHERTY: Very in and out. There's been some good golf. Second in Sweden was good. Gleneagles I played pretty well. Last week I played -- just last three holes were terrible. I was only five off the lead going into those last three holes. I'm playing better.
I think it's just my mind, my confidence is quite low. But again coming here I'm hoping that that's going to help lift me because of the good feelings and memories that I've got of this place.
So I wouldn't be surprised if I start playing well this week or if I do well this week with my first win, seems to be a course I can't help but play well in. I'm hoping that similar thing here and it would be nice to have a good week and even if it wasn't to defend my title, certainly to put in a good defence of my title.

Q. You say how bad your year has been, but you mentioned a couple good finishes, you did almost make The Ryder Cup Team; it can't have been so bad.
NICK DOUGHERTY: Not to think, in comparison to what it had been before, but the way that I finished The Ryder Cup campaign, it didn't count for anything because I didn't get in but it counted for a lot to me. Because to certainly be the last man who had a chance to do anything is not -- but didn't, isn't the position you want to be, but it's nice if you're going to miss it, you want to be the last guy who had a shot at making it and it came down to the back nine and I had an opportunity.
I'm pleased with that and very proud of how I adapted to the situation I was presented and you know, I thought I did myself proud but unfortunately it wasn't good enough. You know, this year really was all about making The Ryder Cup for me. It always was, before anything happened, that was my main goal and it didn't happen. It's disappointing but I've got to look on and I've got to look forward to the next one, and I know I'm going to be a good enough player by then.
I was good enough to make this one comfortably but circumstances didn't allow me to. I didn't play my best golf this year which I needed to. Hopefully by the time the next one comes around, I'll be comfortably on the team. That's my goal, anyway. I want to make the 2010 Ryder Cup.

Q. You just said it for me, 2010 is obviously a great goal for you, with four rookies on The European Team this year and yourself and Ross Fisher just missed out, Martin Kaymer, Rory McIlroy playing well again, do you feel this is a start to 20-somethings that are going to break through and be part of the team?
NICK DOUGHERTY: I do think. So early in the year you remember the team looked like it was going to be very young, didn't it, and in the end, some of the old guard came through.
And I do think so. I must admit, I'm a believer and I understand everyone's perspective on experience is important. Everyone is talking about experience and you need to know what you're doing, but look at The Ryder Cup. It's passion, surely, look at the American side, Anthony Kim led that side, he really did lead it, as well; Boo; all of the players they have the passion. And the older players have passion, too, but in the end the best golf wins matches, not the experience. Modern-play players, they are not disrespectful of the older players but they don't fear them.
My dad when I won the first tournament, he had the opinion, that it's Monty, you're not supposed to beat Monty, it Monty after all, and I didn't feel that way. I felt like it was an opportunity. I felt if I played really well, I might beat him. I didn't have that fear to think that in the older days, that's what they used to be, it was like you served your apprenticeship and all that stuff and you don't.
Look at all the guys winning majors now, unusual ones, guys you would not expect. I think passion, flair, flamboyancy; look at the way Poults play with all of the stress he had on him; with all of the pressure we put on him and everyone expected. And I was one of the guys I thought, I wouldn't like to be him, because if he doesn't have a great Ryder Cup, he'd have got the hammering, as we all know, but he delivered and I think that's what makes great Ryder Cup players.
Graeme, Justin, Søren I thought played pretty well, to be fair, didn't get the results he wanted to but I think there will be more in the future younger guys.
SCOTT CROCKETT: Nick, thanks, as always. Good luck this week.

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