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May 14, 2009

Nick Dougherty


NICK DOUGHERTY: The whole week, I think you expect the worst. I really said to my family: It's going to be a really long week. And that was last night, because four days of playing in heavy rain is about all we are going to get and strong winds is brutal.
So to get up this morning and come here, and apart from the fact that it is very cold, I think it was a pleasant surprise. I think it gives you a bit more enthusiasm and you feel a bit more positive about what you can achieve out there when you go out there when you feel like you've been lucky just playing in light drizzle and gentle wind.
The score itself was really good. 6-under is always a good score, and no bogeys is also really, really exciting to me. I think that's more a testament to the stuff I did on my short game last week. I did some stuff with Mark Roe and I did some stuff with my coach, Damien, as well. Changed my putter because I've been really struggling. I always thought I was a good putter but the thing that's really stopped me scoring over the last few months or the last year really is my putting has really gone really.
So I've gone to the two-thumb grip using the putter I won the Singapore Masters with and it's really helped. I've got a lot of confidence, and I chipped and putted phenomenally well out there today, and that's why there was no bogeys.
So it was a very positive day. I prepared differently for it this week. I'm guilty of standing on the range hitting balls. I'm getting back to technique, and it's very easy with the quality of coaches we have now and video cameras and all this stuff, you lose sight of what the game is about, and it's about getting the ball in the hole. I think the fact that I played four times last week rather standing on range and just hitting balls; and when I did practice, I had a short game competition with Mark Roe for five hours in one day. It was a halve, although I was 9-up for about an hour and suddenly went in the bunkers and went all back. I had a 72-hole putting competition with my coach two days in a row. I think that preparation of playing proper golf as well as working on what you're doing has certainly helped me.

Q. Where did you practice?
NICK DOUGHERTY: Wentworth and Forest -- inaudible -- unless I have two phenomenal weeks I'm going to be going there for the qualifying.
It was good, I played with my best mate, and my caddie, Mike, one day and a couple of friends on the other day, as well, it was good funny enjoyed it.

Q. Do you think pros sometimes lose the perspective of playing for fun and doing that?
NICK DOUGHERTY: Absolutely, one hundred per cent. Not all pros. I think some of us do. And it's certainly detrimental, has been to me, because the thing; I've worked out, people say to me, all the time, how are you playing, and what a stupid question. I don't know. I'm swinging it good. That's what I say, yeah, I'm swinging it good. I never know how to answer it. Plus, I'm never playing, and since I'm not playing, I have nothing to reference it to other than what I finished in my last tournament.
And so I go out on the range, and don't get me wrong there's a time and a place for working on your technique, but that's all I was doing, and truth be known, as far as efficiency, I was not practicing enough because I was not practicing the game of golf.
I'm not saying I'm going to shoot 66 every time I tee it up, because that's how I practice, but it certainly helped me because it was like I had been practicing all last week, I was practicing getting the ball up-and-down, I was practicing trying to shoot a number, and that's how you build confidence. Every day I played last week, I shot under par, which helps build confidence. If somebody asks me how I'm playing, I say I'm playing good.

Q. You had a good opening round at the Johnnie Walker a few weeks ago, 67 or something like that. Was that a bit of a false start?
NICK DOUGHERTY: That was the Volvo China Open, the one where I had a good start. I played great that day, but it was different. That was technically superb. I had great control over the golf ball every shot. The game came easy to me. I came could have -- 4-under was the worst score I could have shot. I didn't feel good about it, because the swing was great, but as we all want all know, the swing doesn't last all the time. If our goal is to swing the club perfectly every time we all want go out, we're going to be really disappointed. The goal is to shoot a score, and sometimes that might be 2-over if you're struggling and then it you can be successful.
As much as it was a great first round, it was phenomenal, the best players in the world wouldn't have played better than me; I played phenomenal, I didn't get any confidence, because it was just, oh, I swung it great today. I think that's what I've got to get back to doing.
Ironically last week, I met Ron, my fitness guy and I went to see John Battleskill (ph), who is great at what he does, because the thing that I keep working on in my golf swing, I can't do it. I do it statically holding the position, but when I swung the club, it doesn't happen and I've worked on it for years. Everything else I've ever changed, but this, can't do it. And I went to see this guy. And it's been driving me nuts for like four years, this, and he looked at me and he says: Well, done for trying but it's impossible for you to do this, because I'm so strong in the front and so weak in my back, I can't support the club like that.
When he told me, it was a huge amount of relief, as well, because I feel like I can get in the back of it. So now I have stuff to improve and it will get there, but what I was doing, I would have gone the rest of my life trying to do something my body couldn't do.
So it's relief, also, I feel like a bit of a monk to be honest, because I put so much time and effort and heartache, disappointment, despair, into this thing, that is correct, what I'm trying to do, but I can't do it, you know what I mean. I just can't do it.
So it was a nice thing to find out and I'm doing things on the exercise program now that's going to help me.

Q. Did that come out how you meant it to -- golf wasn't fun, as you were trying to come to terms with last year?
NICK DOUGHERTY: The point what I think it's trying to say, I think the point that I was making, I found it a bit hard to stomach when I first lost my mum, the first week in Italy, I went there and I had never been through that. My life was in tatters. This is right after the funeral and everyone comes up to you and does the right thing like I've done with people, and you come up and say, hey, I'm here if you need me, and it's nice.
But then everyone goes off and just gets some of the light, which is how it really is, and that was hard for me at first, was because it was my mum and she meant so much to me, I felt like the whole world should stop; and no one gives a damn on the tour, life goes on; I'm not the only person who has ever lost a mom. I don't know how they had written that there, but that was the point, I found it hard to stomach that. But at the same time, it's not wrong, because that's how life is. Everyone did the right thing. But you know, you feel it affects you more than you think, and I think that's probably a testament.

Q. So it's not really criticism.
NICK DOUGHERTY: Oh, no, no. Goodness me, everyone was great. The thing is, there was no one that was apart from one person, commentator, but there was no one who I found particularly -- everyone was superb with me. I could not ask any more.

Q. Going back to the biomechanics, what were you trying to achieve with the change of wrist?
NICK DOUGHERTY: When I get to the top of my golf swing, my tendency is I start down and I go this way so I get my hearts behind me, and consequently I have to flop around at the bottom. Were if you hold it off right, it's a horrible thing to be in, and it's been like that forever.
The idea, if you look at me when I'm swinging, you should be able to see my elbow underneath on the way down. When I swing it, it goes this way so, there's a big gap up here so I have to stop the weight in my hands to collect it. I have good hand-eye coordination that saves me a lot of the time, but that's why, a lot of people, I think the general opinion of most people is that I'm quite inconsistent. Well, that's why, because when I'm off, it's all about my timing and if my timing is not good, then I'm going to hit it all over the shot. So that's why it's so important for me to make the change, because there's no one that I found, because I've looked at everyone's golf swing, and no one does this.
So I'm thinking, what the hell's wrong with me? It's not comical, because everyone does it, all amateurs do it, all my mates do it, yet I have this problem. I don't know why it took me so long to go see someone like John, and he was very matter of fact about it, so, okay, fair enough.
It's super, but at the same time, I've put myself through a lot that I probably shouldn't have done.

Q. Can you go through your round?
NICK DOUGHERTY: Started on 10. Made a couple of good saves. It was windier when we all want started than it is now. Some good saves around to 6. I missed a couple of great chances on 14 and 15, and then 16, the par 4, I hit a big tee shot down there to about four feet and holed it.
18, I hit a good tee shot, 3-iron to about 12-foot, left it short, birdie.
Second, hit it in the right rough, laid up with a 5-iron, lovely wedge shot to about two feet.
The third, I hit a good tee shot, 8-iron just off the right edge of the green, chipped up, birdie.
The par 3, 7, was another birdie, I hit it just through the back edge, holed a good putt about 25 feet.
And then 9, I hit-pretty massive tee shot, 370 down there, great pitch shot like four feet and holed it. So, it was good.
I missed a couple of chances but they had a chance of going in which is all the that matters, a good chance, good putts.

NICK DOUGHERTY: No, because I have two of the same model and one of them is brand-spanking new and the other one was the putter I used in Singapore; it misbehaved after that for a period before I changed it.

Q. Was not being at Augusta the line in the sand from where you were a year ago and where you are now?
NICK DOUGHERTY: That was a weird week, that one. That was worse than -- watching that I found quite heartbreaking because I had such good memories of being there with my family that week. It's probably a good thing I wasn't in August because I think that would have been a really hard week for me to perform in a major championship, as well.
But yeah, I think the year goes around, I don't know why, because it's just a year, but it does feel like you've been through once and you know what you're doing.

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