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August 19, 2005

Luke Donald


SCOTT CROCKETT: All right. Luke, thanks very much for coming in. 67, you must be delighted with that. Just give us the general thoughts on the round before we take some questions about your performance today.

LUKE DONALD: Pleased today. I didn't do a lot wrong. I played very steady. I hit a lot of fairways, a lot of greens, and when I missed greens I was leaving myself in good positions. I didn't really get myself into too much trouble, so it was a good, solid round today.

Q. Anything in particular that pleased you today?

LUKE DONALD: Well, I started on the back nine and got off to a little bit of a slow start, parred 10 and then bogeyed 11, drove it into the rough there. But then my round really kicked off 13, birdied 13, 14 and 15 and got on a little roll there, and from there on in it was just good, steady golf. I had a birdie on No. 2, but the rest were pars.

Q. Give us the details of the birdies, three in a row.

LUKE DONALD: 13, driver and a 9 iron and I holed about a 25 foot putt.

14, drive, 6 iron, holed about a six foot putt.

Hit a 5 iron to about six feet on 15.

Q. And then the par 5, the 2nd?

LUKE DONALD: Driver, 3 wood to the fringe and chipped to about six feet.

Q. Why is it playing so difficult, the wind?

LUKE DONALD: I think it's the wind, the firmness of the course in general. It's quite fiery at the moment. The fairways are firm and fast and the greens are getting that way. I think there's a little bit of inconsistency in the greens. Some are softer than others and some are quite firm. It's hard to judge.

I think last year when I played, it was very, very soft. You could shoot at the pins. This year you can't really do that.

Q. Could you talk about the three birdies in a row? That's pretty tough to do on this golf course.

LUKE DONALD: Yeah, I got off to a got on a little roll there. As I said, I think the one on 13, it was downhill slightly left to right putt that I got in from 25 foot, and that kind of got the momentum going, and then hit good shots to just six feet on 14 and 15 and then easy putts from there.

That was a nice little run for me.

Q. I heard you asked Pat Goss to come in on Tuesday. Can you talk about that?

LUKE DONALD: Pat is my coach. The last few weeks I've been struggling a little bit. My game hasn't been too bad, just not quite sharp enough.

You know, I'm going to Europe the next two weeks and I wasn't going to see him, so I thought it would be a good idea if he could come in for a day and work with me, and he came in I think it was Wednesday.

Q. What was his advice to you?

LUKE DONALD: We worked a little bit on my swing. We worked a little bit on just trying not to be so down on myself, even though my results over the last few weeks haven't been that good, and I guess I was beating myself up a little bit too much. We worked a little bit on my swing, which I needed to do, and it definitely felt more solid out there.

Q. If the course continues to play this difficult, is a two or a three stroke lead going to be pretty hard to catch up to?

LUKE DONALD: No, not really, not on this golf course. You can easily make a bogey or double for that matter. Obviously it would be nice to have a two or three stroke lead, but I don't think it will definitely be catchable.

Q. Was 16 one of the holes that was playing much harder today?

LUKE DONALD: Actually that green was a little bit softer. You know, you can hit your drive far down there right now. I mean, it's downwind. People are hitting 350 plus yard drives down there. Some guys might be able to go for it in two, and it's 667 yards. For me, I hit a drive 280 to the front, I just couldn't get there. But laid up with an 8 iron and had a perfect sand wedge distance, and I thought the pin was on about 15 yards, and I thought I had to land it just over the water with it being downwind. I saw the guys in front of me chipping back from over the green, and it spun back within a couple of yards, and I was surprised at that. It was playing a bit softer.

Q. There were a couple holes on the back nine today when you ended up in the sand and got out pretty quickly. Is that an easy place for you to end up?

LUKE DONALD: I've been good out of the sand this year. I got off to a great start. I think anyway through June, I was leading in sand saves on the PGA TOUR, so I feel very comfortable out of the sand. The sand shots I left myself were reasonably easy ones. The only one I didn't get up and down was 11, and that was a tough shot with that pin on the tier there.

Q. We don't know yet whether or not you will be playing with Tiger, but if you are, you heard about the change in tee off times?

LUKE DONALD: Yeah, we're playing early in threesomes.

Q. If you are, what have you learned from previous experience about playing with him?

LUKE DONALD: I enjoy playing with Tiger. I think kind of the atmosphere and the energy that he brings with him, with the crowd and stuff, I thrive off that. Last time I played with him was the U.S. Open, and I played well there the first two days. Obviously it'll be probably the most popular group to be watched because of Tiger, and that makes it more fun. There wasn't too many crowds watching us today, so I'll look forward to it tomorrow. Hopefully the weather will stay good.

Q. In terms of pressure and attention, where is this?

LUKE DONALD: I'm trying to treat this as sort of a fun week, you know, no cut, guaranteed to finish somewhere (laughter). It's obviously a high class field and I want to do well, and there's good points available for World Rankings. I think that would be great if I could finish if I could win this or even finish Top 5. It doesn't quite have the feel or the pressure of a major. If a major was a 10, then I'd have to say this is an 8.

Q. The golf course might be firm and hard yet tomorrow when you play, but with weather probably late tomorrow, it could be the opposite on Sunday. Which of the two do you prefer, the firm and fast or soft and maybe longer?

LUKE DONALD: I like firm and fast. I think that's when this golf course kind of suits my game. You really have to control your iron shots into the green, and when the greens get softer, anyone can shoot straight at the pins. You have to be a bit more imaginative when it's firm and fast, and I think that's suits me better. I can obviously get my drives out there a little bit further, the course plays shorter and plays more to my strengths, I think.

Q. Were you beating up on yourself because you expect to play well every week?


Q. You can't expect that, though, can you?

LUKE DONALD: Well, I obviously would love to play well every week. You know, I got off to a great start the first half of the year. I played very well, and I just my results the last few weeks just haven't been as good. Obviously it's encouraging to know that I've made the cut in all four majors, but my last three majors were not what I wanted, even though I did make the cut.

Q. Over the years there have been some pretty good numbers put up here. Conditions obviously were different then, too. Are you surprised at all at how difficult the course seems to be playing?

LUKE DONALD: Again, I think this course plays differently in different conditions. Firm and fast I think anywhere you play where it's firm and fast is going to play harder. That's how majors are set up and that's why the scoring is not so good at majors obviously.

But, you know, this is a tough course. I don't know what the best score is here, I'm not sure, but the last two years I've played here, the rough has been up, fairways are reasonably narrow and there's quite small undulating greens and they're hard to get to. I'm not surprised that 5 or 6 under is leading right now.

SCOTT CROCKETT: All right, Luke, well done. Thanks very much. Good luck tomorrow.

End of FastScripts.

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