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August 24, 2000

Luke Donald


USGA: Well, I guess we got everybody here with you, Luke. Congratulations on your play today. How about telling us some of the highlights.

LUKE DONALD : Well, I played extremely solidly today. I was very pleased the way I played. I think that the 30 holes I played I made 7 birdies and no bogeys so it's always a good sign. I was very happy of that. Really wasn't too many highlights, just very consistent throughout the day.

Q. Okay. Course played today similar to the past few days?

LUKE DONALD : Yeah, very similar. Some tough pins out there, just as there have been the last few days or the first few holes are very tough pins, the greens are slow peat from right-to-left. Most of the pins on the right have been tough.

Q. Tell us a little bit about the match.

LUKE DONALD : Morning or afternoon?

Q. This afternoon.

LUKE DONALD : Just played very solidly. Come in 4 birdies, didn't make many mistakes, just trying to hit it down the fairway, hit it on the green, give myself a good chance below the hole and make my opponent make mistakes.

Q. Okay. We'll entertain your questions, please. It's been a while since a foreigner has won this. Can you talk about what that would mean to you if you could make it to Sunday?

LUKE DONALD : It would mean a great deal, I mean if I got to Sunday and if I won this championship. Then it would be my biggest individual amateur title. That wouldn't be hard, seeing as this probably is the biggest amateur event in the world. But it would mean a great deal to me. I'm not sure exactly why a foreigner hasn't won since maybe what, 1911 or something? I'm not sure. But I think more and more foreigners are finding out about this tournament and how prestigious it is and they're coming over. There's a lot going on outside of America. I've actually played in America for the last three years so this isn't really foreign ground to me. But there are a lot of good players coming in.

Q. Have you played -- it looks like you probably will play Bryce tomorrow. Have you played in the Walker Cup, Palmer Cup, have you guys gone head-to-head in those events?

LUKE DONALD : I played Bryce in Finals in 1999 Walker Cup. I won 4 and 2.

Q. Finals of the what?

LUKE DONALD : Finals singles, afternoon singles the last day.

Q. Any time in Palmer Cup did you and Bryce play?

LUKE DONALD : I might have played him in doubles. That was the only time I think I played him in singles.

Q. Where are you in school now?

LUKE DONALD : Northwestern, Chicago.

Q. Your senior year?

LUKE DONALD : Yeah, got one more year.

Q. Are you definitely going back?

LUKE DONALD : Definitely.

Q. You play No. 1?

LUKE DONALD : I play No. 1.

Q. How has your golf game improved since you came over here three years ago?

LUKE DONALD : It's improved a lot. My freshman year I had a very consistent year, but I never won a tournament. I really excelled in my sophomore year, winning five tournaments, I think, and won the NCAAs at the end, I was college Player-of-the-Year. So obviously I improved a lot. I think my length off the tee improved when I came over here, I had been brought up playing in England where you got quite a lot of roll. In the afternoon it's quite windy, hit the ball low, didn't carry the ball far. Improved my flexibility, my strength, put on weight, in that respect I've been able to hit the ball up further than I used to. Other than that, I've just been sharpening up my game. I've got a good coach, Patrick Goss with Northwestern, he's helped me with my mechanics and my swing. It's a more solid swing now.

Q. What convinced you to do your college work here and play here versus staying home?

LUKE DONALD : Well, I knew I wanted to carry on and get a degree and carry on my golf at the same time. And America was really the only place to do that. That's why I decided to come out here.

Q. Do they have nothing in England that compares to the college golf scene or is it just not as active as it is over here?

LUKE DONALD : You can get a golf scholarship at some universities, Sterling or Saint Andrews, places like that. But it's nothing compared to what it is here. There's hardly any team competitions against universities. There's not anything like the practice schedules we have or the facilities. It doesn't even compare.

Q. Once you graduate, I presume turning pro is your goal. Would you go back there to play the Tour or stay here?

LUKE DONALD : At the moment, my vague plans are to probably hedge my best and try and qualify for both Tours. If I got the choice, then I would like to play here.

Q. Why?

LUKE DONALD : Well, I've played here for the last three years and have had quite a lot of success. I think my game is good for the courses that I played around here. Saying that, if things don't work out and I can be successful on the European Tour, then I'm going to go there. I'm just going to go wherever I can be successful.

Q. Coming into this event you were the favorite of, you know, more than a few people. What were your expectations, your own expectations for this week?

LUKE DONALD : I came here to win. I've played against a lot of these players in college, and I've done quite well against them in the past. So I came here with high hopes, my game was in good shape, and I'd taken a couple weeks off just to practice for this event and just gearing up towards this event. Things are going well so far.

Q. What's your scholastic major at Northwestern?

LUKE DONALD : Art theory and practice. I'm an art major.

Q. Are you very, very artistic or you're more on the theory side?

LUKE DONALD : It's mainly painting, drawing, that kind of stuff. And I'm good enough to be over a 3.0 student.

Q. The college kids you all know, I would think you know less about the Courvilles, the Egers, some of these older guys that you don't see on the college circuit. What do you know about them and what do you think of their games?

LUKE DONALD : Yes, as you said, I haven't played against them too much. I played in the Northeast Amateur and I saw a couple of them in the field there. The only other way I've seen them is through Walker Cup matches on TV and obviously they're very good, experienced players, and if I do come up against them, then it's going to be a tough match I think. But it doesn't really matter who I play.

Q. Who were you matched up -- who did you play with at Saint Andrew's in your rounds over there?

LUKE DONALD : In the British Open?

Q. Yeah.

LUKE DONALD : I played with Mark McNulty and Jean Francois Emsey (phonetic spelling).

Q. Any practice rounds?

LUKE DONALD : I had a practice round with Lee Westwood one day and with Jeff Maggert another day.

Q. What kind of advice does Westwood give you?

LUKE DONALD : He actually took my money that day so not much. (Laughter.)

Q. When you went back home in the summer, did you play any over there?

LUKE DONALD : I played the Saint Andrew's trophy, which is a Match Play event between Great Britain, Ireland and Europe. That was a Turnberry. I won three and a half out of four points. We won 13-11.

Q. When was the last time you lost a match in Match Play? You were 4-0 at the Walker cup.

LUKE DONALD : Probably the last -- not this year's Palmer Cup, but last year's Palmer's Cup I lost to Hank Kuhne. I had two losses against Hank Kuhne last year and the year before.

Q. What's your background, parents, family, all that kind of stuff?

LUKE DONALD : Parents don't play. I have two older brothers, a sister, all older, and my next oldest brother, he's a golf professional teaching golf pro. He's caddied for me a few times. I've got a very supportive family, very loving family.

Q. Parents, what do they do for a living?

LUKE DONALD : My Mom looks after me when I get home. She's a housewife. My dad is a manager of a parcel company back home,a bit like UPS.

Q. Not knowing the U.S., what made you decide Northwestern versus one of our traditional golf powerhouse schools?

LUKE DONALD : Originally I was going to Stanford. Things didn't work out. I didn't get into the school actually but the coach at Stanford, Wally Goodwin, used to be the coach at Northwestern. He recommended I go there. I took a visit and liked what I saw.

Q. With all that you've accomplished, NCAA champ, you played in the British this year, Walker Cup, you feel at ease out there? I mean as far as, you know, being nervous playing in the U.S. amateur, you must feel pretty comfortable?

LUKE DONALD : Recently I've been comfortable. I actually felt more nervous than I did today. Yesterday was the first time I actually felt nervous on a course for quite some time. Even the British Open wasn't -- I was a bit nervous. But that's -- it kind of sent a signal to me how big this tournament really is, and it's good for me to feel some nerves sometimes. It makes me play a little better.

Q. Does this get easier, harder emotionally for you as you advance?

LUKE DONALD : I think it gets harder for everyone. You know, getting so far, you really don't -- you want to just keep going and jump the last hurdle and win, you know. It's sad to lose once you've got this far. And I think that's the same for everyone. But it's gonna be tough. I think the scoring is going to get better. More putts are going to be holing. I think you'll have to shoot four, five, six under to win a match now.

Q. What could you tell us about your Walker Cup teammate?

LUKE DONALD : Gary's a great player. He's a very good competitor. He is not -- doesn't seem impressive when you watch him, but he gets the job done every time, and he's a gritty competitor. He'll fight to the very end, and he's a great Match Player. He's got a lot of experience in Match Play. I think he's played three Walker Cups. So he has a lot of experience behind him. He seems to be playing extremely well this week.

Q. Is this format a favorite of yours as well?

LUKE DONALD : Match Play?

Q. Yes.

LUKE DONALD : Yeah, I enjoy Match Play. I think growing up -- in golf in England, we play a lot more Match Play than Americans do. From that, I think I've gained a lot of experience. But I enjoy it. It's very different, stroke play.

Q. Do you have time to do any painting or drawing these days?

LUKE DONALD : I don't do too much outside the classroom. I don't really have that much time. Maybe later on down the road.

End of FastScripts….

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