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February 3, 2006

Nick Dougherty


GORDON SIMPSON: Nick, it seems to be the adage that you keep a bogey off your card you get a good score, that was Qatar last week and now this week.

NICK DOUGHERTY: Yeah, it is a very good start. It means a lot, particularly after last week in Qatar, I made too many mistakes, too many bogeys inaudible when I'm playing my best golf, aside from 18, really.

Aside from that, it was one of those occasions where it looked like I was maybe going to drop a shot. If you can do that every time you make a birdie, you know, you'd make 72. If you make no mistakes and make three birdies and shoot 69 and sometimes you can make six or seven birdies and shoot 69. I just played really solid. I hit the ball well so far this week and my mindset tells me to be consistent.

GORDON SIMPSON: On the tee you said you felt you had to improve.

NICK DOUGHERTY: Yeah, I think everyone knows that. Probably the worst part of my game is the inconsistency of it. You know, in the past I've had many good rounds, but a 75 or a 76 you'll always play four really good rounds, but sometimes to turn a 75 or 76 into a 72 or 71 is more important than turning a 65 into a 64 or 63.

Certainly the way I'm playing, I look much less likely to shoot big numbers. Better strategy, better thinking on the course and more trust in my golf game rather than thinking on my technique. I'm more target orientated and because I'm doing that, my shots are a lot more consistent and accurate.

Q. In Shanghai you talked about how you really wanted to play with Tiger Woods. I guess you might have another chance this weekend. If you could talk a little about that.

NICK DOUGHERTY: Yeah, I've love to. And Jamie Donaldson is the only one out there who can stop me; I won't speak to him for a week if he does.

That would be great. I didn't get a chance so I just put it down to the fact that maybe it will be more meaningful in the future, maybe an Open Championship. Certainly playing with him here would be great tomorrow.

I think anyone, if your aspiration is to become one of the best players in the world, there's no better experience with playing with arguably the best player that's ever played the game. So for me, I'll be trying to beat him but it will also be a great learning experience because I'll certainly soak up everything that happens tomorrow.

Q. Last week in Qatar, you were doing well at the halfway stage and then you sort of fell away, have you learned anything?

NICK DOUGHERTY: The thing about last week, and the reason I started well this week, is I looked at last week as a real positive. You're right, after two rounds, I was in much better shape than I was in the finish, albeit I did well to finish fourth.

You know, two years ago after making triple on the third hole like I did in the third round, I would have finished 20th. But I fought back I instantly from the very next shot, very next hole I was back on the game and focused. I actually ended with a very good 73 considering I was 5 over after 11 holes. Last week was a success; it wasn't a disappointment. It's a building block and it's allowed me to be in this position.

It's easy to do well, you know, when you coast along, you're playing good, you don't really learn much. It's when you get put to your paces out there on the course that you actually learned things, and I came through better for it. Consequently my confidence is riding really high at the moment. I'm hitting the ball as about as good as I ever have been, I'm thinking well, and I'm about as good as how I can be at the moment and that's all because of how I dealt with last week. Consequently, falling away, if you want to call it, I think it was actually a real positive.

Q. Have you spoken to Tiger at all and does he know who you are?

NICK DOUGHERTY: I've seen him quite a few times. I've never gotten into any conversation. Nothing usually comes out, Mr. Woods. (Laughter).

Certainly from what I hear, he's supposed to be a great guy to play with. He's an IMG player as well, as I am, so I get a bit of an inside look of what he's like as a man and you know he is the man; he's as good as it gets. You know, how he goes about his business, the image he portrays about golf in the world; I'd feel very, very honored to get a chance to play with him.

Q. Do you think you'd get a positive experience?

NICK DOUGHERTY: I always play my best golf touch wood I always play my best golf when I'm playing with the better players. I love playing with Monty. I adore playing with Monty because he's probably in the modern era the best player that Europe has produced. Certainly in the history of The European Tour he's the most successful. I love playing with the top players because it pushes me forward. I like seeing the person I'm playing against. I like playing with the guy I'm trying to beat and certainly if you compete with guys like Miguel and Monty, you're doing all right, and that's my goal and certainly I'd enjoy having a go with Tiger.

End of FastScripts.

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