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June 23, 2010

Nick Dougherty


MICHAEL GIBBONS: Nick, thank for joining us. Welcome back to the BMW International Open. Obviously a lot to reflect on, maybe start us off by reflecting on the great victory last year.
NICK DOUGHERTY: Yeah, it was a wonderful win. Some very fond memories of what I achieved here, the way I won it, as well," to shoot 64 on Sunday to win when you're playing with Goose and Bernhard is a great achievement in itself, but to win the event, it was magnificent.
You know, last year was a disappointing year for me in general, so it was certainly the standout through the year. I'm hopefully going to try and use some of those memories from last year to try and kick-start my season this year.
MICHAEL GIBBONS: Maybe channel that and move on up the rankings?
NICK DOUGHERTY: Yeah, absolutely. Not a lot to say really with what I've been doing. I've been doing all the right stuff. Confidence is the thing that's holding me back. My golf game is actually in pretty good shape. Hopefully being back here, and, you know, playing so well last year and shooting good scores all week is what I need to give me that confidence boost that's going to help me get in form.
But I'm not relaxed, just because I'm defending champion doesn't mean that I'm entitled to do exactly the same again, but it certainly gives me an edge to allow me to feel on the first tee that I know how to shoot the scores required to win this tournament, and looking forward to that and shooting the scores that I can around here.
MICHAEL GIBBONS: Do you get a sense of that walking around and seeing your face everywhere?
NICK DOUGHERTY: Yeah, it's been great. It's been nice. It's been quiet the last couple of years, and spent far less time in these places (press centres) than I did the couple of years before that, but that's life and that's golf. It's how you respond to setbacks and challenges that truly matters in the long run. I've had a tough run of it for two years, and I firmly believe that I'm going to come out of it, if not this week, very, very soon.
Yeah, I'm optimistic and I feel positive about what I am doing, I'm positive with all aspects of my life and things off the course are superb. No, it's time to move on.

Q. How is the course playing compared to last year?
NICK DOUGHERTY: It's just as soft as the moment. Obviously the rainfall we've had the last couple of years here, you know, the course is really soft. Apparently the forecast is great. So I imagine come Sunday it will be quite a bit firmer. It's quick and it always is when we come here, greens are nice and quick, because we have put on quite a lot of slow surfaces this year which really doesn't suit me.
All in all I didn't notice it playing too differently. Ball doesn't seem to be going quite as far as I was but maybe I'm just not hitting it as far as I used to. I don't know. But all in all, it's very similar.

Q. Obvious question. What does Graeme's win do for you and the whole tour?
NICK DOUGHERTY: For me personally, not a huge amount. But apart from the fact that, if you needed to know that you could potentially beat the best players in the world to win a major championship, there's actual firm evidence of it now. Awesome win for him and I'm delighted for Graeme. He's a lovely guy, as well. It's really nice when the good guys go ahead and win tournaments like that, and the manner in which he did so, as well. He played the best golf and he's an absolutely worthy champion of that tournament.
For the Tour, it's great. For The Ryder Cup, it's great. I think it's a great boost that a European has gone and won the United States Open Championship. I think it's great and again, it's boosts our recognition of our tour; that we are producing great players, worthy winners of major championships. Because I know certainly over the last sort of ten years that's been the flak that the European players get in the media is not delivering in those majors, which, you know, fair enough.
I think our players are good enough to win them and basically now that's going to open the door and a lot more guys will do it after this.
I firmly believe that there will be a European winner of the Open this year, as well. I really think there will be.

Q. Who do you favour to win The Open?
NICK DOUGHERTY: I'd like to see Lee win to be honest. I just think he's -- people say, to win a major, is that the only way you can be a great player, I'm not sure Monty would agree with that because he's a great player and he hasn't won one. I just think Lee deserves it. He's been playing great golf and he's come so close over the last few years. He's, again, another great guy you would love to see be successful and win a major and that would be a nice one for him.
There's a lot of guys. Graeme, I have a feeling he's going to play well. He reminds me of a Dys; when those guys are playing well, they are really difficult to beat because when they are confident, goodness me, they can knock the flag the out all day. I think Graeme winning Wales before going to the U.S. Open, if he had not won Wales, I think maybe it would have been a different story at the U.S. Open. But his confidence going there was immense, so he believed he was the best player, and he certainly was.

Q. How much more competitive is it now?
NICK DOUGHERTY: There's more players can win but I think it's harder to be in the top 5. I think the scores are usually about the same, winning tournaments. I don't think it's harder to win. It's just that there's more guys coming down the stretch, where maybe it was between -- every week, you would look and think one of five guys might win this, and now it's one of 25 or 30 guys every week, which is great because competition is what improves you.
Having to perform better to achieve great results will improve you and it's great for all of us that the quality of our tour is topping all the time and I think it's certainly as strong as the American tour now.

Q. Thoughts on being paired with Monty?
NICK DOUGHERTY: Yeah, I love playing with Monty. He's a great guy. I like playing with Paul, as well. They are great players. I played with Monty yesterday in that little junior challenge for nine holes and he's great. He's good banter, he's good fun. He's playing really well. He's hitting the ball really nicely.
Obviously he must be hitting it okay to shoot 62 at Sunningdale but really impressive. Although one of the juniors could outdrive him -- and he hit it good, too, which was the frightening bit, but he obviously couldn't get away with that. (Laughter).
MICHAEL GIBBONS: Thanks for coming in.

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