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July 6, 2011

Luke Donald


MICHAEL GIBBONS: Welcome to The Barclays Scottish Open. We have been asking everybody what they think of the golf course but you have not played it, yet have you.
LUKE DONALD: I'm going out this afternoon for the first time. I got here Monday night and I've been playing some links golf around St. George's the last four days. So I felt like my time was better served on the range yesterday, so I didn't go play the course. Certainly from what I've heard, it looks and plays very well, so I'm excited to go see it.
MICHAEL GIBBONS: Give us your thoughts, a very big three weeks for you starting this week.
LUKE DONALD: Yeah, I haven't played the Scottish for a few years since it was back at Loch Lomond. I always felt like playing links golf leading into the British Open is very important. And hence, I'm here. I'm looking forward to getting that feel back and getting that spirit of links golf.
MICHAEL GIBBONS: You're at most dangerous at the Highlands, here in the Walker Cup in '99.
LUKE DONALD: Yeah, just down the road, some fond memories. My coach had a 6.15 tee time last night, so he enjoyed it.

Q. So why playing links --
LUKE DONALD: Just because the fact that we hardly ever play links golf. It's just a different style. It's very different to what I play week-in, week-out. So it takes some time to adjust to where to land the ball, those chip-and-run shots you get a lot. It's just a little bit of a different style, but you have to kind of re-learn and remember. So it takes some time.

Q. What have you done since the time U.S. Open?
LUKE DONALD: My wife and I went to Italy for six days. Yeah, other than in the gym, I didn't do anything to do with golf. So it was nice to take a break from it. And then since Thursday I've been up around St. George's playing St. George's and a few other courses.

Q. Whereabouts?
LUKE DONALD: Prince's, Rye and Royal Cinque Ports.

Q. This morning and yesterday you seem to be working exceptionally hard, that would suggest that that hard work is kicking in to give you success.
LUKE DONALD: That's a lot to do with it. There are some golfers that don't practise that much and rely on natural ability. I feel like I have to go out there and work at it. Otherwise, I don't feel prepared when it comes to Thursday.
Obviously this week I'll probably be even doing a little bit more than I would usually just in preparation for next week, really being diligent about putting in the time and feeling that when it comes to Thursday next week, I'm ready to go. I've got no excuses and nothing to be worried about. If it doesn't work out, it doesn't work out and I've put the time in.

Q. How was Royal St. George's looking?
LUKE DONALD: It was looking very good. Not as much rough as there was in 2003 but I don't think it needs that. The course is playing somewhat bouncy but not overly fiery. I thought it was a very fair setup. The greens had plenty of grass on them. They weren't very quick right now but the course was in great shape. I think it will be one of those Opens where the weather depicts the score rather than the course setup.

Q. When the course is set up --
LUKE DONALD: I think it was just one of those times when it was extremely fiery. We had a hot summer that year, and you know, some of the bounces here and there were just accentuated because of that hard ground. Obviously they have widened a couple fairways since then. The rough isn't as up. I'm sure you will hear very few complaints.

Q. I saw you practicing yesterday and your caddie had a broom that you seemed to be using to measure accuracy in terms of distance the ball was landing from the hole - what was the margin?
LUKE DONALD: It was 5-foot, I believe, the broom. So the further I get away from the hole, I'm just trying to hit the least amount of shots within five feet -- five balls to five feet.

Q. Did you kep going till you got a certain number within five feet?
LUKE DONALD: Just to when I got to five balls within that five feet.

Q. Inaudible?
LUKE DONALD: Well, you know, it's constantly changing different shots. So I mean, Dave keeps all my stats and makes sure I'm progressing. He's very detailed.

Q. Are there any motivational thoughts you've been working on?
LUKE DONALD: It's just day-to-day. I usually set myself three goals of what I want to accomplish for each day and that kind of keeps me motivated.

Q. Like what?
LUKE DONALD: Depending on what I need to work on, depending on the course, depending on what I've been doing lately. It could be anything from setting myself, taking 15 shots to get within five balls from 50 yards or whatever it might be. It depends.

Q. What memories do you have from the Walker Cup in '99?
LUKE DONALD: It was a fantastic week. I remember huge crowds. Obviously a great final singles day. I know it was quite close up until the singles and then we kind of ran away with it.
I remember partnering with Paul Casey a couple of team matches, and going 4-0. So it's really -- I guess it was the start of my great run of match-play results.

Q. What sort of Major venues do you feel suit you?
LUKE DONALD: My results have been a little bit better at Augusta. I've had more chances to be successful there than any other Major. My Open record has not been very good until the last couple of years. I think the preparation I've been doing leading up to the Opens has really helped, and with a fifth two years ago and an 11th, I wasn't really contending but certainly moving in the right direction and feeling more comfortable on links golf. So I would put those two at the top of the list.

Q. I have heard you describe yourself as half-Scottish before. We don't have any Scots in the absolute world top at the moment, what are your thoughts on why that is --
LUKE DONALD: Probably not practising in the rain. (Laughter). Very hard question to answer. Obviously the English are really pushing each other. I think even the Irish have been doing extremely well, too. So I'm sure it's only a matter of time it before a Scot breaks through.

Q. Could it be you?
LUKE DONALD: We'll see. Hopefully I'll be ahead of them, but wish them luck.

Q. What where the pros and cons of coming here?
LUKE DONALD: Well I thought there was a lot of pros. Being on a links course again, you're spending an extra week practising on that style of golf course. Again, this is really something I'm not accustomed to that much during the year, and The Open Championship is the exception.
So get in an extra week of practise on links in tournament conditions under those pressures is very helpful to me, so I see it as a pro.

Q. Your thoughts on Tiger not playing The Open this year?
LUKE DONALD: Well, he's obviously not feeling ready with his injury. I'm not really sure the extent of his injury, but I'm sure he would do everything to play if he was ready, but he obviously doesn't feel like he is.

Q. Were you surprised to hear he wouldn't play?
LUKE DONALD: I'm not surprised or not surprised either way really. Injury is a tough thing. I know when I went through my injury, it's very easy to rush back and try and push it too hard. The best thing you can do is make sure it's totally right before you go play and practise, and so you can hopefully not have any injuries in the future.

Q. Do you think the wet weather here and dry weather south will affect the Open preparations?
LUKE DONALD: Again, I haven't played it yet, but you know, just chipping around, the chipping greens -- I went actually out to the 18th green yesterday and hit a few chips. It still feels very much linksy to me. It's not totally out of control and bouncing, but you know, it's a different feel, the turf, and it's reacting like a true links course. So I'm sure it will be good preparation.
MICHAEL GIBBONS: Good luck with The Barclays Scottish Open.

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