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March 7, 2014

Luke Donald


Q.  Talk about the eagle.
LUKE DONALD:  It was nice, had plenty of time to think about that shot.  Slept on it overnight.  It was a pretty simple chip to the front of the green but always a bonus to drop in.  I made's nice chip there and made a couple bombs yesterday on the greens, too.  The greens are perfect.  Just quick and very true and if you get them on line, you know they are going to go in.

Q.  We are only a quarter way through this championship, but when you post sub‑pars on this difficult golf course, difficult conditions, what does that do for your mind‑set, especially knowing that you have 18 more holes to play?
LUKE DONALD:  Yeah, it's going to be tough today.  I think anybody who still has quite a few holes left in their first round will find it tough.  The wind is a different direction and even as strong, if not stronger than yesterday.
So I've got a little bit of time to relax, get some food and get ready for this afternoon.

Q.  Your views of the golf course now that you've seen it?
LUKE DONALD:  As I said a few weeks ago when I played, I think aesthetically it looks so much better.  It was a pretty flat piece of land and Gil has done a great job.
I think a couple holes and a couple greens are a little severe and will need some tweaking,3 especially.  You can hit a good shot to the middle of the green and end up in the water there.  Especially with today's wind blowing towards that water, so as fast as these greens are, I think this year will be sort of a test just to see what needs tweaking.
You hope they don't have to keep changing stuff but obviously I think a couple changes will need to be made.

Q.  Some odd shots, one you hit that hit a tree and kicked all the way across the water‑‑
LUKE DONALD:  That's not Gil Hanse's fault.

Q.  There's a lot of weird shots that have happened, guys hitting greens and the ball is going back into the water, things like that.  Does it seem like it's that way or are we just imagining things?
LUKE DONALD:  Certainly people hitting greens, going in the water, that is certainly more of a case this year than it was in the old design.  Water is much more in play now on a lot more holes and with shaved banks and greens this fast, and decent slopes, you know, you can catch a slope; as fast as greens are, there's just nothing to stop it.
1 seems a little severe, everything pushing it that way, the wind today is going to push it even more towards the water‑‑ 3.

Q.  Yesterday Furyk had an unbelievable break on 8?
LUKE DONALD:  I'm sure Mr.Trump wanted something pretty hard and a test, a World Golf Championships, he wanted something severe, but it's bordering on unfair on a few holes.

Q.  He can fix that.
LUKE DONALD:  You would hope the architects would get it right the first but that's not a knock on Gil.  Sometimes you need playability, and I'm not sure‑‑ when I played it three weeks ago, the greens were 9 on the Stimp and that third hole wasn't quite as much of a problem, that green.  But they are at 13 right now.  They are as pure a green as I've ever seen.

Q.  So what's the bigger issue, the design issue or the fact that the setup‑‑
LUKE DONALD:  I think the setup is very similar to what we play week‑in, week‑out.

Q.  How is your new swing?  What's the report?
LUKE DONALD:  Oh, it's good.  I'm feeling much more confident with trajectory and my swing plane is really good, I'm not losing‑‑ I'm standing my posture a lot better than I used to.
I still have a little bit where I want to hit it with my hands and I've just got to keep working on rotating through the ball and hitting it with my body and trusting it.  So it's getting very close.  I'm hitting a lot of shots that I'm really excited about.  The last two weeks, my short game has been great, too, though, and making some putts and getting up‑and‑down and that's obviously good for scoring, as well.  But it's nice to have all parts come together.

Q.  Has there been some worry during the transition period, confidence‑wise and mentally?
LUKE DONALD:  There's always the risk but felt like something I needed to do and wanted to do and felt I would regret if I didn't try something.  So I knew there would be a period that I had to be very patient, which isn't one of my strongest suits, but to be honest, since switching‑‑ I've worked with Chuck in August, that's not a long time, six, seven months, and it's already starting to feel pretty natural.
Fortunately, I'm a reasonably quick learner, hopefully.

Q.  The Ryder Cup seems like a long way away, but‑‑
LUKE DONALD:  It's not that far away, though, is it.

Q.  You're way down the rankings, shall I say.
LUKE DONALD:  Takes one good week.  A tournament like this, a win here, World Golf Championships, win a major, you're in.
Again, I don't want to panic.  I just want to keep playing well.  How I feel about where my game is going, if I keep playing like I know I can play, then‑‑ I'm not going to worry about it.  I feel like if I keep doing what I'm doing, it will take care of itself.

Q.  You should get a pick if you don't qualify anyway.
LUKE DONALD:  No one deserves a pick.  If I don't make it and I don't get picked, then I won't have regrets because I didn't make it.  I certainly would like to make that team.  It's a big part of playing both tours; you want to play The Ryder Cup, and I've had four amazing wins, been on four successful teams, and a lot of highlights of my career in that tournament.

Q.  What's your thoughts on Des and Sam as the assistants?
LUKE DONALD:  Very good choice.  I think Sam, obviously captain a couple times, isn't he, at least.  Des was there at K Club, as well, but both sort of mentors and good friends of McGinley and have been around and know what's going on.  So I think‑‑ I don't know Des that well, met him a little bit in 2006, but I was sort of just coming on to the scenes there, so I didn't know everyone that well.
But Sam, you know, obviously brings a great light heartedness to the team room and a lot of experience, as well.

Q.  And a legend in The Ryder Cup.
LUKE DONALD:  Yeah, playing and captain.

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