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An Interview With: Luke Donald

JULIUS MASON: Luke Donald, shooting a 5-under at the 86th PGA Championship. Luke, congratulations on your round today. Some openings thoughts and we'll go through your card and we'll go to some Q&A.

LUKE DONALD: Today was a very good day for me. I played solidly, a lot of birdies, eight birdies today. I could have had a couple more coming in, but all in all, a pretty solid day.

JULIUS MASON: If you could just talk about your birdies and bogeys.

LUKE DONALD: A good start. I had 3-wood and a wedge to about four feet on the first.

Then I birdied the second with a putt from about 18 feet. Then hit it pretty close with an 8-iron on the third to about ten feet. Fourth hole, I hit it in the right rough off the tee. Hit it right with my second shot and made a good bogey in the end. 7, the par 3, I hit it right into the bunker. It plugged, left it in the bunker. Came out and holed a good 12-footer for bogey, so it was a good bogey. 8, a drive, 4-iron to the front edge and holed probably a 50-footer there. So that was a bonus. And then 9, drive and an 8-iron to about 20 feet and made that putt. 10 was drive, pitching wedge to about eight feet and made that putt. 11, drive, 3-iron, sand wedge to about two feet. 14 was a 2-iron and a sand wedge from about 115 yards to about two feet again and made that. 15, I drove it in the fairway, hit a 4-iron long right off the green, chipped to about 12 feet and missed the putt. Then the last three, I had birdie putts from about seven feet, and 15 feet on 17 and 18, but made par on all three.

JULIUS MASON: Thank you.

Q. Pat was saying outside that you've always been one to get some momentum and really run with it. Is today's round a case of your play from Sweden carrying over?

LUKE DONALD: Yeah. My whole round was kind of momentum. I got off to a good start, I birdied 1, 2 and 3 and then stumbled a little bit. Then had four in a row starting on the eighth. I got on some good runs out there, and obviously my form has carried on from Sweden. I feel like I'm playing well like I did in Malmo and I'm hitting the ball really well and I made some putts today, which helped.

Q. Do you consider the Ryder Cup implications at a time like now or at any time during the tournament?

LUKE DONALD: I'm trying not to think about it too much. Obviously I've love to make the Ryder Cup, and that is a goal of mine. But I'm trying to take every week as it comes. You know, this is just a good start in a major for me. You know, I'm really trying to just play good golf and let the rest take care of itself.

Q. Do you feel that you maybe could be leading the tournament, not maybe should be, but could be?

LUKE DONALD: Today?

Q. Yeah.

LUKE DONALD: Absolutely. I holed some good putts out there, but I left some out there, too. There's two or three putts at the end I could have holed and I could have shot 64 today.

Q. When you saw the leaderboard before you went out and you saw all of those birdies and these under-par scores, were you surprised? Did it really kind of fire you up or what were you thinking?

LUKE DONALD: I actually turned the TV on briefly this morning and I saw that K.J. Choi, the first thing I saw, he birdies his first five holes.

But after that, I didn't pay too much attention. I don't really like to watch too much what happens in the morning if I'm playing in the afternoon. But I went out onto the first tee and I had not really looked at the leaderboard. I knew there were people making birdies out there and the wind wasn't up too much. It was from a different direction, a direction I had actually played when I had a practice round last week. It was a friendlier wind than I think the last couple of days. So I knew that birdies could be had out there.

Q. Did it affect you? That was my part of the question about the wind this afternoon, it kind of came up toward the end of your round.

LUKE DONALD: Yeah, it wasn't really too much of a factor. I think the wind is no more than a club wind out there. It wasn't as strong as the last couple of days.

Q. Missing the cut at Troon and the way that you missed it, missing a short putt there, did that light a fire under you? You've obviously played very well since then.

LUKE DONALD: Yeah, I've come to getting used to missing the cut in the British.

Yeah, it was disappointing. I didn't really play that badly at the Open Championship. Two, maybe, mistakes in the first round, but I got stuck in a bunker on 17 and I hit it out-of-bounds on 11, two bad swings and 75. I played pretty solidly in the second round. You know, it was a shame to finish with a 3-putt on 18 to miss by one. I was more encouraged than disappointed. Obviously I was very disappointed. I played better than that. But I felt like my game was coming around. I was hitting good shots. I just wasn't really getting rewarded for them.

Q. Your two Walker Cups, would that have any bearing on the Ryder Cup, would that help, do you think, or not?

LUKE DONALD: I would hope it would help, but I don't know how Bernhard Langer thinks. Obviously he's got his own thought processes when picking the team. But I have a good record in the Walker Cup. Two Walker Cups, I've only lost one four-ball match, foursomes match.

I enjoy match-play. I've had a lot of fun playing in those two Walker Cups. If I could play a Ryder Cup, that would be great.

Q. Do you look forward to the course getting tougher, maybe tougher pins and all that, or would you be just as happy if the conditions stayed like they were today?

LUKE DONALD: I think this is a little bit easier wind. I don't know what the wind is going to do for the rest of the week. But the PGA set it up very fairly today. They moved some tees up. I mean, the 18th hole, I hit 2-iron off the tee and a smooth 6-iron. Yesterday it was a drive and a 3-wood and I didn't get there, mainly because of the wind, but they moved the tee up 50 yards.

It's a course you have to be very careful. You can put some tees back, and if the wind is wrong, you're going to have some holes that are unplayable. So, again, the pins were reasonably friendly today. I saw some of the pins for tomorrow which they have already marked, and again, they didn't look overly tucked, so I think it's going to be more of the same. They might put a few tees back, but I think the pins, it's hard to tuck the pins too much on this course without getting -- without it getting too ridiculous.

Q. Going back to the Walker Cup again, what was Paul Casey like to play with? You played with him in the first one, didn't you?

LUKE DONALD: I played with him in '99, yeah. He was my partner. We played twice together.

Paul is a very strong player. I'm kind of more of a down-the-middle, average kind of driving distance. He's a powerful player. It was a good mix to have the straightness and the power together. We gelled really well.

Q. When you rejoined the European Tour, was that after Bernhard contacted you, or just what prompted it?

LUKE DONALD: It was actually something that happened with Jesper Parnevik. I had heard that he had been given, I guess the rule had been slackened slightly where he would only have to play 11 events if he made the Ryder Cup, and I talked to Ken Schofield to see if that was the case for me, and he said that he would make it that. That made it a lot easier for me to rejoin. But it wasn't really anything to do with Bernhard. He tried to contact me. We played phone tag so we didn't actually talk.

JULIUS MASON: Questions? Luke Donald, ladies and gentlemen. Thank you very much.

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