What they said: Luke DonaldFebruary 16, 2012
PGA TOUR staff
MORE INTERVIEWS: Northern Trust Open transcript archive Q. Solid playing out there today. It was a bit tough, wasn't it??
LUKE DONALD: Yeah, you're telling me. This morning it was freezing, blowing a gale, and it was not easy. This course is tough with benign conditions, so with the added wind and the greens, they're fast. They seemed a little bit faster than usual. 11 and a half to 12 on the stimpmeter usually makes it really tough out there.
Q. You looked really solid, though. I know you hit some shots that didn't end up like you wanted to, like the second shot on 3 that landed on the front of the green and stopped, but it looked like all in all you felt very comfortable for your first round back in a while.
LUKE DONALD: Well, I'm excited about my ball striking, the way I'm controlling the flight. I'm moving it both ways, feel like I'm driving the ball pretty solidly, happy with the work that I've done in the off season, seems to be paying off. So far, so good. Yeah, just a little bit of tidying up here and there, but feels very good.
Q. Did you feel like you had an off season??
LUKE DONALD: Not much of one, no. Yeah, that's kind of the way it is with golf. You know, especially being a member of both Tours. It's tough to find a decent break. But I had five weeks off and was able to get a little bit of rest in there.
Q. Little chilly in the morning but a cool scene to be on the 10th tee, one of the best short par 4s in the game and ready to get going??
LUKE DONALD: Yeah, 10th I've always said is one of the best par 4s in the world, so much strategy with that one. Obviously downwind I think most people will go for it today. But I thought I hit a perfect second shot there, and the wind just caught it and kept going and going and going. If it got much more windier, that hole would have been almost unplayable where that green was.
Yeah, it was tough out there. I'm pretty pleased with what I did. The only thing that I struggled a little bit was the pace on the greens. I think some of the longer putts I was struggling with the pace, and they just seem a fraction quicker than usual.
Q. As players do you feel the tradition of a place like this? Is it inspiring when you have Hogan walking through here and all the great names?
LUKE DONALD: Well, I come here because it is a classic course. It's a great design, too. I enjoy the challenge of working it both ways, and I think it still changed a little bit over the years. They've added a little bit of length this year, changed a green or two. But it's still one of those classic courses that I always look forward to coming to.
Q. You've done well here in the past, strong finishes. What has worked for you, what's fit here??
LUKE DONALD: Well, I think around the greens is important. These greens are tricky. If you can putt well around here, it's going to help. I mean, the biggest adjustment for me, I practice in south Florida on pretty perfect, smooth Bermuda greens; to come here and play on poa annua, it's a big adjustment. And with them being quicker today with the wind, that was the toughest part for me.