What they said: Luke DonaldApril 11, 2012
PGA TOUR staff
MORE INTERVIEWS: RBC Heritage transcript archive
JOHN BUSH: We'd like to welcome Luke Donald into the media center here at the RBC Heritage. Currently the No. 1 player in the World Golf rankings, and he enters No. 14 in the FedExCup standings. You won this year at the Transitions Championship. Talk about the year.
LUKE DONALD: It's been a decent year. Obviously a little bit disappointing last week, not to really have a chance to contend. Had a little bit of a slow start. But obviously winning at Transitions, anytime you win during the year, a lot of positives coming from that.
Still a long way to go, and hopefully a few more wins along the road. Always excited to be here. I think this is one of the great classic courses we play. Something a little bit different to the norm. Obviously I've had some good runs here the last few years.
JOHN BUSH: I was going to say you're trending toward victory, third in 2010, and second last year. What's about this course that sets up so well for you.
LUKE DONALD: It's a classic golf course. It's one you have to really manage your game around. You have to think your way around very well. And obviously the greens are the smallest greens we'll play all year. It's going to be tough to hit a lot of greens this week. And because of that you need a good short game. And obviously that's certainly true over the last few years.
I love the fact that it's a positional golf course, rather than one that demands length.
Q. When you look back at last week, was it any one thing or just not being able to get the ball in the hole??
LUKE DONALD: It was a mixture of some uncharacteristic mistakes, a little bit of a slow start. I didn't hit the ball particularly well with my irons the first couple of rounds. I didn't hole as many putts as I would have liked, three or four three putts during the week. Some positives, though I hit a lot of fairways last week, 80 percent of fairways, which is a good stat for me.
It was just a slow start due to some poor irons and never being able to really catch up through some good short game.
Q. When you were here last year, you were aspiring to the No. 1 ranking and you've gotten it. Does it feel any different being on Tour, being the No. 1 player than it did when you were trying to get to that level??
LUKE DONALD: Well, I remember being pretty nervous come Sunday, you know, because I knew what was on the line. Obviously if I won I was going to go to No. 1. And it didn't quite work out, Brandt played a great round and beat me in the playoff. But certainly I was very nervous. Now that I've been No. 1 for a number of weeks now, it's not something I think about too much. Obviously my focus this week is just trying to win the tournament.
Q. When you fell out of No. 1 and went back to recapture it, obviously it meant a lot to you. The attention shifted to Rory a little bit there.
LUKE DONALD: Yeah, the win meant a lot to me. Getting back to No. 1 was a result of that. I think obviously when Rory went to No. 1, I think a lot of people thought that was going to be it for a while. But obviously I feel like I've got a lot of good golf in me. And I feel like I'm just getting into the kind of peak in my career. The last couple of years I've really started to figure out how to win on the U.S. Tour and in Europe, as well. Yeah, it was nice to win, and obviously the bonus is getting back to No. 1.
Q. What's been the difference between this year and last, not to suggest you had a bad year, you won a few weeks ago, but what's been the difference in terms of consistency for you? Have you been able to put your finger on it?
LUKE DONALD: Well, the slow start I think was due to the fact that I was working quite hard on my golf swing. And there was a little bit of neglect in the short game. I've continually wanted to try to improve on my driving. I felt like that was one part of my game that needed a bit more attention. And I gave it a lot more attention and it's starting to show in terms of hitting it in the fairways this year.
But when you neglect your short game just a little bit, it has a knock on effect of scoring. And that was certainly the case in the first few events.
Just before Doral I started to ramp up the short game practice again and obviously played some good tournaments.
Q. You've been close here, obviously, if there's one thing that you feel like you have to do better or could do this week, specifically, to increase your chances of winning here, what would that be??
LUKE DONALD: It's hard to remember back last year and what I did and what I didn't do. I think with a course like this when the greens are so small and they're reasonably firm right now and quite quick, that there's going to be if you want to score well around here, you're going to have to short game it pretty well, hole some putts, get up and down when you miss greens, and that will be a big key for me to be successful around here.
Q. How similar do you think the green speeds are to Augusta last week??
LUKE DONALD: Well, they're actually reasonably running quite quick. They're probably a foot slower than Augusta. Augusta's weren't that quick until the weekend, then they quickened up a little bit. Obviously Augusta has some more severe undulations, the greens still have some slopes in them here, but certainly not to the degree of Augusta.
But in terms of speed, there's not a huge difference when it comes to a flat part, and because of that it's not too much an adjustment.
JOHN BUSH: Thank you, Luke. We appreciate it.