What they said: Luke Donald

April 23, 2011
PGA TOUR staff

MORE INTERVIEWS: The Heritage transcript archive

MARK STEVENS: Luke Donald, got to 11-under, currently in the lead after the third round. Talk about your round today.

LUKE DONALD: Yeah, obviously got off to a pretty slow start, making 7 on 2. I'm giving up two or three shots on that hole to the field. It wasn't really a terrible shot, just pulled it slightly, got a kick and that ball stays a couple of yards inbounds and it's an easy up-and-down for birdie.

I dug deep. Made some good birdies. It was tougher today, the wind was more of a factor, the greens are getting firmer and crustier. And I was pleased with bringing it back after that slow start.

Q. Looks like you and Furyk in the last group. Obviously you played well here the past couple of years, he's played well over the last four or five years and then won last year. Does that make you in the back of your mind think you have to go a little bit lower tomorrow than you ordinarily might think??

LUKE DONALD: Well, I think it's pretty bunched behind me, I haven't really seen the leaderboard or anything, but I think it's bunched out there. So I think with just a one-shot lead you can't play protective golf, you have to go out there and try to win it, make some birdies and not try to hold on to that lead. I think with the weather forecast, I don't know if it's going to be windy again tomorrow, but the course is only getting harder and faster. But you have to take your birdie opportunities when you get them.

Q. You and Jim are going to be paired together tomorrow. The two of you have had a couple of noteworthy golf battles, I guess, last year, at the Tour Championship and at Ryder Cup. Does having him as a partner, does that help, does it hurt??

LUKE DONALD: I don't think it matters either way, to be honest. We've had some good battles over the last couple of years. Obviously he got me at the FedEx, at the Tour Championship and I got a little revenge at the Ryder Cup. But, no, again, I think there's a bunch of people behind us that have a good chance, too. So I don't count anyone else out. It should be a good battle out there.

If I hit it like I did today, I really drove it very well and hit a lot of good irons, make just a couple more putts than I did today, I think I'll be in good shape.

Q. How much does that carry over tomorrow, the success you had earlier??

LUKE DONALD: When you put yourself in those kind of situations, where the pressure is a little bit more, I think going out in the final group of any tournament on Sunday is a little bit more pressure on you, you just feel more comfortable the more you do it. And having that knowledge in the back of my mind, I went out against No. 1 player in the world, Martin Kaymer, and was able to compete and hit good shots when I needed to. It's something I can certainly feed off of and use in situations like tomorrow.

Q. Obviously there's that need to be No. 1 I saw you guys exchange some friendly congratulations to each other on Twitter this morning, can you talk a little bit about that.

LUKE DONALD: Yeah, he sent me a message yesterday just saying "good playing." And I sent one back. We're obviously Ryder Cup partners, and we're friends off the course. Obviously we're a long way apart right now in terms of where we are, but we never wish bad on each other. I think I have an opportunity to go out there and win, and if I do, then I know what's going to happen. I think it's just friendly banter.

Q. The leaderboard is bunched up, and if conditions are similar tomorrow, what's the one thing more than anything you think could be the determining factor??

LUKE DONALD: I guess staying away from that big number, you know. This is a course where you look around every corner there's trouble. You have to be very accurate off the tee. You have to control your irons. There's a lot of trees and obstacles out there, almost. It's a golf course that's very different to what we play anywhere. How narrow some of the openings are to these greens, and you have to be very precise, just a little bit off, like I was on 2, can cost you. And hopefully I'll have a good, clear mind tomorrow and keep a big number off my card.

Q. How important was the next couple of holes after 2 to kind of steady yourself and get back to some of those --

LUKE DONALD: Yeah, 3 and 4 I thought were vital to me today. After I pulled that 2-iron I really didn't commit to the next 2-iron shots on 3 and 4 and hit really very poor shots. But again those up-and-downs and keeping some momentum going where I wasn't going completely backwards was big for me. And making a nice putt on 5 really steadied the ship and I was able to build off that.

I think getting up and down on 3 and 4 were a big key to my round today.

Q. Seems like your short game has been there for you all year, that has helped you keep things steady and bounce back??

LUKE DONALD: Something about my short game?

Q. It seems like your short game has been there for you all year.

LUKE DONALD: Yeah, as I said, I think through 2007 my swing got a little bit out of place. I didn't hit the ball tee to green that great over the last few years. I was missing more greens than I should have. I had to become very proficient around the greens. And obviously put a lot of work into it and it's been paying off. So my short game is a nice thing to be very good at. It makes up for some errant tee shots and save you a lot of shots.

MARK STEVENS: Thanks a lot, Luke. Good luck tomorrow.