RBC Canadian Open interview: Luke Donald

July 24, 2013

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THE MODERATOR:  Welcome, Luke Donald to the media center.  Luke, it's your fourth straight RBC Canadian Open including a third place finish in 2011.  Maybe you can tell us what it's like to be back at this tournament and we'll open it up for some questions?

LUKE DONALD:  Yeah, it's good to be back.  Obviously, being an RBC ambassador, it's nice to see how much of a role they've started to play in golf the last few years, not only sponsoring this event and making this event bigger and stronger as ever, but also the one at the RBC Heritage.

This is a National Open, the oldest tournament on the PGA TOUR, and it has some illustrious winners on that trophy, so I would love to add my name to them.

Q.  Obviously, you're coming off your own National Open a week ago.  You're seeing guys like Mike Weir, and Graham DeLaet going through their own National Open.  For yourself, when you play the British, and I realize this is a major, is the pressure more intense for you when you're doing that?  Can you understand what they're looking at, or is it because the British Open you have more players over there as opposed to Canada or might it be lighter?

LUKE DONALD:  You know, the one tournament I would love to win the most would be the Open Championship, the British Open.  Growing up there, having watched it, watched some of my idols throughout the years, Faldo, and Seve win that great tournament, I'd dearly love to hold the Claret Jug one of these days, not just because it's a major, but because it is your home event in a way.

So, yeah, I think there is a little bit more pressure that comes with that.  The expectation and almost the pressure you put on yourself wanting to win it.  You're thinking too much results oriented instead of just going through the process of playing each hole as it comes.

I think sometimes it can make it more difficult when it is your National Open, but it's also fun.  It's great to enjoy the home support, the crowd, the family support, all that goes along with that makes the event special.

Q.  Do you think the Canadians are feeling it a little bit more than you were in your international just because there are less of them than there is over in Britain?

LUKE DONALD:  I don't know.  We get harassed pretty good by the British media, so we feel it pretty good too.

Q.  How is Glen Abbey shaping up out there?  What is your initial response to the course?

LUKE DONALD:  I think it's in great shape.  I think it's been a few years since I played.  In '09, I think was the last time I was here.  I remember the course pretty well, but it is in great shape.  The greens are holding right now.  The fairways are firm.  The rough is pretty juicy in spots.

You know, it doesn't look too long, but the ball sits down and it's dangling.  So it's going to be a big premium hitting it in the fairways this week, taking advantage of the par‑5s.  If the wind direction stays this way, the par‑5s become reachable where you can make a couple of eagles to get even on 16 and 18.  You can see guys hit those holes if that wind direction stays the same and as strong as it was today.

So, again, premium on hitting it in the fairway, and these greens are very small.  They're tricky.  There are a lot of undulations to them.  So if you can attack them from the fairway, it's going to be important.

 Q.  Luke, how nice was it to get back on a normal golf course again after Muirfield?  And having played golf around the world, just how tough was Muirfield last week?

LUKE DONALD:  It was certainly tough.  As I said in my media, I think some people thought because the weather conditions were pretty favorable that people are going to have some low scores around there.  But firm conditions are as good a protector of par on a golf course than anything.  So, you know, when it's that firm, if you're a few yards offline, suddenly it becomes 15 or 20 yards because the ball is just running and running.

It was a tough challenge.  It was fair.  The afternoon rounds on Thursday and Friday went to the edge.  They put some tricky pins and made the greens extremely fast, what we're not used to seeing in links golf, seeing them run out that much.  But it was obviously a disappointing championship for me, but it got a worthy winner in Phil Mickelson.

Q.  Luke, first of all, thank you for supporting our National Championship.  Great to see you here back at Glen Abbey.  This is a tough time of year.  You've just come off the Open Championship, now we're here with a world championship, and World Golf Championship coming up.  There is still a major and a playoff run where you'll have a home game, another home game in Chicago.  How hard is it to stay mentally fresh this time of year?  Everybody looks at the physical side and these guys are doing a lot of traveling and playing a lot of golf, and I know you're a professional and it's your job to be ready to play.  I get that.  But coming down to this time of year, it must be hard to stay motivated and feel fresh when you get to the golf course.  What do you do this time of year to deal with that?

LUKE DONALD:  It's always easy to be motivated.  We're out here trying to win tournaments and that's motivation itself.  But you're right in the fact that this time of year becomes mentally and physically quite draining.  Obviously coming from the U.K. to here to a World Golf Championship to another major, it's not ideal to be playing four in a row with the PGA being the fourth and then have the run of FedExCup events.

So it's tough.  You've got to make sure you're efficient with your practice and take some days off when you can.  You know, for me, it was important actually yesterday.  I could have come out here and practiced, but I thought I'm going to have a chance to take a few hours away from the game, and I did.

It's about balancing your practice and making sure you are ready when Thursday comes.  So it's tough.  It's a tough balancing act.  It's something I've had to deal with my whole career.  I'm playing both Tours as well.  But this year to try and make sure I'm fresh, I've probably played a couple of events less on my schedule than previous years.

 Q.  Speaking of the arduous schedule, I'm just wondering, would you be here if it wasn't for your affiliation with RBC or would this be a good week to take off?

LUKE DONALD:  That's a good question.  I mean, it's certainly not ideal, as I said, to play four in a row.  But RBC has done a great deal for the game of golf and for sponsorship of these two events.  You know, ideally this tournament would be in a different slot.  But I'm committed to my agreement with them and I'm committed to trying to make this championship as good as it can be, and I will be here trying my hardest.