An Interview With: LUKE DONALD
Q. Get something blue on the board
LUKE DONALD: I don't know what I would have done going down 18. The nerves were starting to build and Bubba was putting some serious pressure on me. He made some great birdies and the chip in on 16 was unexpected but in this game, you've got to expect that. And after I hit that bunker shot it was good bunker play, and it was nice to get the first point for Europe.
There's a lot of blue early on in the first matches. Got a chance and got to cheer the boys on.
Q. How much do you relish the role of going first?
LUKE DONALD: Well, it's a big honor for me. Ollie had enough trust in me to go out and get that first point for Europe, that means a lot to go out first and lead the team and I did what I had to do.
Q. You win the first point on Sunday in a Ryder Cup in your adopted hometown of Chicago, how would you best describe your emotions?
LUKE DONALD: It certainly helped. I felt a lot of love from the crowd, and it just feels a lot of relief that that game is over. Bubba pushed me hard at the end.
Q. That was exactly the job that was asked of you from captain Olazábal, and it must be a great relief?
LUKE DONALD: You always expect them to push you hard and Bubba did that. I had my chance on 14 and miss read that putt. But you know, what can I say. It's a relief in a way to get it done. I didn't want to go down 18 being 4 up with four to play. Again, Bubba, that chip in was pretty amazing by him to keep the match going.
Q. Give us an idea of your feelings as the person being asked to lead out Europe when you know that you've got such a deficit to try and claw back.
LUKE DONALD: Well, it's a different pressure going out number one. I think Ollie expected a lot from me. He rested me on Friday afternoon for a reason to be strong for the end of Saturday and today, and I delivered two points. Hopefully it's good enough. The boys are going to have to push hard, but we're going to go out and there and cheer them on.
Q. Do you have any way of knowing how the other matches are going out there?
LUKE DONALD: I had a sneak peak look at the board a couple of times and it looked good early on. The boys were playing well. I think it's turned the U.S.'s way at the moment but these matches can change.
Q. This is your hometown but you're playing for Europe, so what a dynamic that is?
LUKE DONALD: It's actually been a great week. It's always tough to play away from home in a Ryder Cup, but I actually felt somewhat loved this week, even though I'm playing for the Euros. It was nice to hear all the cheers.
Q. What kind of responsibility did you feel in that opening match?
LUKE DONALD: I felt a lot. Ollie put that lead off man in my hands, and I had to go out there and get up early and put some blue on the board to inspire the others. I killed that tee shot down the first for me and I knew I was off and running. It was a fun match.
The crowds at 17 want to see some matches. I wish I had made that putt on 14 but I didn't, I misread it, and Bubba played great on 15 and 16, and fortunately my bunker play came through for me.
Q. Give us a little insight into what was said and indeed done last night in the team room by José Maria in trying to galvanize the spirit on your side.
LUKE DONALD: We were coming off the momentum from yesterday afternoon. I think our spirits were low halfway through the afternoon, and when we came and won those last two matches, we really had a pep in our step. I think we just talked about it; that we still had a great chance; that we had an opportunity to make history; that Seve was watching down on us, and we hope the boys we hope some of Seve's magic can rub off on them coming home.
Q. Bubba never relinquished that lead, and you posted the first point of the day for the European side?
LUKE DONALD: Well, I had a lot of responsibility going out number one to try to get some blue on the board early, I wish I had done it a few holes earlier. Bubba put some pressure on me at the end and I was glad I held on.
Q. You are one of the best bunker players in the world, and you showed it here at the 17th?
LUKE DONALD: It's nice. This is a tough amphitheater to play in with everything going on. I knew Bubba had a tough chip, and if I could put it any closer
Feels great to give our team the best chance we can, and we still have an uphill battle but we are looking forward to it.
Q. This is a pro American crowd but there were an awful lot of chants here for you as the adopted son?
LUKE DONALD: I felt very much at home in a way. It was great to have all the cheers that I did.
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