Q. This is your 19th season on Tour if I have it correct, 19th full season. How do you feel heading into this one?
LUKE DONALD: 19th, yeah, on DP World Tour. Yeah, 2002 was when I turned — well, 2001 when I turned professional. It’s been even more than that as a professional.
Yeah, certainly, 46 years old I turned in December, so you feel the body doesn’t work quite as well. But still enjoy coming out and competing and trying my best against some of these great young players. It’s not easy but I love competing.
Q. You had a very busy year last year. How nice was it to get a break over Christmas?
LUKE DONALD: I was trying to do the math in my head this morning. It’s been 115 days since my last competitive shot, which was the Sunday at Wentworth. I haven’t taken a break that long in a long time. I used to take a couple months off when the seasons were a little bit different, 10, 12 years ago. Maybe put the clubs away for a month or two. But you know, this was a good, long break. Got to spend some good time with the family, and yeah, but ready to get going again.
Q. Do you still put the same amount of preparation and practise ahead of a new season?
LUKE DONALD: My preparation is slightly different. I have to be a little bit more efficient because it’s just the way my body is. I just can’t grind out there six, seven hours a day. So try to be a bit more efficient with my time. But do enough where I feel like, you know, I’m sharp and I’m ready to compete.
Again, I feel like most parts of my game just need a little bit of work here and there, and the rest kind of takes care of itself.
Q. I could think of many a worse place to start the season than at Dubai Creek. What do you make of the venue?
LUKE DONALD: I first came to Dubai I think in the ’94. I played the Dubai Amateur. I was 17 years old. It was somewhere around here, the Creek, I believe. It was a little bit different then. I don’t recall what looked like back then but it’s great to be back.
It’s great to be back, and you know, it’s always — you are always treated by perfect weather, perfect conditions, and it’s nice to play kind of a different event this week. You know, the sort of Pro-Am feeling, smaller amount of people on a new course where I think all of the players are quite excited to get going.
Q. And first time we’ve seen you since you were announced as the captain once again going into New York. How much are you looking forward to that challenge over the next two years, and will you start the preparations now, even this far away?
LUKE DONALD: Yeah, I mean, day one when I announced early December that I was going to do it again, I already had some thoughts in my head about how we can give the team the best opportunity to repeat in New York.
It’s going to be a very different challenge and it will take some different approaches because of that. But I’m excited. I’m excited because it is going to be a lot more difficult, a lot more difficult away from home.
But I’ve got plenty of time to kind of work some things out and start thinking about things. You know, I think I’m — yeah, I’m still optimistic that I can give the guys a good opportunity to try and win away, which is not easy to do.