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Real deal Donald silences critics

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Iain Carter | 15:59 UK time, Monday, 24 October 2011

It was tempting to think of it as a mere Mickey Mouse end-of-season tournament, but the Disney course in Lake Buena Vista staged the most important and impressive win of Luke Donald's career to date.

By storming through the field to claim the PGA Tour season-ending Children's Miracle Network Hospitals Classic, Donald emphatically answered the critics who regard him as a walking cash machine rather than an out and out winner.

There were no second chances with this event. The 33-year-old Englishman knew that nothing less than a top-two finish would allow him to become the first European to win America's money list.

Luke Donald

Luke Donald is presented with his winner's trophy after clinching Disney's Children's Miracle Network Classic title which helped him capture the US money title too. PHOTO: Getty

If he failed, the most successful season of his career would still have a frustrating asterisk to indicate another near miss. The mutterers would be off again: "Typical Donald, just fails to get the job done. Again." And one suspects the loudest of those voices would belong to the man himself.

Furthermore, with Webb Simpson - the player he had to overtake on the money list - playing alongside him and prominent on the leaderboard, Donald knew by the final round that in all likelihood only a win would do.

Yes, Donald has played against and beaten stronger competition this year, but this was as motivated a field as there is at a PGA Tour event because many were scrapping for their careers and the right to continue to play the most lucrative circuit in the game.

It wasn't so much the five shots Donald made up over the closing 10 holes at Disney as the fact that he produced nigh-on perfect golf to surge from a share of 10th place to claim his fourth win of the year.

"It was kind of do or die," the world number one commented afterwards. Producing that calibre of golf with six birdies in a row from the 10th, holing 84 feet worth of putts in the process, shows what the WGC Matchplay, PGA and Scottish Open champion can do when under the cosh.

"Having this much on the line, coming up and shooting 30 on the back nine on Sunday, finding shots when I needed to, really will mean a lot to me and the people I work with," Donald added.

In the process he blew away Simpson's bid to hang on to his lead on the money list. The American's game visibly buckled under the relentless pressure applied by Donald's brilliance.

Currently leading the European Tour's Race to Dubai by more than 1.3m euros from his closest rival Rory McIllroy (who has played four more counting events), Donald is now destined to become the first to top the earnings lists on both sides of the Atlantic.

This is an astonishing feat. Tiger Woods regularly achieved the same thing but without being a member of the European Tour. As a result he was not bound by the potentially debilitating rigours of satisfying the playing requirements of both circuits.

Since going to the top of the world rankings by winning a play-off against the then world number one Lee Westwood to claim the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth in May, Donald has remorselessly increased his lead in the standings.

This year he has accumulated just more than 500 ranking points, US Open champion McIlroy is the next most impressive with just more than 300.

In basic terms, the rankings are determined by the average of points gained over two years divided by the number of  tournaments played. The more events played, the higher the divisor and no one in the top 50 has played more than Donald's 54 counting tournaments.

Yet his points average of 10.75 is now 3.27 ahead of Westwood in second place. Putting the gap between first and second into context, Donald's advantage roughly equates to the lead Westwood has over the world number 17, Justin Rose.

Here we have statistical proof of just how dominant the Briton has become at beating more golfers more regularly than anyone else.

Donald's critics say he does not win often enough, but no player has won as many tournaments on the main tours in 2011. Many believe his peers in America will vote him Player of the Year and that if they don't it will be an injustice.

Respected American golf writer Steve Elling, of CBS Sports, put it this way: "If the American players don't vote for Donald when the ballots are mailed, the process is a complete sham and future honours should be decided by a panel of experts who are actually paying attention."

When the end of season gongs are handed out on this side of the Atlantic the choices will be somewhat harder given the major successes of European Tour players Charl Schwartzel (Masters), McIlroy (US Open) and Darren Clarke (Open).

Donald's sustained excellence bears comparison with those victories even though all were earned in great style but it is, of course, in the majors where the Englishman has yet to fulfill his potential.

Sir Nick Faldo tweeted his congratulations and stated that he believes Donald will break through at next year's Masters, where traditionally the tournament is won by the best putter.

There is no one better in that department at the moment and former Masters champion Zach Johnson was moved to apologise to former putting wizard Brad Faxon and tell his Twitter followers: "Ok. I think Luke Donald is the best putter I've ever seen. Sorry Fax. Love ya, but Luke is a #machine."

Undoubtedly the majors provide the world number one with his greatest ambition, they always have done. But from now on he will surely be better equipped than ever to handle the attendant pressures.

Surely at the Disney, we saw compelling evidence that in the majors, Donald's duck is soon to be broken.

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Comments

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  • Comment number 1.

    You have to go a long way to beat Woods as a putter in his pomp ! I fear Augusta will be too long for Donald, but I hope he can grab a major. Not taking anything away from Donald, but golf in the USA is a bit of a sterile affair. I think the problem stems from the money they earn, one victory and they are financially secure for life given the excemptions they receive. Where is the real hunger !

  • Comment number 2.

    Dream on Squire Carter ! Surely you should know that one swallow (in Donald's case- two off in a PGA career !) does'nt make a Summer ! How convenient that something bordering on a "division one "tournament offered the opportunity to snaffle the bucks he needed to get his nose in front of the money list. One cannot get away from a comparison with Monty - superb at topping the averages and winning loads of bucks but Majors ? .....lets leave that to the emerging young bucks and the familiar phenomenon of annual surprise packets.

  • Comment number 3.

    Well done Luuuuuuke. Not only a living example of the 'drive for show putt for dough' truth of life but it also says something profound about size and length.

  • Comment number 4.

    Without doubt the most consistently excellent golfer of the year......should that get him golfer of the year?....personally I'd go for McIlroy for the rollercoaster ride he gave us in the first 2 majors of the year. Bjorn and Clarke should be in with a shout this side of the pond.

    Still great result and effort from Luke but the History books are almost all about majors.

  • Comment number 5.

    Luke Donald has in 19 tournaments done what no European golfer has achieved. For the Major Monkeys out there ... think on this ... The accolade of No :1 in world golf is a massive moment (if you play u will get it!) . Donald is the best iron player, best out of a sand trap, and clearly has the head to win..., the same people saying he has not got the stuff to win a major don't have an issue with his "cauldron" abilitity in the Ryder Cup!!!. Stop arguing with a talent that is clearly accepted by those professionals chasing him.

  • Comment number 6.

    Fantastic performance by Luke. Congratulations on making me look silly as, though I am a fan, I didn't think he would do that well under this much pressure. The win is worth a 5 year exemption on the PGA Tour and I agree that this response to a challenge shows he can win a major, hopefully next year.

    I don't understand the comment on the PGA tour being sterile. The season is well scripted with majors, WGC events, playoffs, and the ending fall series keeping the drama going throughout the season. This year it was literally through to the end. The European Tour has some great peaks but also a lot of mediocre tournaments that lead to long lulls in its season.

    Having said all that, I would still vote for the performance of Suzann Pettersen in the Solheim Cup as being the most courageous of the year!

  • Comment number 7.

    Well done Luuuukkkkeeeee! There has been a lot of people on these Blogs over the last few weeks slating Luke Donald and calling him a choker and a bottler...well he certainly has shown these people what he can do and i'm glad i've been fighting his corner for a while now. A great player and champion. I reckon there will be a couple of Majors coming his way next year. He clearly has the metal to get the job done under pressure.
    One other thing i noticed during the Disney was the shocking amount of Belly Putters being used these days by the Pro's. Iain....what do you think about this? There is a lot of talk that they should be banned.

  • Comment number 8.

    @7 BiloMcT

    I see to recall you are forever calling Donald a choker. Shows how little you know, that's what I say. Undoubtedy player of the year, and a certainty to pick up minimum 2 majors next year.

    On another note, I'm going to be buying a belly putter this weekend. I think they are the future.

  • Comment number 9.

    powerhitter....i have never called Donald a choker. I have often said Lee Westwood is a bit of a choker but i've always backed Donald.

  • Comment number 10.

    powerhitter....i didnt say he should be Player of the Year either. I think that should be Rory McIlroy.

  • Comment number 11.

    Bilo

    You might want to re-read some of your old posts if you are denying calling Donald a choker. Let me quote:-

    Modest Donald fights back

    1:51pm on 30 Sep 2011
    "Luke Donald will never win a major. He is a pure Monty #2. Bottles under the biggest pressure. He is nearly as big a choker as Lee Westwood."

    He's only the US Player of the year (at the moment). McIlroy wasn't a member of the PGA Tour this year so presumably wouldn't have been eligable for the vote. If Donald goes on to win the R2D list too, then it would be hard to argue against him being player of the year here too. McIlroy is great on his day/week, but lacks the consistency of Donald (or Woods in him pomp).

  • Comment number 12.

    I was drunk when i wrote that. I apologised afterwards as it was a mistake. Much like Rory McIlroy always backtracking on comments he makes i have to say " i regret those comments ". I love Luke Donald and would never imply he is a choker.

    Why do people always feel the need to bring up Tiger Woods on every blog?! lets move on from Tiger, he is a spent force.

  • Comment number 13.

    Bilo- number one rul of holes- stop digging. So put the shovel down my friend. You, among others (and perhaps you have not been the worst culprit), have continually slated Donald for being a bottler while championing mediocre players (remember we have heard non stop about John Hawksworth- that was you) Bobby Rock, Kenneth Ferrie, Brian Davis- Bilo- you and your merry men have continued to big up these guys while hammering Donald and Westwood. Delighted for Luke, a great performance under severe pressure, to silence the critics. He may not have that major championship yet but he has proven over the course of this year, that he has been consistently been the best golfer in the world, in a sport where consistency has certainly not reigned supreme. Winning both money lists will be another significant achievement..............

  • Comment number 14.

    Amazing achievement Luuuuuuuuuke! To be that consistent week in week out is phenomenal. Everyone has been going on about Darren Clarke for BBC Sports Personality of the year after his Open victory but I would put Luke ahead of him now for that. Clarke may have won 'our' in fairytale style and with his 'back story' obviously puts him firmly in our hearts, including mine, but he has done nothing since July and has freely admitted he is finding it hard to be motivated since, whereas Luke has done something arguably a lot harder and never been achieved before - top player on both tours.

  • Comment number 15.

    there is no doubt that his all round game has improved over the last 18 months, form would suggest that he is starting to peak as a golfer, his age (33) would suggest that this may be the case. I think those that call Donald a bottler are extremely ill informed- remember that he has not been at the real top end of the game for that long and his progress was severely hampered by long term injury a few years back. In five years time I fully expect Donald to have 1 or 2 majors under his belt.

  • Comment number 16.

    jollyjohnny- fully agree with that- i think when these awards are being handed out that head should rule over heart. One victory should not merit a Sports Personality of the Year Award

  • Comment number 17.

    Well Done Luke. A very personable champion and an all round nice guy.
    I think he'll win the Masters next year & The PGA.
    There are many who think that Augusta is too long for Luke, but he seems to have learnt that layup golf is as important as long hitting, perhaps more so. You don't always have to hit the green in two on the Par 5s to get a good score when you can putt as well as he can.
    I don't think he will ever win The Open though. Links golf doesn't appear to suit his style of play based on his previous performances.

    He fully deserves his No.1 status and I have no doubt he will be voted the Best Player of the Year.

  • Comment number 18.

    April is a long way away, who knows if he'll be playing well then. Golf is a funny game, were form can drop away alarmingly, very quickly.

    Look at Poulter, Casey, Westwood, McDowell, all have had poor seasons, by their high standards.

    There is no doubt he is the best golfer in the world at the minute, it is phenomanal golf, doesn't mean he'll win a major though - he's had plenty of chances but failed at the last hurdle, perhaps its the pressure and extra attention and anticipation.

    Lets wait until April before we start talking about majors, and lets see who's in form then.

  • Comment number 19.

    Well done to Luke, derserves everything he's getting at the moment.

  • Comment number 20.

    16.At 10:03 25th Oct 2011, jeffkenna wrote:
    jollyjohnny- fully agree with that- i think when these awards are being handed out that head should rule over heart. One victory should not merit a Sports Personality of the Year Award

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Completely agree, imagine if Darren Clarke won it for 4 rounds of decent golf in an entire year. It would be nearly as bad as a posjh princess prancing round on a horse winning it!! But on the other hand Donald also shouldn't win it as you have to win the big tournaments to be in with a shout in my opinion. Similar to Murray, he can get as high as he wants in rankings but without a major he can't win the prize. Has to be Cav for me.

    Well done to Donald!! But for average Joe Public, if Donald wants to be remembered the major cloud will always be over his head. It is most definitely true no-one remembers who was Number 1 unless you win majors!!

  • Comment number 21.

    I think the clue in sports personality is the personality - it isn't necessary about achievement, hence why it took McCoy so long to win it, Phil Taylor has never won it, Ben Ainsilie has never won it, plus many, many more examples.

    You don't get to see Luke Donalds personality, he could be the greatest person in the world but as you don't see it, and most golf is covered on sky, the British masses won't know much about him- unfortunately for him.

  • Comment number 22.

    #2. Premier League or Division One tournament, it makes no difference. You still have to knock in the birdies, you still have to scramble sometimes. You're playing the course first, your own temperament second (ask McIlroy about Augusta), and the opposition third. To wake up on the last day knowing you have to win it to achieve that season-long goal, then to come to the ninth six shots off the lead and also trailing your main rival, but still do the business. That takes guts as well as skill. That was no fluke from Luke.
    Whether he ever wins a major or not, he's still re-writing golf history this year.

  • Comment number 23.

    Guys lets get a grip here, Fair play Donald as been the most consistent all year and as finished more than likely top of the US and Euro money charts because of this consistency, but lets be real here, top of the money list?? Big wowwwww, only thing good there is that Donald is making a nice nest egg for himself by being consistent all year round. Do people remember Woods, Palmer, Nicklaus, Mickleson, Watson, Faldo etc etc for being top of the money lists??... NO! Golf is only remembered for the big tournaments you win and Donald as consistently choked at majors, he finished 4th at the Masters and 8th at the USPGA this year is best ever, and 94th at the Open and 45th at the US Open. Donald's won 2 US events this year and 3 Euro, in standard tournaments, fair play he's consistent but golf is about Majors not money lists!!

  • Comment number 24.

    A great year for Luke and certainly a front runner for the player of the year, simply because of his consistency. Like many I believe his best chance of a major is at the masters, which leaves him very little room for error in his quest for a major. Can he do it? I believe he is going to find it extremely hard to win one let alone two in the next five years.

  • Comment number 25.

    As much as I like Luke and think he's a great player, I cant see him winning a major in his career. He doesn't seem to have many of the "wow" moments as someone like Rory. He's too steady in my view. Having said that, I bet he'll go out and win one next season : S

  • Comment number 26.

    mickysausage...i fully agree, until he gets the major monkey of his back he wont go down in History as a great player.
    jeffkenna....i think you'll find it was you and mickyweir constantly saying Donald is a bottler. How wrong you've been proven now. Once he wins a major you'll be eating your words again.

  • Comment number 27.

    well done luke, fantastic achievment, world number 1 and leading player on both tours, doesn't get much better than that.
    If a team finishes top of the league at the end of a season they are considered the best, but for some reason in golf a one week wonder (major winner) seems to be held in more esteem.

    That said, 54 tornaments in a two year period all over the world is a lot of golf, maybe time to enjoy a bit of an easier schedule Luke, and cherry pick your events now you are the top dog.

  • Comment number 28.

    Iain,
    Great win by St.Luke.
    As for the 54 tournaments, you will of course know that that is the maximum divisor under modified owgr rules. Others (maybe even Donald) have played more than 54, it's just the last 54 that count for owgr purposes.
    Disagree of course with your "best putter" wins the Masters assertion. Equally, Luke Donald's game is ideally suited for Augusta provided he drives it as straight as he did on Disney's back nine. Let's hope he proves it.

  • Comment number 29.

    All credit to Luke. The statistic that staggers me is the streak that ended at Disney. Luke Donald went 483 holes on the PGA Tour without a 3 putt! I can't even get my head round that. Bearing in mind the courses that streak included and the type of greens that they play on. Interesting that the next best streak this season was 275 by Martin Laird!

  • Comment number 30.

    Bilomct- I will draw your attention to just some of the things you have written in the last few blogs:

    14.At 14:22 17th Oct 2011, BiloMcT wrote:
    @11 - i fully agree about Lee Westwood...and Luke Donald for that matter. Two massive chockers and bottlers. I hope young Tom wins a few majors and doesnt follow these two down the path of constant choking under pressure.

    28.At 15:24 17th Oct 2011, BiloMcT wrote:
    Lee Westwood would choke on a Baked Bean. How badly did he choke at the Dunhill recently?! And so did Luke Donald.

    60.At 14:19 30th Sep 2011, BiloMcT wrote:
    bish, Donald and Westwood both flatter to decieve. When proper good players could be bothered and have a good week they cant live with them. They are massive bottlers and chokers!

    57.At 13:59 30th Sep 2011, BiloMcT wrote:
    @ 55
    He is a bottler. If he cant win a Major as #1 he doesnt deserve the ranking. He has to stop choking at the highest level.

    Need i go on?

  • Comment number 31.

    I stand by those comments. Donald needs a major before he can be seen as a great player. Dont forget Jeffkenna....you have been one of the worst on here for calling players chokers and bottlers. Me and Sumo82 had to tell you off recently for constantly shooting down top Pro's

  • Comment number 32.

    Luke is the kind of golfer that we can all and parparticularly young golfers can aspire to be like. He doesn't bomb it over 300 yards but with superb controlled iron play and a fabulous short game wears down courses always in a modest and gentlemanly manner. No 1 justified

  • Comment number 33.

    Bilomct- The "top pros" as you refer to that I have shot down are the journeymen who you continuously hail- namely Bob Rock, Ken Ferrie, Brian D, John Hawksworthless. I simply cannot, will not and have not tolerated these guys being championed over truly top class players like Donald and Westwood.

  • Comment number 34.

    @Jeffkenna you are correct, BiloMct needs to stop jumping on the bandwaggon whenever a golfer wins or does well, you have constantly ridiculed Westwood and have also done the same with Donald see your comments below!!

    •Don #24
    BiloMct wrote:
    you need to behave yourself.

    the truth is the best English Golfer we have and can put our hopes on is Brian Davis. Best ball striker on the tour - FACT.

    The world rankings are a joke. Number 1 & 2 in the world without a major between them is a disgrace. Westwood and Donald just dont have the stones to win one.


    •324.
    At 12:36 6th Sep 2011, BiloMcT wrote:

    Luke Donald is a huge bottler in the same league as bottlers from the past like Ian Baker Finch and Doug Saunders. Although respect to Doug " Peacock of the Fairways " Saunders. he was cool. Not Luke Donald though. He is uncool and a choker. And a huge bottler under pressure. have i mentioned he is a bottler?

  • Comment number 35.

    I think Donald needs to win a major or otherwise he will just be known as a good tourer.

  • Comment number 36.

    Luke Donald could do with winning a major to silence some people who doubt him still. Personally i understand the doubt because he does need to win a major or 2/3/4 before we can speak of him being world class. He is consistent but not in the same league as a McIlroy who oozes class when on form.

  • Comment number 37.

    Your exactly right @Golfnut99, you will never be remembered in the golfing world unless you are a multiple major winner, and Luke all though he as been Number one needs to win majors!

    Whoever it was who mentioned the Premier League before yes you win the league your the best team in England, but dont you have to win the Champions League to be called the best team? So your comment is irelevent! Are Man United best team in the world because the won the Premier League?

  • Comment number 38.

    Indeed micky- there can bo no doubting that he is a top class player- as was Monty but never captured a major- he does need a major to be remembered, these tournaments are the main reason these guys play the game. As I alluded to earlier, Donald is clearly improving all round over the last year or so, his long term injuries a few years ago held his pregression back, I think it's fair to say that he has not spent a great deal of time at the upper echelons of the game, he is only 33, with the style of golf he plays, doesn't rely on youthful exuberance and power, moreso thought out strategy and execution, I think he is perhaps only coming towards the peak of his career at this time...................

  • Comment number 39.

    ...................For many years before Harrington (we all know your thoughts on him but hear my point) captured his 3 majors he picked up top tens, 2nd places, high earnings on the money list but was always questioned for his inability to capture the big one, look at what happened then. This year should give great confidence to Donald to push on now for majors (perhaos he needs to play less golf and concentrate his schedule on them). I do think Luke will win a couple of majors in his career.

  • Comment number 40.

    size and length isn't everything...what a relief!
    luke was amazing on that back 9. his putting is amazing. it's an immense achievement to win both tours but him and westy will have to win majors and soon or else they are destined for montgomerieville...

  • Comment number 41.

    Interesting and not totally unrelated stat - if Tiger had been a member of the European Tour (sorry for bringing Tiger up) - Monty would only have won three order of merits and not 8 - that knocked me back when I heard that - increadible stat. Luke deserves to be No1 - his performance on Sunday was remarkable - both money lists is an amazing achievement BUT he has to be a major winner for true recognition - that's no revelation, he'll understand that better than anyone (as will Westy).

  • Comment number 42.

    Donald reminds me of the great Alexander Walter Barr Lyle MBE, or Sandy Lyle in other words, steady golfer with a good putting game, if Luke can only match Sandy's achievements then i will class him as a great.

  • Comment number 43.

    @Tony Tiger Woods won countless US & European mony lists but he was never counted on the European one because he wasnt a member of the tour, which is why i am so frustrated at people saying that Donald as done the impossible, he still needs to prove himself further to me.

  • Comment number 44.

    @mickysausage - totally agree, it was the effect it would have on Monty's legacy that shocked me not the Tiger bit. I wonder if Tiger ever brought it up in conversation. Sorry to veer off message but repetition in the blog is geting boring. To summarise - Luke Donald, fabulous player, great putter, nice bloke, wonderful achievement, needs to win a major.

  • Comment number 45.

    BiloMcT, you contradict yourself and need to stand by your opinions. You wrote:-

    9-BiloMcT wrote:
    powerhitter....i have never called Donald a choker. I have often said Lee Westwood is a bit of a choker but i've always backed Donald.

    31.At 11:31 25th Oct 2011, BiloMcT wrote:
    I stand by those comments. Donald needs a major before he can be seen as a great player. Dont forget Jeffkenna....you have been one of the worst on here for calling players chokers and bottlers. Me and Sumo82 had to tell you off recently for constantly shooting down top Pro's

    Either call Donald a bottler or don't but don't alter your opinion when someone challenges you. It is all about opinions and you are entitled to yours. However, you claim one thing and then revert to type.

    For the record, I think Donald is a top player and the best England has. He does not have the flair of the McIlroy's of this world but that does not mean he is an inferior player. You have to earn World No.1 so he clearly has and deserves it.

  • Comment number 46.

    Well done Luke Donald.
    Talking of awards, how about BBC Sports Personality of the Year?
    Has another Britain, in any other sports discipline, achieved so much?

  • Comment number 47.

    tony and mickysausage- re: Tiger and the European Mony lists he would have had- I wonder if he was even aware / cared about these? We all know Tiger's focus is purely on Majors in terms of his scheduling and preparation. Perhaps Luke Donald should take a leaf out of this book, he could be more selective about the events he plays (although give credit where credit is due he fulfils his obligations as a professional and ambassador for both tours), if he focused his schedule and prep more on peaking for major weeks this may bring him major success

  • Comment number 48.

    Poetic - how about Marc Cavendish ?

  • Comment number 49.

    Tiger uses tour tournaments as warm ups for the majors and if he wins he wins and your right JeffKenna maybe now its really time for Luke to concentrate on the big prizes!

  • Comment number 50.

    jeffkenna - very fair point about TW - all about the Majors

  • Comment number 51.

    Okay here is my opinion. Luke Donald needs to win a major or forever be remembered as Monty #2. His record in Majors isnt good. I dont think he can handle the pressure.
    I think Luke Donald would trade all his achievements to be thought of in the same light as true great ball strikers like Brian Davis or Robert Rock.

  • Comment number 52.

    I hope John Hawksworth has something to say on the matter soon cause he always offers the most honest and accurate assessment of Golf. Ill keep you all posted on it.
    Also can we hear from mickyweir and Don247 please?

  • Comment number 53.

    @45 Booftothemax...i have never contradicted myself on any blog. Thats a terrible accusation to lay on me.

  • Comment number 54.

    I don't think anyone would be surprised if Donald did win a major next year (a lot of people are expecting it) but i really can't see Westwood ever winning a major, i know its a bit bold to say 'ever' but i really can't see Westwood doing it, on the other hand i think Donald will at some point in his career.

  • Comment number 55.

    @Booftothemax your exactly right about BiloMct he never sticks to his opinions and seems to change his comments from one blog to the next, Bilo i think you need to follow in your great mate John Hawksworths footsteps and retire

  • Comment number 56.

    As an Ulsterman I have immense pride in our golfers this last 18 months - McDowell, McIlroy, Clarke, Hoey have all excelled at this wonderful game. Three major winners and some other great tournament victories too. However, what Luke Donald has achieved surpasses all that. He is No. 1 in the world, No. 1 on the USPGA money list, No.1 on the R2D and won 4 times globally this year - including a WGC event. Do not forget that the WGC is pulled from ALL the TOP ranked players so that is no mean achievement.
    Please stop knocking LD, majors may come, they may not but it doesn't stop him being the best in the world all year. The FA Cup is about glamour but the premiership is about strength, character, consistency and determination for a season. Luke has won 2 of these at the one go.
    Well done Luke Donald - World Number 1!

  • Comment number 57.

    Luke Donald has proved that he is the best. Winning a Major means you were the best in one of 4 weeks in that year. Winning the money list means you are the most consistent. Winning 4 times world wide, beating your nearest rival for the No 1 slot in a head to head, then beating your nearest rival for the money list in a head to head means you are the best golfer on the planet.

    So stop knocking him and trying to compare him with Tiger in his pomp. Right now Luke is better than Tiger, as are many others on either tour at the moment. You can only beat the players you play against, not against people as they used to be. At this moment in time, Luke Donald is the best golfer on the planet, bar none.

  • Comment number 58.

    Thats terrible disrespect about Hawksworth mickysausage. you know how i feel about that. i dont disrespect you when you constantly back Kenneth 'pure journeyman' Ferrie. He's a joke of a player but i still respect your opinion. Your just a big bully on here mickysausage. I used to respect you 10/10 but now it is 6/10.
    Sumo82, you usually support me but you seem to have joined mickysausage in the dark side. Once again it looks like BiloMcT ( with his honest opinions ) v's Bloggers who just want to bully people.

  • Comment number 59.

    Slightly off topic I know, but isn't it about time the good old US of A relinquished one of the Majors? To stage three of the four when the game is now truly global has become farcical, and appears to me to be allowed to continue only because so many members of the PGA Tour do not possess a passport.

    Time for a change, methinks.

  • Comment number 60.

    @BiloMcT! LOL Buddy!

  • Comment number 61.

    i'm totally lost on this Donald is a choke player joke! must be driving Donald crazy answering questions about majors when he's clearly the world #1!

  • Comment number 62.

    Having just played Royal LYtham, I think Donald will have the ideal game to navigate the 206 bunkers. Royal Lytham is not the longest test so driving acuracy and putting will be top of the list of skills for that week. Worth a flutter on current form!

  • Comment number 63.

    @38 jeffkenna wrote:
    Indeed micky- there can bo no doubting that he is a top class player- as was Monty but never captured a major- he does need a major to be remembered


    Sorry Jeffkenna, while you are often the voice of reason, I hate to have to tell you that you have this one wrong. How can you say that Monty won't be remembered? His Order of Merits and Ryder Cup record will ensure that he is. Can you say that people like Ben Cutis, Todd Hamilton, Zach Johnston etc will be remembered for longer than Monty?

  • Comment number 64.

    Trevthetrainer - As your a proud Ulsterman, can you explain why once one of your countrymen win a major, they disappear off the face off the earth?

  • Comment number 65.

    No. 2 Jim Pilk, how can you possibly compare Donald to Monty, Donald is clearly a superior player to Monty. True, hehas yet to win a major, but he is about to win the money lists in both US and Europe. Monty blew Europe away year after year, but Never cracked the US.

    And how people question the man's temperament when he entered the tournament knowing he had to win, and he did just that with an amazing back nine. I have no doubt that he will win a major, and then hopefully all his current critics can eat humble pie.

    Give the man the credit he deserves and let him enjoy the success without being criticised for not winning a major.

  • Comment number 66.

    Golfnut99....want to be my BFF? I used to be BFF with Sumo82 but looks like he's in bed with mickysausage now.
    @62 Andrew Hirst....eh worth a flutter? i thought the Open was still 9 months away! And even if Luke does do well i'm sure he'll choke again under the pressure of a major. Just like Lee Westwood always does.

  • Comment number 67.

    #57 "Luke Donald has proved that he is the best. Winning a Major means you were the best in one of 4 weeks in that year"

    Or winning a major suggests a player honed his game to peak at the right time.
    LD may be the most consistent (tedious) golfer of the year, well done to him for that but he hasn't won a major.
    It's alll about majors, every scholar of the game knows it, my last memory of LD in a major was him choking the USPGA, when apparently the best golfer contending on the final day.
    In my view he's a long way off winning anything that anyone will remember (or care about) in twenty years time.

  • Comment number 68.

    @67 MHH...here here, well said. My offer of a new BFF is out there still. want it?

  • Comment number 69.

    All this talk of chokers is just silly. People were too brain-washed by Woods being unflappable and clinical and seemingly feeling no pressure, but in reality there's nobody else in the current game who has those qualities. I can't think of one top player that hasn't been in the mix in a major at some time or other and come up short.

  • Comment number 70.

    MHH, you lack of knowledge is astonishing. So by your standards Keegan Bradley, Ben Curtis and Larry Mize are the real deal?

  • Comment number 71.

    Fantastic ahievement by Luke, this is not just about nerve, golfing ability and consistency this is also about passion, energy, fitness, determination and enthusiasm. To play in so many tournaments and to maintain that standard throughout is excellent.

    Q&A's:

    Does he deserve to be named golfer of the year?
    Yes.

    Is he a "choker"?
    Absolute and utter rubbish; a phrase which is bandied around all too often nowadays. Luke just needs to put himself in a better position going into the final rounds of the Majors, more often. Failing to do so is not about choking, it is about the previous 3 rounds of golf to get himself into teh right position and holding it together for another 1, whereas a "choke" suggests an out of character performance; failure brought about by pressure and one's inabiity to cope under sich pressure at a point towards the conclusion of a match or tournament. Depends on your interpreation I suppose.

    Does he deserve the World Number 1 spot?
    Yes.

    Will he win a Major in the next 2 or 3 years?
    Yes but he needs to strike whilst the iron's hot and before his form dips.

    Are persistent references to Tiger Woods in most golfing articles slightly irritating but nonethless inevitable because he has set the standard for the last decade?
    Yes.

  • Comment number 72.

    BiloMcT
    Thanks for the offer, I will respectfully decline all the same.
    I'd only hold you back and we'd constantly argue about John Hawksworth, I had the (mis)fortune to watch him play on a few occasions.

  • Comment number 73.

    71 Swooping Bald Eagles

    You talk a lot of sense. You also have a great name. There's s few on here who could learn from the like of us.

  • Comment number 74.

    Sorry BiloMcT ... I'm stilling serving out my self-imposed ban as a result of getting a red card from the Administrator (for expressing my honest opinion about your honest opinions! Just ask sumo82 what I said!!)

    You will be getting no further comment from me, I'm afraid!!!

  • Comment number 75.

    #70 powerhitter
    ""MHH, you lack of knowledge is astonishing. So by your standards Keegan Bradley, Ben Curtis and Larry Mize are the real deal?""

    I'd put my knowledge of the game above yours any day.
    Convenient choice of three players in the last 24 years, I wonder why?
    You have missed my point entirely.
    There are always going to be majors won luckily, or given away by others, but in the main they are won by better players than LD. Players who have enough control of their game to peak at the right times and hold their nerve when it matters.

  • Comment number 76.

    Well done Luke Donald. A fantastic achievement and a good basis to push on from and bag a major next year.

  • Comment number 77.

    come on Don247! If ever a blog needed you this is it!!!!
    MHH...your like me...a lone wolf! i like you. do you like me?

  • Comment number 78.

    @75, I seriously doubt that you knowledge is greater, but as we're not going to have any way of proving this it's a pointless argument.

    I only chose 3, but look down the major winners list for the past 10, 15, 20 years and you'll see that the list is FULL of "lucky" winners. How about, Paul Lawrie, Mark Brooks, Shaun Micheel, Rich Beem, Mike Weir. The list goes on. None of these players are better than Donald and none of them were better than Monty. Fact.

  • Comment number 79.

    What is going on? I thought this was meant to be a blog about Luke Donald, not who said what and who's right.

  • Comment number 80.

    Have i logged onto a dating website by accident?

  • Comment number 81.

    Bilo be trolling again

  • Comment number 82.

    #78
    So that's 8 out of 96 if we start with Mize in 1987, not even 8%.
    Keep trying, you can use Google if that helps.

  • Comment number 83.

    @Swooping Bald Eagles
    My answers to your comments:
    Q&A's: Below…………………..

    Does he deserve to be named golfer of the year?
    Maybe on a consistency level and wins, but if we are talking about the true tradition of golf and thats majors, no and golfer of year should go to Mcilroy or Bradley in my eyes.

    Is he a "choker"?
    Maybe not a choker but Donald is certainly a Bottler when it comes to the big tournaments, this weekend was the first time i have seen him a show a bit of grit and bottle and power through, he needs that bottle in the majors.

    CONT BELOW.............

  • Comment number 84.

    Does he deserve the World Number 1 spot?
    Yes. He as obviously acumalated more points throughout the season due to consistent finishes.

    Will he win a Major in the next 2 or 3 years?
    No but he will continue to win mediocre tournaments and some decent pre major events, i dont think he as the nerve when its the big prize in front of him, but dont get me wrong if he wins one i think more will follow.

    Nobody will achieve Tigers heights not in our time anyway, Tiger was a one off magician!

  • Comment number 85.

    MHH, I see your arithmetic is as good as your golf knowledge.

    Why don't you use google, and exclde the majors won by a few top players eg Faldo, Woods and Mickelson etc (there's not too many in that category) and then see in terms of numbers how many players there were better in their day than Donald or Monty. My guess is that the number is under 15, which would make Donald better than 85% of them.

    My point is that it's not ALL about majors as many of the people on that list were not top players. Majors clearly cement your place as a great, but you need a great career on top of that. You comment about LD choking on the last day of the USPGA was nonsense - he was never really in the mix.

  • Comment number 86.

    #85 Why don't you use google, and exclde the majors won by a few top players eg Faldo, Woods and Mickelson etc (there's not too many in that category)

    Singh
    Stewart
    Price
    Norman
    Olazabal
    Ballesteros
    Langer
    Els

    off the top of my head, all MULTIPLE major winners in recent memory, all won more than LD and all better players than LD in their prime and yet some have never topped the US Money List.
    I wager many will be remembered long after LD if he doesn't make a Major breakthrough.

  • Comment number 87.

    Well done to luke donald, its an achievement in its own right to win the money list across the water and doubling up with our tour as well cant be bad for his confidence. The fact still remains though that the majors are vital in a golfers career and if they want to be remembered as a true great/champion. No one, and i mean no one on here can deny that he has the game to win multiple majors, but has he got the head or the desire?? Players who strive to be the best have it in there hearts and want it more than any other man on that course, I sometimes get the impression that luke is contented with what he has achieved in golf and the same goes for lee westwood. Someone on here mentioned his preparation could be better for the big ones if he played less minor tournaments, in tennis this does no harm to the best players, Roger federer, Serena Williams etc... Continued below.....

  • Comment number 88.

    Continued.....I think this is a good idea and the fact that he is world number 1 will give him a great oppurtunity to pick his tournaments and prepare properly for the majors. I love to watch luke play and his talent as said is undeniable and with a bit of fire in his belly and more hunger in his mindset, a major championship wont be too far away. Ive always said all sport is won between the ears, phsichal ability and flare is one thing but the mental stuff sourts the men from the boys. A massive Well Done to Luke Donald a cracking achievement..... and believe me people, if he wants it bad enough hell win one you mark my words.

  • Comment number 89.

    @86 - I fully agree with your list and there may also be some others too. My point wasn't that there's never been better players than Donald - clearly there have been. My point is that it's not ALL about majors (which was your point at #67). The list of major winners shows that it's all about the career, which is why people like Monty (and Donald too, once all is said and done) will be remembered far longer than some of those that have won a major and not much else.

  • Comment number 90.

    powerhitter - I agree with you in what your saying that a player should not be judged purely on his performance in the majors, however as you can tell by the opinion on this blog and almost every sport tabloid, they are.

  • Comment number 91.

    #89
    Call me old fashioned but to me it is ALL about majors.
    They are the Olympic gold medal (probably not a good example given that golf is now an Olympic sport) , Football World Cup etc etc of golf.
    To be remembered as a "great" of the game you need one on your CV admitedly alongside all the other titles, money etc that Donald is working towards.
    Monty is a good example, he won plenty, topped the money list, was a Ryder Cup legend and a fine player but NEVER made world no.1 due to his inability to win a Major.
    That to me is how it should be, and that is what Donald will be unless he can bag a Major..

  • Comment number 92.

    Everybody stop!!! If golf was all about the majors, no other event would be attended, sponsored or televised. There would be no need for phrases like 'Ryder Cup legend' or 'Solheim Cup stalwart' and there would be no stats or rankings.
    Who cares who is world number one? Or the best putter? Or longest driver? ABSOLUTELY LOADS OF PEOPLE!
    I bet the same peolpe slagging off Donald for underacheiving are happy to tell their mates down the pub (or on internet dating sites) that Alvaro Quiros hits the ball miles!

    @MHH - check your pc works properly... I've just counted 24 golfers, who haven't already been mentioned (Micheel, Lawrie, Beem etc) to win a single major in last 30 years, without ever being world number 1. Some were barely heard of at the top of a leaderboard again. None can hold a candle to the acheivements of Monty, Westwood or Donald.
    @BiloMcT - you must be BBC staff member stirring the pot. Nobody else is this idiotic.

    FYI - Don't think 'Sports Personality of the Year' has been about personality for a while - or Freddie would have has 5 in a row! (Flintoff not Couples)
    Sure Zara Phillips was only Briton to be simultaneously European and World Champion when crowned SPotY. And she was dating Mike Tindall - deserved an award in itself.

    This thread has moved way off where it started - Luke Donald is class, has acheived something we may never see again and will have a massive impact on golf for the next few years.
    The game needs swashbuckling heroes like McIlroy, Ballesteros, Daly etc but they all need a goal outside of majors. They turn up for events week-in, week-out all over the world hoping to beat Donald and Westwood, becasue they are ranked at the top of their game!
    Ask the pros if they would rather be in Luke Donald's shoes and 99% would say yes. That means he's in the top 1% of his profession. That is a class act as far as I'm concerned.

    (I'm not mentioning TW... but if I did, it would be to say that he was able to peak for majors much easier because he didn't trouble himself with flying all over the world/ changing time zones/ etc. mainly down to having $100m guaranteed in endorsements from the age of 22-23. Nice position to be in.
    If he did one bad thing in golf, it was to allow the uneducated to think that every future golfer has to be the next Tiger or be considered a failure. But I'm not mentioning that.)

  • Comment number 93.

    ps. Cavendish for Sports Personality.

  • Comment number 94.

    @powerhitter agree with a lot of what you're saying. But don't categorise my man Mike Weir as a "lucky" winner of a major. He previously won a WGC event and a Tour Championship, he also won 2 tournaments that year before he got to Augusta. He reached a career high of world number 3. He wasn't lucky at all winning the Masters, he was 1 of the favourites going into the Augusta. Not to mention the way he won it. Far from lucky. Anyway glad i cleared that up.

    As for Luke, he's been unbelievable this year. He can totally justify his world number 1 status. 4 wins worldwide. Top of both money lists. Obviously he needs to win a major or two to shut the people up who constantly harp on about how nothing else matters outside of the majors.

    Personally I believe he's got at least 10 years of great golf left in him. Thats 40+ majors. I'm 95% certain he will have his name on 1 or 2 of those if not more.

  • Comment number 95.

    @ MHH - poor analogy.
    George Best never played in a World Cup. Regarded as one of top 5 players ever. Why? Countless goals in 'meaningless games' against lower level opposition which won Utd a title or cup. DONE!

  • Comment number 96.

    @Powerhitter what are talking about!! There are far better past players than Donald who have all been big tournament winners and major winners
    Rory McIlroy
    Pádraig Harrington
    Ángel Cabrera
    Phil Mickelson
    Retief Goosen
    Vijay Singh
    Mark O'Meara
    Tiger Woods
    Ernie Els
    José María Olazábal
    Lee Janzen
    Nick Price
    Fred Couples
    John Daly
    Payne Stewart
    Curtis Strange
    Nick Faldo
    Greg Norman
    Bernhard Langer
    Sandy Lyle

    I take these are all nobodys of the last 25 years???

  • Comment number 97.

    We are in danger of violent agreement here. I agree that you need (probably several) majors to be considered a "great" of the game, but you also need to have backed that up with other success, hence why people like Andy North or Lee Janzen (multiple major winners) are not in that category.

    Golf's going through a bit of a transition at the moment and the majors are being spread around given the lack of a dominant player. Next couple of years will be Donalds big chance.

  • Comment number 98.

    #92
    Drivethetenth.
    Having worked on the ET I'm fully aware of what the lesser tournaments mean to the players, tour, sponsorship etc.
    It's the elevation of Donald to some kind of "great" by the media and some on here that irks me. He's got a way to go yet.
    He is a fantastic player, has acheived a new goal this season and has undoubtedly lot more than most ever will but has yet to beat the best at the best tournaments.
    In my view he is the most consistent golfer in the world but certainly not the best.

  • Comment number 99.

    mickeysausage - where did I say the kind of players you mention are nobodys? (although I do disagree with Lee Janzen and probably Cabrera on that list, 2 majors or not). I think you must have misread my posts. I'm talking about all the other major winners over the years who are not "golfing greats". There's plenty of them out there - take a look.

  • Comment number 100.

    #95
    I think that that was more to do with the other 10 players for NI not being good enough, if you don't understand what I was driving at I pity you it wasn't meant literally.
    If I took your comment literally I'd imagine you are suggesting that Donald is
    one of the top five golfers ever. I wouldn't do that because that would just be plain stupid.

 

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