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Donald hopes Wentworth win can lead to major glory

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Iain Carter | 14:17 UK time, Monday, 28 May 2012

Heading into the final competitive showdown before the US Open, the world's leading two players have yet again swapped positions in an absorbing game of golfing snakes and ladders.

Rory McIlroy's two-day encounter with a metaphoric Wentworth viper saw him miss the cut, while Luke Donald ascended his ladder with the ease of the most accomplished window cleaner.

Now this week's world number one is justifiably wondering whether he is climbing a stairway to golfing heaven and the paradise of becoming a major champion.

But winning the BMW PGA Championship offers no guarantee of landing one of the big four global titles - just ask the last man before Donald to successfully defend the West Course title.

Luke Donald

Luke Donald hopes his win at Wentworth will propel him to a major victory. Photo: Getty

Colin Montgomerie won three in a row from 1998 but could never get the job done at a Masters, US Open, Open or PGA.

Donald, 34, is determined not to suffer such a fate and surely won't if he can successfully manage his insatiable desire to land a major.

"I am learning that I get more uptight at majors," Donald admitted last week. "I want to win so badly that sometimes that gets in the way."

A glance at the way the Englishman starts these championships confirms the point. He has not broken 70 in a major first round since he opened the 2006 PGA Championship with a 68.

Donald has invariably found himself playing catch-up and, despite his notable ability to go low in final rounds, can only boast six top-10 major finishes.

"I wanted to win this badly," Donald agreed after I suggested there was a major-like pressure during his successful title defence at Wentworth. "There was the chance to go back to number one and this is a course I have excelled at in recent years.

"There was a lot of pressure out there but I came through it with flying colours."

Donald is convinced this will stand him in great stead. He also acknowledges that managing his overwhelming desire to land a major is now his biggest challenge.

"I really think it is," he admitted. "Obviously I've proved technically and physically that I have got the game to win big tournaments and to hit the right shots under pressure when I need to.

"Mentally I'm getting close, I think, with the majors. This was a big week for me. I might have looked calm but there were a lot of nerves jangling around.

"This was a big week in terms of taking another step towards managing those feelings when you get under pressure."

Sports performance expert Dave Alred, who has worked with Donald since the beginning of 2010, will surely be concentrating his efforts on making sure his employer capitalises fully on this most impressive win.

Donald was ranked 32 in the world when they started working together and, in regular Tour events, the golfer has assumed a dominating demeanour in common with being the leading money winner on both sides of the Atlantic.

"The process is essentially one of repeatedly getting into an 'ugly zone', a place where you feel uncomfortable," Alred recently told Golf World magazine. "Then nibble away at that discomfort to create a competence.

"When you've got into that ugly area and been successful, it's a question of making sure the player takes that success to heart. Because what they have achieved is a fact.

"It bolsters belief, gives assurance and creates realistic expectation."

Donald's "ugly zone" is his mental state heading to his Thursday tee-off at a major. If he and Alred can find a way to deal with this issue, then contending next month at Olympic Club must be a realistic expectation for the world number one.

But what of the man he has deposed at the top of the rankings? McIlroy's rounds of 74 and 79 last Thursday and Friday were a horror show that led to a second successive missed cut.

When your schedule is as sparse as that chosen by the Northern Ireland youngster, you have to make sure you play all four rounds.

This week's trip to the Memorial Tournament in Ohio has become very important.

He has entered the Memphis tournament in the week between Memorial and his US Open defence. This is a clear sign of concern that McIlroy has not played enough competitive golf in recent times.

McIlroy's admission that his practice of late has not been as intense as it should have been was refreshingly honest and typical of a player who quickly learns from his mistakes.

Much is made of his celebrity lifestyle - and his Sunday visit to girlfriend Caroline Wozniacki in Paris en route to Ohio may raise a few eyebrows.

But perspective is needed here. If his girlfriend was Carloline Woznotsofamous, no-one would notice a visit to his beloved before heading off on a three-week trip to the other side of the world.

It was a perfectly natural thing to do and I suspect we will see a far more focused McIlroy when he arrives at Jack Nicklaus's tournament. Last year he finished fifth and his closing 68 proved the launch pad for his spectacular US Open triumph at Congressional.

This year he has a win, three runner-up finishes, a third and fifth from nine tournaments. He is still one of the form players of 2012 and McIlroy deserves to be counted as one of the US Open favourites.

Having a major already to his name, he is in a more elevated bracket than multiple winners this year like Jason Dufner, Hunter Mahan and, of course, Donald.

McIlroy already has a certain aura that his recent mishaps have not dented. But after his latest Wentworth win, Donald should feel the same way because he is undoubtedly ready to join his Ryder Cup team-mate in the major-winning club.

At Olympic Club, for the 2012 US Open, he just needs a decent start.

Comments

Page 1 of 3

  • Comment number 1.

    I entirely agree about Donald's failure to start being a mental issue. It's much easier to chase, with no pressure, and take the plaudits for a rousing recovery, than it is to be up at the top, fighting to take victory. Westwood suffers similar afflictions, he just can't get the job done over 4 rounds in a major.

    For me, Donald has the better chance though, with a spectacularly good short game, both chipping and putting. My main fear from him is that someone longer will just dominate him, putting too much pressure on him, should he come down the stretch in contention for a major.

  • Comment number 2.

    Excellent blog Ian.
    I share your views on McIlroy - I would not be too critical of the youngster. Why not go to see your girlfriend as often as you can, especially if you'll be separated for several weeks. They have a difficult enough time.

    This is a slight blip in Rory's progress and every golfer expects to go through a downturn in form at some point. My only concern is that recently he he seems to lose interest in a round when it goes wrong - he needs to dig-in and really squeeze-out the best score possible even if it does turn out to be 74 or 75. The body language was poor last week and he needs to work on this.

  • Comment number 3.

    I would just like to say how dissapointed i am again that our wonderful game has been brought into disripute! I think its a disgrace how Rory Mcilroy, Graham Mcdowell and Ernie Els conducted themselves last week, an absolute disgrace! One person throwing clubs around the course, the other failing to mention he moved his ball until afterwards when he obviously got told he had to declare it by advisors and the other complaining about how hard the greens where and they needed watering!! I think these sort of players are tarnishing our game and showing up and coming stars all the bad abits they dont need. I think these players need teaching a lesson by the tours for there unacceptable behaviours!

  • Comment number 4.

    I think that Donald is a champion in waiting. I don't think that he feels under pressure right now and so he is playing some great golf. McIlroy will be a legend in my eyes, he loves the big tournaments.

    http://playwithflair.com/

  • Comment number 5.

    Luke is a wonderful golfer - and very nice guy to boot - but it's interesting to note his LACK of success in terms of winning tournaments, let alone Majors. The weekend was just his - wait for it - THIRTEENTH tournament win in 13 years as a Pro. Martin Kaymer has managed 18 in half that time. Lee Westwood has won 3 times more tournaments than Luke in 18 years on the Tour ! I'm not wishing to criticise Luke - just pointing out that perhaps his talent hasn't yielded as many winner's cheques as it deserves. Let's hope that his self-beleif is at an all-time high, as I suspect that we shall really need him at the Ryder Cup.
    PS Attended the PGA saturday, and was rather disgusted to hear Thomas Bjorn effing and blinding to himself and to the Referee - all within easy earshot of children. What a grumpy man - out of order, Thomas !

  • Comment number 6.

    Do like the way Donald goes about the golf course. He has a really tidy game. I wonder though whether he pushes himself enough or needs to take the odd risk? Watson's amazing shot from in the trees won him a major that could so easily have lost it for him. At the majors other players seem to take risks to win it. Being very good isn't enough. Luuuuk is clearly very good, i just hope that he finds it in himself to come up withsome magic when it is needed to get the major his talent says he's capable of.

    McIlroy will be fine. There was unrealistic expectation that he would become Tiger-like, winning every tournament he entered. He certainly learns quickly (look how rapid his transformation after last years masters was) and has the desire to do well and win more. I'm sure he'll be there or there about, especially as he increasingly appears to like playing in the gentler american weather conditions.

  • Comment number 7.

    Donald will not win, for the very reason you say at the end, he doesn't hit it far enough. The Olympic club is ever so long, with huge ups and downs like Bethpage, and having to hit a 5 iron instead of a 7 can only hinder.

    I'm hoping he has some gas left in the tank for the Open and PGA however.

    As for Mackers, as Iain says, let him be...

  • Comment number 8.

    I agree with everything Mickeysausage says. On the current subject, I just don't get what the big deal is with Majors. They are just another big tournament. For the Masters you can even get there by having an invitation instead of qualifying. I believe the No. 1 ranking is much more significant as this demonstrates a high level of play over a long period. With the exception of McIlroy, where are all the recent Major champions in the world rankings. Winning a Major can be a simple flash in the pan but the No. 1 ranking is a sign of consistent class.

  • Comment number 9.

    Thomas Bjorn was an absolute disgrace. He should be given a huge fine and Banned for a while.

  • Comment number 10.

    If McIlroy is playing relatively few events and by his own admission not practicing enough begs the question - is he trying to manage an injury? Still expect him to be in the mx at Muirfield Village this week...

  • Comment number 11.

    Well said Ninj and BiloMct! We have no room for this sort of behaviour in our family sport, bans need to be inforced!

  • Comment number 12.

    #7 - Donald is more than long enough to compete - his European Tour average this year is 292.8 yards. Of the the top 20 bombers only one player (colsaerts) has a win this season

  • Comment number 13.

    I would just like to say how dissapointed i am again that our wonderful blog has been brought into disripute! I think its a disgrace how mickysausage, BiloMcT and Ninj conducted themselves above, an absolute disgrace! One person throwing accusations around the blog, the other failing to mention he is a German waitress until afterwards when he obviously got told he had to declare it by advisors and the other complaining about how hard words in the blog were to understand!! I think these sort of bloggers are tarnishing our reading and showing up and coming stars all the bad abits they dont need. I think these contributors need teaching a lesson by the administrators for there (sic) unacceptable behaviours!

  • Comment number 14.

    Ninj - agree wholeheartedly ! There are many posters on here who say, for example, that Lee Westwood won't win a major, because he doesn't have the self-belief. What tosh ! Seriously now, does anyone really believe that Ben Curtis or Hamilton went into the 2003 and 2004 Opens thinking they were going to win it, or even that they had a CHANCE of winning it !? For that matter, does anyone think that Darren Clarke teed up last year thinking he was going to win it ? All any player can do is try to oput together three, ideally four great rounds AND hope that the other 70 players don't match you. Somtimes that happens. Becoming World No.1 OR becoming European number one is far more difficult than winning on solitary tournament. How anyone can criticise Montgomerie for 'failing to win a Major is beyond me, when the guy was European Number One for SEVEN consecutive years (and then once more, when most said he was shot!). THAT requires true ability - not fluking a win like, say, Bob Tway 20 years ago, but to some on here, Bob Tway is a better golfer than Lee Westwood.... BECAUSE-HE -HAS-WON-A-MAJOR. Rubbish.

  • Comment number 15.

    No surprise to see Bilosausage with the knives out already.

  • Comment number 16.

    I would just like to say how dissapointed i am again that our wonderful blog has been brought into disripute by Trolls! I think its a disgrace how cfcboy23 and Lordvoldermort conduct themselves above, an absolute disgrace! One being a TROLL and the other being a TROLLS assistant both failing to admit it though even after being told to declare it by advisors. I think these sort of bloggers are tarnishing our reading and showing up and coming stars all the bad abits they dont need. I think these contributors need teaching a lesson by the administrators for there (sic) unacceptable behaviours as WEBSITE TROLLS!

  • Comment number 17.

    Here is my opinion;

    1) Donalds problem is not distance off the tee, it is accuracy - Distance does not count so much on hard running courses like the US Open and links courses for the British Open. He is possibly too short and wayward to pick up a Masters title, he may have a shot at US PGA as it is the most similar to regular PGA tour events where he has been so successful up to now. His short game is probably the best in the world which is why he is so good (he puts wedges closer on par 5's than some longer hitters second shots. this is also where he plays to his own advantage; he knows his wedge play is better than his long irons so he uses that skill.

  • Comment number 18.

    2) Westwood is absolute class tee to green. He is by no means a poor putter (quite the opposite) but it could be a mental problem on the greens as to why he doesn't sink as many as others. He may have put a lot of pressure on himself to win a major and this is not allowing his full potential to be relased at the big events.
    Lee has the game to win any major tournament it is just a matter of time. Age should not be a factor (Niclaus '86?).

    3) McIlroy is the total package - Massive hitter, superb short game and he has already got the Major 'monkey' off his back. I think this is why he has struggled a little recently, so much success so young, achieving things his hero (Woods) did at a similar age. Hopefully he will win plenty more majors if he keeps his head on and works as hard as he has over the past few years. It is easy to lose sight of your goals if you complete them at such a young age, it must be hard to motivate himself. This is also why there is so much pressure on Westwood and Donald, they no longer have the arrogance of youth on their side which is something that McIlroy certainly used to his advantage last year at the US Open.

  • Comment number 19.

    My point about Donaly reads wrong - I meant to make a point about par 5 3rd shots vs Longer hitters puts who have hit the green in 2. Apologies.

  • Comment number 20.

    Why to obsession with Majors. He is world number one !
    I bet there have been more major winners than there have been world number ones .
    So take the pressure off and celebrate the fact that he is an awesome golfer......oh and so is the number 2 !

  • Comment number 21.

    #17 Aqua - I still don't get your point about LD. If his problem is accuracy then why make reference to him hitting wedges close and having the best short game around? I can't fathom your logic - brain probably addled with too much sunshine. (Sorry)

  • Comment number 22.

    Bilo - did you personally hear the alleged comments made by Mr. Bjorn or are you just trolling for controversy again?

  • Comment number 23.

    In every sport, the object of the game is winning. That is all that is important. To come second is nohting. Every sport, that is, except golf, where consistently coming in the top 10 can somehow land you with a world number 1 ranking. Surely surely Donald would rather be winning trophies than being world no.1 ??

    Ask any true great like Woods, Nicklaus, Watson or Faldo and they will say it's all about winning trophies. That is why Donald will never be a great...because he is satisfied to be world number 1 rather being a champion.

  • Comment number 24.

    Mickey - did you see what happened with McDowell? He did acknowledge the ball moved but also that he thought it returned to the original position which is not a penalty in golf. When he was shown the videa replays he accepted his penalty without question.

    As for Ernie and the greens he was right. Wentworth is a work in progress with him as the architect and his input should be taken into account. The fact that the greens were soaked overnight on Saturday actually shows he was right - just a pity that he had to let rip before the powers that be took notice. He also apologised for HOW he went about it and made a sizeable donation to one of the tour's benevolent funds which demonstrates the man's integrity. RESPECT!

  • Comment number 25.

    #5 Breadman - are you taking into account the time that LD missed through injury? Look at his stats since he had his career interrupted by his wrist problems and give him credit for the way he has fought back and become a dominant force.

  • Comment number 26.

    If Bjorn did behave like that then he should be reprimanded for doing so in earshot of children.

    GMac was naughty.

    I have no qualms with Mcilroy throwing clubs or Els having a paddy at the officials - it is nice to see some passion and human qualities - though Els did apologise.

    Especially Rory, people complain he does not care about his game and that he is too busy jet-setting etc, when in fact he is showing he is angry with himself and his game. He has admitted it is his own fault and that he needs to practise more, so I think his form will return ready for an onslaught at the US Open

    CFC - very amusing!!

  • Comment number 27.

    @ Aquadave

    I think you are right about Westwood - he does not need to be a superb putter, it showed in his Masters performances lately that if was an average putter he would have won the tournaments by a country mile

    It is all a mental thing - Harrington employed Bob Rotella, I think Darren Clarke did also and LD has employed his own mental coach.

    It was nice to see Paul Lawrie put another good performance in (especially as I backed him in my predictions :o)

  • Comment number 28.

    #21 Trev

    "Donalds problem is not distance off the tee, it is accuracy" is what i said.

    I was stating that to win a major it is not all about distance such as when played on a links or fast running US Open course. Its about getting the ball to stop on the fast greens and sinking putts

    Donald is currently 14th with 67.27% fairways hit according to PGA tour stats and 184th(!) in driving distance. These stats either prove or disprove my theory!

    If you are wayward off the tee in a major you will be punished.

  • Comment number 29.

    Bilosausage, so we're trolls if we disagree with you, that seems to be how it works.

    I thought Donald's final round on Sunday was superb, a bit like Paul Lawrie's earlier this year when he won in Dubai, he just didn't give the opponents a sniff when coming down the stretch.

    His problem though is that he's never come particularly close to winning a Major. If he really gets in the mix therefore, and say is leading with 3 holes to play, he won't have any experience to draw on. Of course a lot of players win a Major at their first serious attempt but I don't think he can be labelled the favourite.

  • Comment number 30.

    Pretty sure Luke and Lee will both win majors before long. Cannot agree that there are mental blocks hindering them. Others have just played better. As was said when Curtis or Hamilton won, they came out of nowhere and just managed to put 4 fabulous rounds together. But neither is better than Luke or Lee, nor is say Bradley or Darren Clarke. Lee does need to putt a bit better mind, but I cannot see any weakness in Luke's game, including his driving.

  • Comment number 31.

    mickysausage... you say potato I say Keith Lemon is a complete **** (other expletives available)
    Not sure what Bjorn has done/said but if it was when his ball was wedged against the OOB fence, I don't remember anything out of order. I did think at the time he was a bit grumpy about a situation the referee explained pretty clearly!

    However, I'll take exception to
    #23 derwaldmann - 22-01-2011 wrote:
    In every sport, the object of the game is winning. That is all that is important. To come second is nohting. Every sport, that is, except golf, where consistently coming in the top 10 can somehow land you with a world number 1 ranking. Surely surely Donald would rather be winning trophies than being world no.1 ??

    Ask any true great like Woods, Nicklaus, Watson or Faldo and they will say it's all about winning trophies. That is why Donald will never be a great...because he is satisfied to be world number 1 rather being a champion.

    ...did you read the blog title? Key words - "Donald" "Wentworth" "win". Is he therefore not a champion? Oh sorry - not a major champion.
    Come on - Luke Donald is a great player currently but he may not be remembered as a great I agree. But to suggest he is content with top 10s is wide of the mark. He is winning tournaments but just missing out on the ones (majors) that you feel are the 'only' yardstick.
    You obviously missed all his "wins" whilst watching repeats of the last ten years majors which are the only ones that count, right?

  • Comment number 32.

    Troll of the year contenders: miriamsausage and bilomcchickensandwich

  • Comment number 33.

    most un-influential and least exiting blogger on the blog goes too: YorkshireBogseat

    Troller of the year: cfcboy123kid

    Deputy Troll of the Year: Lordvoldermott

  • Comment number 34.

    Bilo can you do a spreadsheet and collate some up to date data on current blog awards of the year contenders please?

  • Comment number 35.

    @ 22.trevthetrainer...i was only about 5 meters away. Bjorn was a disgrace. He should be ashamed of himself. So should Brandon Grace.

  • Comment number 36.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 37.

    There should be an addition to blogs to insert a poll, interesting the differences of opinion on winning a major as opposed to being world no.1 or a consitent world class career....

    would you rather have the career of Luuuuuke / Monty / Garcia

    Or

    Clarke / Hamilton / Zach Johnson /

  • Comment number 38.

    It is unfortunate for Donald (& Westwood) that he is now at this stage in his career not having won a major. Guys like McIlroy & Watson have taken care of that in their mid 20's and as a result will be far more relaxed heading into majors now and will probably feel more at ease when they get into contention (especially if it is against a non-major winner).

    I also think it is unfortunate that 3 of the 4 majors are held in the United States. Obviously most leading Europeans end up basing themselves there (primarilly for that reason) but do quite a bit of 'pond-hopping' during this time of year when 3 majors take place within a few months.

    American's can continue on the tour stateside, and pop over for the French or Scottish Open in the run up to the British Open (which I'm sure will feel more like a summer holiday compared to the European's who will have crossed the Atlantic 10 or 12 times before the Open comes around.

    There is no doubt that for Donald it will be almost impossible for him not to feel more pressure when he starts out in a Major now. He knows that if he plays his best Golf he will probably have a 2 or 3 shot lead heading into the final 9 holes - but he probably puts additional pressure on himself to get to that stage and as a result doesn't even get into contention as often as he should.

    I was really glad to see Donald win on Sunday and get back to World no. 1 - it is clear he has been the most consistent player in the past 18 months. Although McIlroy has won a few big events, he struggles to remain competitive when he isn't in contention. Donald meanwhile grinds out results and even when he has no chance of winning - he will pick up strokes on the final day and secure maybe a top 10 place, while the rest of the field are more worried about what flight they can catch.

  • Comment number 39.

    Y_B - Clarke has 2 WGC's as well as a major, multiple tour wins (In the high teens I believe) and several appearances on Winning Ryder Cup teams, he is certainly not in the Hamilton bracket and has done a lot more winning than Johnson also. His career to date certainly trumps Garcia. Admittedly Garcia has much more time on his hands also admittedly i'm a Darren Clake fan.

    On topic i'm just going to come out and say it. In my opinion Luke Donald wont win a major. I dont know if his game is in shape to tackle the extra length and difficulty of a major set up. Perhaps at an open where the courses are at times shorter and protected by wind rather than length. But then he has never really shown himself as the kind of player who excells in links conditions in the past.

  • Comment number 40.

    I just have a quick look at the blog and then i see BiloMcT @36, that is a disgraceful thing to say about LordVoldemort, it may be true, but nobody wants to read about his sick habits!

    You should be ashamed Bilo

  • Comment number 41.

    Comments being complained about again?! I'm leaving this Blog now. LordVoldemort Wins.

  • Comment number 42.

    Jimmy/YB... agree with most of the sentiment but the greatest dificulty is comparing golfers to one another. As I mentioned above - saying LD isn't a 'great' because Faldo/Watson/Woods etc are is ridiculous. True comparatives can only be made once careers are over or if 2 current golfers set out at the same time/same age... in 4 years Luke may have 6 Majors and could be conceived greater than Sir Nick.
    People love Sergio for different reasons to loving DC... purely emotional but their records don't stand up to Luke currently but I bet they have more fans. Not sure what I'm trying to prove... anyway - absolutely anyone who tees it up at a major could win it on Sunday. Not every pro teeing it up this weekend can become world no.1

  • Comment number 43.

    @Yorkshire Blogger - you are completely correct. I remember Faldo criticising the system when Westwood took over No 1, basically saying they should change the system as it was clearly wrong. Kaymer was the only contender at the time, and he had won a major so Faldo felt it was a no brainer that Kaymer should have been No 1. He obviously had no problem with Tiger being no 1 all the way through his 'breaks' - both self-imposed and injury breaks, despite hardly playing and showing very little form.

    Clearly with guys like Schwartzel, Clarke & Bradley all winning majors last year (who had maybe only won one other smaller event in the year leading up to their win) Faldo's argument had no substance.

    Now with Donald at No 1 and McIlroy having missed the cut in his past two events, its clear Donald is the form player and in my mind, the rankings are fully justified with Donald leading them.

  • Comment number 44.

    41.At 13:07 29th May 2012, BiloMcT wrote:
    Comments being complained about again?! I'm leaving this Blog now. LordVoldemort Wins.

    Bilo - of course he wins. He is a Lord and you are but a Count (sp.) ...!

  • Comment number 45.

    Jimmy

    I tried to put different golfers, of course Clarke has had a better career than Hamilton, Garcia has won a Players which is more than Hamilton - and Donald and Monty have had excellent careers but no majors - was just trying to get some balance in both categories

    Paul Lawrie for example, after his recent resurgence in form will no doubt look back and be extremely happy with his career - but would it be the same without his major win? undoubtedly not

    I suppose for "non major winners" there is the group of players like Westwood, Garcia, Donald, Monty et al who have all had great careers but will look back if and when they retire without a major and be sorely disappointed

    by the same token you will have major winners like Clarke who has had a great career besides and also Todd Hamilton who has not had such a great career besides

    As CFC says its very difficult to compare, and the fact is with only 4 majors a year there will be a lot of great golfers who will not win a major - if Monty had won a couple would he be regarded above Sir Nick now?

    That is how important a major win can be to someone who has had a great career but not won a major - when it comes to looking back.


    PS Bilo if you would close the door on your way out cheers thanks

  • Comment number 46.

    @36 BiloMcT

    Just because Iain Carter has a broken leg, it doesn't mean that he does that sort of thing. You're a disgrace and it's only right that you've been red-carded from the blog.

    Mickysausage should leave too, and then we'd all be clear of the terrible blog Trolls that are Mickysausage, BiloMcT and TheSorcerer.

  • Comment number 47.

    Top post cfcboy23 #13. Got me chuckling for the first time today!
    Pretty decent blog Iain, although you should know that you have stirred the two "hornets' nests" of these blogs, i.e. 1) Will Donald (or Westwood) ever win a a major and 2) Is Donald (or Westwood) a worthy number 1.
    Post 5 by Breadman is interesting, i.e. the fact that Donald has only 13 wins. I didn't know that. However, it is worth pointing out that 6 of those have come in the last 15 months. In the same period, Westwood has won 4 times and McIlroy 4 times (including a non sanctioned event).
    What this suggests is that he is not only the most consistent player over the last 2 years (with numerous top 10's) but also the best player in terms of wins (if not the best then certainly top two or three. I can't think of anyone who has won more?)
    Where he does fall down though is results in majors. If you compare him to Westwood:-
    Westwood - 55 majors, 8 top fives, 12 top tens and 22 top 25's.
    Donald - 38 majors, 4 top fives, 6 top tens and 12 top 25's.
    So, % wise, Westwood has a better record in the above categories. All of that will of course mean nothing as soon as one of them bags their first major. Personally I hope they both do it this year so we can stop having these arguments!

  • Comment number 48.

    Read the blog a good piece Ian but then started to read the comments although some points valid some are a bit off topic and daft. Ernie got upset he apologised publicly give the guy a break he has just had a belly full of the stick about the course. He even fined himself by giving a charitable donation top bloke.( although the rumours of it going to the green keepers benevolent fund are unfounded)
    Mclroy not at the races not a surprise.
    Bjorn has always been a bit moody, look at the incident with Woosnam the guy is a bit of a hot head he hit a bad shot, tough luck stop whining and jog on.
    Gmac dont know all the ins and out but was probably a bit lucky or unfortunate whichever way you look at it.

    Luke yet again did it when he needed to a worthy number one. The best short game and putting in the game right now. All this talk about him not being long enough off the tee does not matter when you have a short game like his. He may not win on some really long tracks but on tight testing tracks he will always challenge. Regarding his lack of wins a couple of things need to be taken into account
    1, Just as he was begining to look like the real deal about 4 years ago he sustained a bad wrist injury and it took him a couple of years to get over it.
    2, He freely admits he lost his game a bit by chasing extra distance off the tee now he plays to HIS strengths he seems a lot more comfortable.
    Go Luke us open would be great but fancy he would love to break his major duck at Lytham.

  • Comment number 49.

    Hopefully Luke Donald and Lee Westwood will be added to the new major winners list soon.

    Don't fancy Luke at the US Open - course will be too long for him. Better chance at the Open or USPGA.

    Lee has contended and will win if he keeps his nerve, does soemthing to improve his putting line and has a little more luck.

    Rory's bound to win again once he's come back down to earth.

    World number 1 is currently given for most consistent high finishes in the tournaments played. perhaps they should weight winning the tournaments more highly. also higher weighting for Majors compared to other tournaments. True golfing greatness is measured in Majors won.

  • Comment number 50.

    Bmg no mention of the book shocking 10% ger ching

    Owen in your abscence Ian any news on the golf day mind I think you might want to selectively invite as I can see 4 irons at dawn in the car park lol

  • Comment number 51.

    23. derwaldmann - you have basically answered your own question.

    The difference in golf is that you have to beat EVERYONE to win. In fact, you have to beat at least half of the field to get paid!

    In most (admittedly not all) other sports, you play one person at a time. So Federer or Nadal for instance probably wins 90% of their matches, and half of the tournaments they enter. In golf, if you win 10% of the time you are off the charts good.

    Remember, the Tiger era of 6+ wins a season, not missed cuts and 1-2 majors a year were freakish. It is not realistic to judge golfers by that yardstick.

    I think we will see a similar pattern over the next few years, with the snakes and ladders continuing (but with other players in the mix too) and more people from the top 20 or 30 or 50 winning majors.

  • Comment number 52.

    50 Davey - no I didn't mention the book. I'm a firm believer in delegation. You need to work for your 10% you know!

    Agree with your post 48 too. I watched from holes 4 onwards, and up until about the 14th Rose hardly missed a shot, but couldn't hole a putt. Luke however missed a few approaches but matched Rose. To me that is the mark of a champion - especially after Rose caught him early doors. He kept the honour up until 18 despite being outplayed tee to green.

  • Comment number 53.

    47.At 13:43 29th May 2012, The Boike-Meister General wrote:
    Top post cfcboy23 #13. Got me chuckling for the first time today!

    Completely agree! I am still rolling around with laughter it was that funny!

  • Comment number 54.

    ...and, BMG, the Tiger era was in all honesty not nearly as interesting than currently when we have first-time Major winners, multiple world no 1s in a calendar year and women of the world are safe to walk the streets! If that doesn't get Matt on (or off) the bog nothing will!

  • Comment number 55.

    Majors are what separate great professionals from the good professionals and that is why so much emphasis is placed on them.

    I agree with those above who say that a major winner can be a flash in the pan where as to become Number 1 takes consistency over a number of years. In this regard Westwood, Donald and even Monty (who I don't believe reached number 1 in the world??) will always be considered as better golfers than Bob Tway, Todd Hamilton or Ben Curtis.

    However, when you look back at the list of the golfing greats the one thing they all have in common is that they are multiple major winners. Monty may sneak into the list however would you put him above Faldo, Els, Norman or Ballesteros let alone Woods or Nicklaus? No I don't think so.

    Westwood and Donald are both very good golfers and I agree it is harsh to judge them before their careers have finished (how many majors did Vijay win in his 40's?). In order to cement their names alongside the greats however (and lets not kid ourselves you do not get as good as they are unless you do) they both need to win multiple majors. The best way to this is to win your first (just look at how the pressure fell off Mickleson after his first Masters) and the rest should follow.

  • Comment number 56.

    Rory McIlroy thinks he's better than he is. The comments he made before the BMW last week were arrogant and he's achieved not enough in the game to be super cocky. His US Open win will always have *Without Tiger Woods* slapped at the side of it, Tiger Woods will always be the best in my eyes because he kept his eye on the prize and wanted to be the best, whereas since RM met that 2 bit tennis player he's become even less interested in Golf... Martin Kaymer to win the US Open is my pick...

  • Comment number 57.

    Well said Ninj and BiloMct! We have no room for this sort of behaviour in our family sport, bans need to be inforced!

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

    I'm sorry but since when have sportsman been "Role Models for children", that job is down to the parents, its the parents who should teach there kids right from wrong, it is the parents who bring their children up and its all down to them how they turn out. so please stop blaming sportsman. if you are looking for someone to blame if kids run wild then look at the parents. I'm sick of hearing "Family Sport" its not a family sport its just sport for anyone who is interested in it. Political Correctness gone crackers...

  • Comment number 58.

    Matty - whilst I commend your taste in music, can we also say that all of Seve's or Jack's Majors "will always have *Without Tiger Woods* slapped at the side of it"?
    It's fair to say the Tiger era is over but anything thereafter is not Tiger-lite... "You Better You Bet"

  • Comment number 59.

    Matty,

    Im afraid I disagree - it goes with the territory now Im afraid. If sports men and women are going to profit from being a part of the sport they are in then they have a duty to behave in a certain way whilst doing the sport.

    In their private lives they can do what they want for me, totally different, but if parents are paying money for children to go and watch a sport then people should be aware of their language and behaviour in such circumstances.

    I agree that it is then the job of the parent to educate the child that the behaviour of a particular person is wrong and not to be repeated, but revenue streams for major sports rely on spectators, otherwise there would not be the sponshorship deals etc etc

    If they want to be reclusive and not talk to the media etc - like Kimi Raikonnen - that is their choice and nobody can criticise them for it, but if you are in the public eye when playing your sport your behaviour must then be aware of the audience around you.

  • Comment number 60.

    One story that seems to have been completely ignored by the BBC last weekend, and since, is Roger Chapman's fantastic victory at the Senior USPGA Championship.

    Well done Roger, and what are you playing at BBC ? This was a top story ... journeyman comes good, beats the Americans in their own back yard, senior Major Championship for England, etc etc and you had zero coverage ????

  • Comment number 61.

    Well guys, for all the rants about throwing clubs etc. boo hoo. Shows they care, shows emotion and to be honest I would probably be doing worse with the £££££'s on the line.

    But sure we are all model human beings I am sure.

  • Comment number 62.

    Matty - 'because he kept his eye on the prize and wanted to be the best'

    Yes the prize being a hooker in a hotel room. Clearly you need to read up on TW

  • Comment number 63.

    Thank you captain birdseye #60!

    Roger Chapman should be applauded and loudly
    Whilst you all argue about unfilled potential and whether talented people achieve enough in your opinion
    Cap'n and I will relish unexpected achievement by someone who has stuck by his task and finallt achieved big style

    Cheers

  • Comment number 64.

  • Comment number 65.

    So i suppose its alright to take the kids now watching the golf and have have toilet mouths like Bjorn F'ing and blinding all over the place! I dont think so matey, people bring there kids up with decency and dont shout foul language out when there at home, i certainly dont think they want to be going to the golf and spending £100+ to have disrespectful golfers screaming it around! Get a grip @MattyTheWhoLover and actually think before you type!

  • Comment number 66.

    Micky I was not there but guess as the blogs man about the world you probably were saw the tv coverage which did not show Bjorn in a good light. He should know better, especially as he is the players rep on the euro tour. To be honest I am not a fan he always seems to have that air of a person a bit too full of himself. No class not like Luke he he

  • Comment number 67.

    Majors are not called 'Majors' for nothing. They are the ultimate test of golf and seperate the great from the good.

    Here lies another problem with golf, majors, world rankings etc; golf is an inconsistent sport. Every golfer has bad weeks, it is extremely difficult to perform week in week out to such a high level. Even on bad days great golfers are good. Good golfers on bad days miss cuts.

    Tiger was and is very much a great golfer. He is by no means at his peak but has already won this year with very little competative golf under his belt.

    Players like Donald and Westwood are capable of winning majors but just need the right time. As many on here have already said they need to put together 4 good rounds to win. Some of the lesser known golfers such as Hamilton and Weir managed to do this at a major event and won.

    Golf can be a right time right place kind of sport - This is one of the reasons the Masters is so popular as it is played at the same venue each year.

  • Comment number 68.

    I'll say this much - 'anyone' can win ONE major - but to win more than one DOES (IMO) mark you down as a 'great'. You can fluke it once, but not twice.
    That said - and at the risk of contradicting myself - surely no-one on here will think of Padriag Harrington as being a 'greater' golfer than Greg Norman just because he has won one more major than Greg. Afterall, Greg was world number one for 5 years....but to some on here that doesn't seem to count for much.

  • Comment number 69.

    Winning majors is like a having a hole-in-one. It is a question of probability.

    The more shots you hit close to the hole on Par 3's the more likely it is that 1 will go in.

    The more times that you are in contention in majors the more likely it is that you will win one.

    There are lucky exceptions.....one that hasn't been mentioned is Michael Campbell winning the US Open.....he struggled to break 80 before and after. Unbelieveable.

    Winning a major is more about self control and mental strength these days. Lee's putting lets him down at important moments and affects the rest of his game. Luke just hasn't been in contention enough, give him a chance, he is just coming into his prime, but the sooner the better, we all know that monkey just keeps growing.

    Rory is in a different league, when his game is on he is untouchable, but he cannot be super hero great every week, lets just enjoy it when he clicks into gear. That is why he will win many more majors than the grinders.

    I still don't think Tiger is finished. He has a full blown Aussie forest fire burning inside him. If he can start to trust his new swing, and control himself, he couls become unbeatable (except by Rory) again. I think that is something we all want to see.

  • Comment number 70.

    Breadman

    I don't think that you can minimilize Paddy's carreer. He has won more majors than anyone in the last 5 years. Norman (my childhood hero) had a wonderful carreer but fell short in the majors showing a mental weakness at the highest level. He was also really unlucky. Harrington can not be accused of being mentally weak. Why shouldn't he rank above Norman?

    There are 4 majors a year, the top players compete for 15 years, that's 60 decent attempts. For Nicklaus to win 18 was extraordinary and an example of a sportsman who was a winner. For Tiger to win 14 out of his 50 even more impressive. Of course there are incredible golfers who have not won majors but Norman cannot be put in the same class as Nicklaus or Woods, as much as I would like to.

  • Comment number 71.

    Gav/Breadman... one word for you - nostalgia. We always remember the 'good old days' more 'fondly' than they often were. See Don's posts for details!
    More often than not the 'good old days' were not that good. Fortunately trophys and accolades and statistics help level the playing field but it's still lazy and irrelevant comparisons after all... Norman was a great golfer and so is Paddy.
    There's a whole world of good/very good golfers to pointlessly compare but to no end because there's no single measurement.
    One comparison I would suggest though is that Bilo's drinks list is better than his hairstyle list... FACT

  • Comment number 72.

    @71
    I argue that there is a single measurement, major championships. They basically haven't changed over the last 60 years, it's generally the best against the best of your generation.

    Would Arnie or Gary Player have won more majors if Jack wasn't around, would Mickleson or Els have won more if Tiger hadn't been around......maybe, who knows, all you can do is beat the field, therefore majors are the best way to compare different generations.

    That's why they are majors and the monkey is a big one for great players who don't win majors.

  • Comment number 73.

    Ah we get to one of the usual contenders for discussion the old just because x never won a major he is not a great debate.
    The issue here is everyone has their own way of looking at it and their own arguement to back it up.
    Majors for me are the top tournaments hence they attract the strongest fields and have history prestige etc. But just because for example Monty never won one does that make him any less a player, personnaly for me no. His achievements are written in golfing history that will possibly never be beaten. Luke did the Euro and US double last year a historic achievement. I could name a couple of one time major winners that yes they have their name on a major trophy but in all fairness have had journeyman careers. For me they lucked out for one week and got their names on historic list but will never be up there with some of the better more consisstant players who win multiple tournaments.
    Any how a lot of this will become irrelevant once Luke and Lee bag a major and hand the crown of best player not to win a major to the next unlucky golfer.

  • Comment number 74.

    FACT :
    I AM CURRENTLY THE WORLD No.1 AND HAVE WON 3 OUT OF MY LAST 4 TOURNAMENTS (6TH IN THE OTHER) i HAVE ALSO WON ALL 4 MAJORS 6 IN THE LAST 2 1/2 YEARS BUT NO ONE EVER MENTIONS MY NAME

    Sorry i was referring to TW10 on the PSP

  • Comment number 75.

    @45 Yb I think I heard the door SLAM

    @68 Breadman

    Very good comments with witch I agree.

    BUT I'm afraid it means nothing on here as everybody knows, mickeysausage and Bilomct are the only people who are knowledgeable enough to say such a remark and be taken seriousley !!!!!

    Don247 Please give us your thoughts as I would love to read one of your Don Longs,before Bilo talks about his "little friends, Rory Mooody and John one good shot Hawkins" and you can call them all the names under the sun for all I care

  • Comment number 76.

    @Bilo...You need to get back on here pronto and give us your opinion on "club throwing". It smacks of pure double standards when people slag off someone else and think It's ok for others to do it!!??

  • Comment number 77.

    @Jimmy...Nice and early picks:

    The Memorial:

    1 T Woods
    2 J Rose
    3 R Fowler

    Wales Open:

    1 M Siem
    2 Pa Lawrie
    3 G Bourdy

  • Comment number 78.

    Mattefc As you have thrown the gauntlet down early here are my predictions

    The Memorial :

    Mickleson
    Stricker
    Oosthuizen

    Wales Open

    Paul Lawrie
    Anders Hansen
    Miguel Angel Jimenz

    I was going to go for Siem (as he has got me points in the past ) but I didn't want to look like I was looking over your shoulder,so recalculated and came up with everybodys favourite Spaniard

  • Comment number 79.

    Some good predicting happened this week, Congats to everyone who scored points, which just happens to be everyone who submitted predictions with one notable exception. I dont want to come accross like the high school bully so i wont single that individual out for ridicule.

    10 points for Donald, Paul Lawrie and Justin Rose picking up 5 apiece, special mention to 84641 who picked Donald, Rose and Lawrie.
    In America there were 10 points on offer for Johnson (Z), 5 for Dufner and 3 for "Two gloves"

    This weeks scores therefore were as follows


    8 for 6 for 1 30
    BiloMct 25
    Jimmy 20
    Cfcboy23 20
    Golfrants 20
    Daveyboyfletcher 15
    Yorkshire Blogster 15
    Maninasuitcase 10
    Mattefc 10
    Gbell 5
    BMG 5
    Wibbliouswobblious 5

  • Comment number 80.

    The big news to come from all this is that i have taken the lead from Davey as we play out our own little version of what Iain Carter refers to as "Snakes and Ladders" with 84641 shooting himself right up into contention.


    Jimmy 110
    Daveyboyfletcher 106
    8 for 6 for 1 105
    Cfcboy23 85
    Gbell 80
    BiloMct 79
    Powerhitter 78
    Mattefc 72
    Maninasuitcase 64
    The Sorcerer 60
    Golfrants 59
    Sumo82 49
    Undersiege 46
    Rossji 40
    Yorkshire Blogster 39
    BMG 39
    Lord Voldemort 39
    Diamondvneck 24
    Wibbliouswobblious 23
    Grover69 21
    OldManGriff 20
    Anglesdan 18
    Mickysausage 15
    Stinky Steve 13
    Welsh Wizard 5 10
    Superhans84 10
    Chumbawumba12 8
    DivotedGolfer 5
    Jedimaster 3
    Lovegolf 3
    Rich 3
    Golden Bear 0
    Addictedtogolf 0

  • Comment number 81.

    it is great that the lead in the world rankings is fluid,I have to say that Luke has a great chance to go into a big lead he is playing very well,his rival Rory,in contrast is in real trouble,if he does not change his caddy and get some course management back into his game ,it's costing him in every round,his talent is such that he gets some results but he needs somebody to say no and give a good reason to play another way.

  • Comment number 82.

    Jimmy snake for you this week I hope and a cherry picker for me. 84641 breathing down my neck now off to figure out picks for this week then with my spec formula.

  • Comment number 83.

    Dave If I were you I would be more worried about Thursday

    and is this the PREQUEL of the GREAT IAIN CARTER GOLF DAY ?

  • Comment number 84.

    Great just keep cranking up the pressure Manina but yeah its a hotel course Mr Carter so you could have the golf day there. Manina can post a review next week.

  • Comment number 85.

    We also need to hear from oldmangriff & daveybones because this blog is in desperate need of a "troll" update!!
    I'm off to watch my friend on Google+

  • Comment number 86.

    Mattefc Just for you,Tigers quote of the day

    "As a kid, I might have been psycho, I guess, but I used to throw golf balls in the trees and try and somehow make par from them. I thought that was fun."

    It's comments like this that make him into a GOD and also shows (IMO) that he is human and I'm kinda of hoping he does make a full comeback and at least equals Sir Jack's record,witch I would not have said a few years ago.
    If I can change so can everyone

  • Comment number 87.

    Evening all - I have been following the blog (on and off) all day, but kind of felt we've been here before with a lot of stuff and didn't really have much pertinant to add.

    However, I would like to blow my own trumpet and say what a magnificent predictor I was this week. 3 picks in Europe and I picked the winner and the 2 joint runners-up - Unbeatable! Plus the winner in the US - Jimmy & DBF, I'm coming to get you!

    Bilo, don't desert the blog.

    Don247 - where for art thou? Surely time for a little more Rory mischief

    #60 Captain_Bluebeard et al - Good spot there about Roger Chapman - It might be nice if Iain focused on seniors or womens golf once in a while.

  • Comment number 88.

    861 Good predictions last week am slightly worried esp as euro is a bit of alottery to pick this week mind US not looking much easier.
    Like you had a feeling of dejavu with the comments get bored with this not a real no. 1 stuff. It is what it is until someone comes up with something new.

  • Comment number 89.

    861 Are you the Sorcerer in disguise ?

  • Comment number 90.

    As people are getting fed up with the Luke/Mcduff no.1 debate

    Who is the best golfer never to win a major ?
    and who would you most like to have a round of golf with ?

  • Comment number 91.

    I had a really good comment to make about the rankings and majors. I've forgotten it now though

  • Comment number 92.

    Best never to win one in my time Monty as his time has passed.
    Bilo will say predictably Hawksworth

  • Comment number 93.

    Best Golfer never to win a Major is a toss up between Kim Jung Il and Montgomery Burns.

    I dunno which one person i'd most like to have a round with but my ideal foursome would be with Jodie Kidd, Paula Creamer, and Laura Davies :-D

  • Comment number 94.

    jimmy Paula screamer morgan pressel and the woman on sky golf sara stirk.
    nice

  • Comment number 95.

    Did anyone watch that google+ with TW, I thought it was really good and he answered the questions very enthusiastically!
    He also said he'd a practice round at Olympic club and the first six holes are brutally tough!!

  • Comment number 96.

    Jimmy..Jodie Kidd!!! She'd be good to rake the bunker!!!!

  • Comment number 97.

    What was that then Matt an interview??

  • Comment number 98.

    best golfer never to win a major John"bilo's my lovechild "Hawksworth

    My dream fourball
    Jack Nicklaus,Tiger Woods and the Pope ,it would guarantee another win for europe

  • Comment number 99.

    This is getting silly, shall I suggest an updated drinks list. It seems the sun has gone to everyone's head!!!

  • Comment number 100.

    @Manina...The Pope.....!!!! Watch out children!!!!

 

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