Luke Donald says Seve Ballesteros is his Open inspiration

By Rob HodgettsBBC Sport at Royal Lytham

Luke Donald says he is going to use Seve Ballesteros's victory at Royal Lytham & St Annes in 1979 as his inspiration for the Open.

Ballesteros was famously wayward off the tee 33 years ago and Donald is aware his sometimes erratic driving could get him into trouble this week.

"Seve was someone that would hit it wild off the tee and use his short game to get out of trouble," he said.

"No matter where he was, he felt like he could hole a shot."

In what became known as the 'Car Park Open', the late Ballesteros used his sublime powers of recovery and short-game skills to deliver the first of three titles.

Of the Spaniard's chip from the car park that helped him to a birdie on the 16th, world number one Donald said: "That should give me some heart, that I've not always been known as the guy who hits it consistently tee to green, but I have a great short game.

"I've got to go into this tournament with that kind of fun attitude, that no matter how I'm hitting it, there's always a way to make a score."

The United States-based Englishman has a best finish of fifth in the Open, at Turnberry in 2009, but missed the cut last year and also missed the weekend in June's US Open.

"It was a disappointing US Open for me, but the last few weeks I've been working hard. I feel a lot more comfortable about where my swing is," he said.

Donald, who works with Jonny Wilkinson's former mentor Dave Alred, admits he has been getting too anxious in majors and said he needs to relax.

"I think the remedy has to come from me," he said. "It's taken a bit of time for that thought to drop, because I just have been getting a little bit too uptight.

"It's a very normal mode to switch into because the pressure is that much more. You want it that much more. It's about, for me, just kind of controlling it and predetermining how I want to feel and trying to stick to that. It's going to be tough.

"There will be times when I get uptight, but then I've just got to kind of remember where I am and how I want to feel over each shot and not really getting too far ahead of myself and raising those expectations which I have done in the past."

Tony Jacklin, who won the Open at Lytham in 1969 and was the last Englishman to win the US Open, said Donald struggles with the challenges of links golf, compared to the more precise yardage-governed game more prevalent on parkland courses and in the US.

But Donald is a fan of the Royal Lytham set-up and the need to play intricate golf around its 206 bunkers.

"I do like this course. I think it's set up great. It's very fair, but it's very tough," he said. "It's certainly, going to produce the guy who plays the best because there's no escaping some holes; you've just got to step up there and hit good tee shots.

"You aren't going to find lucky lies in the rough. You're not going to be able to get to the greens from the bunkers. It's about hitting fairways, hitting greens, and hopefully I can do that."

Top Stories