World number one has luxury of playing in McIlroy’s shadow

Englishman Luke Donald has now tightened his grip on the world number one spot with a convincing showing at wonderful Castle Stuart in the Scottish Highlands. Donald now heads back to his native England, where he will tee it up at the Open Championship on Thursday. Donald’s domination throughout the last several months is undisputed, but he is yet to win a major championship. The Barclays Scottish Open was his first event since The U.S. Open, which was one of his least impressive performances of the year. He blamed fatigue, and rightly so, since he had been sailing as long as the winds and currents were favorable. It had been a long haul, but fishing was good. Finally, Donald sailed home to port to fetch new supplies and to gather strength.

It is possible that the world number one spot had been more of a goal for Donald than the world’s best professional golfers dare to admit. Therefore, he kept on going, week after week, laying the nets relentlessly. The number one spot came rather late, after winning the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth in the end of May, after coming up short on at least two occasions.

The ice is now broken and Donald now finds himself on a completely different level compared to the start of the season. His outlook has changed dramatically. His new rivals tailor their schedules to achieve optimum results in the four major championships, The Open Championship there among, something that Donald had not adopted. This was a time for Donald to develop a new approach, to set new goals. He now arrives at Royal St. George’s full of confidence, having just proved to himself and to others that the favorable winds and currents are still there.

It goes without saying that it is rare for a player to win a major championship after having won in the previous week. In a similar fashion, Donald battled history at The Masters, where he was said to have jinxed himself by winning Wednesday’s par-three contest. Still, to this day, no player has won The Masters after having outscored his competitors on Augusta National’s par-three course. Nevertheless, Donald was near the top of the leaderboard, holing out from off the eighteenth green after having hit the flagstick on his approach, until Charl Schwartzel clinched his win with four consecutive birdies. Donald showed there that he possesses the mental toughness to perform down the stretch in a major.

And so it seems that Donald has already slain bigger and more vicious beasts than those that these superstitious cynics are trying to shove into his trail. He is the world number one, has won three events this year, and has the luxury of stepping onto the first tee at Royal St. George’s in the colossal shadow of the miniscule figure of 22 year-old Rory McIlroy, who has not competed since his U.S. Open win. Advantage Donald.

TOPICS: British Open

ABOUT: Edwin Roald

Edwin is a golf course designer and writer whose independent design work now spans a decade and half-a-dozen countries. An avid golf historian, Edwin has devoted his entire education and career to golf, and has recently campaigned a departure from the eighteen-hole tradition, hoping to help revitalize participation in golf.

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