by Jeff Skinner
Wow! What an absolutely amazing finish to the PGA Tour season. Luke Donald was up against it, big time. At the start of the week he trailed Webb Simpson in the PGA Tour Money Race, a race he wanted to win badly. The World Number One came into this tournament knowing he probably had to win the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals Classic to move ahead of Simpson. In an astonishing display of grit and skill he did just that.
Donald started the day five strokes off the lead and two behind his chief rival Simpson. At the turn he was still four shots from the lead but that is where Donald showed why he is the top rated golfer in the world. At the tenth hole he started a string of birdies that would vault him into the lead and leave the rest of the field wondering what just happened.
Donald sank every putt he looked at as he made birdie on the next six holes. On the fourteenth he sank an 18 foot putt that put him in the lead. On 15 it was a spectacular 45 footer that gave him a two stroke lead and left his competitors looking for the number of the bus that just hit them.
As the putt on fifteen fell the normally reserved Donald let out a yell along with a fist pump as he knew the tournament was now his for the taking. Pars on the last three holes gave him a stunning 30 on the back nine for a total of eight under 64. With all that was on the line this has to be one of the most clutch rounds of the year on the PGA Tour.
Donald had to wait for Justin Leonard to finish before he could start celebrating but when Leonard couldn’t manage any closing birdies the win was Donald’s as was what he really came here for, the money title.
“I told you guys on Wednesday that the goal was to win. Nothing was really going to be good enough other than that,” Donald said. “I think this is probably one of the most satisfying wins of my career just because of that.”
“It’s just knowing that I had to do it, and being able to do it … it’s very, very special.”
This was an unusual week for the PGA Tour. Sure, each week we hear players say they want to win but this week was different. Both Donald and Simpson wanted the money title. They knew they would have to go through each other to get it and changed their schedules to do it. It’s difficult enough to win on the PGA Tour but to win when you have to is almost impossible. Both players deserve credit not only for their play and the way they present themselves but for putting their neck on the line and stepping up to test themselves against each other. The PGA Tour couldn’t have had a more fitting finish.