Luke Donald, No Flash, Just Number One

by Jeff Skinner

Luke Donald reclaimed his title as the world’s number one golfer yesterday as he played a gutty final round at the Transitions Championship.  His bogey free, five under par 66 left him at thirteen under par and earned him a place in a four man playoff.  On the first playoff hole he hit a stellar seven iron shot from the rough to six feet and it was there that his skill with the putter paid off.  Donald leads the PGA Tour in a critical statistic: strokes gained putting.  He was the only one to make his birdie putt and Donald was once again on top of the golf world.

If a “World Number One” can fly under the radar it’s Luke Donald.  Since he first reached number one last May Donald has rarely been selected as a pre-tournament favorite.  He’s never talked about as a dominant golfer.  All Donald does is play well and win golf tournaments.  This is his 5th win in his last 31 starts.  He is a top ten, globetrotting, trophy grabbing machine.  He was the first member of the PGA Tour and The European Tour to win dual money titles last season.

All this and it still seems that Rory McIlroy gets more accolades than Donald even though Donald has more wins and spent the better part of 2011 as number one while McIlroy saw his reign cut short by Donald after two weeks.  Rory does have what Donald covets, that being a major, but with Donald’s game that could be changing shortly.

Donald acknowledged after the Transitions that he may be the most overlooked number one in the world.  “I think people … thought that my last year was maybe a little bit more of a—not a fluke, but I don’t think many people thought I could do that all over again this year,” Donald said. “Hopefully, I can prove them wrong.”

Both Donald and McIlroy are gifted golfers with classic swings that should keep them at each other’s throats for years.  But it’s easy to get caught up in the hype and flash of the young shaggy haired, McIlroy who dates tennis stars, drives fast cars and dines with Presidents.

But what Donald may lack in “flash” he makes up for in substance.  Donald majored in Art Theory at Northwestern University and is a skilled painter.  He’s not your typical jock golfer.

There are certainly more flamboyant and colorful golfers on tour.  Some get attention from their long drives, some from their clothes and others from their Twitter accounts.  But that’s not Donald.  It is his game that gets notice, and it doesn’t get enough of it.


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