LONDON (Reuters) - If the old adage about ‘reaping what you sow’ is as true in golf as it is in everyday life, a breakthrough major championship victory should be just around the corner for Britain’s Luke Donald.
Ever since he went to the summit of the rankings by beating European Ryder Cup team mate Lee Westwood in a playoff in the PGA Championship at Wentworth 12 months ago, the 34-year-old has been the dominant player in world golf.
Donald spent an uninterrupted 40 weeks as number one and, after relinquishing top spot to Rory McIlroy for a couple of brief spells this year, he grabbed it back with a seemingly effortless four-shot win back at the PGA event on Sunday.
“There’s something sweet about going 12 months and still being number one,” the Englishman told reporters after lifting the trophy and a first prize of 750,000 euros at the European Tour’s flagship event.
“I am very proud of that. It is an indication I am doing the right things and my game is improving.”
Donald ruled world golf last year, winning four times and becoming the first player to finish top of the orders of merit on both sides of the Atlantic.
He started this season slowly but a win at the Transitions Championship in Florida in March put him back on track and an almost error-free display on Sunday hinted he could be about to enjoy just as dominant a 2012 as he did in 2011.
The career of a golfer, however, is ultimately defined by major victories, a fact that has not escaped Donald’s notice.
”Obviously winning one major would satisfy some of my critics,“ he said with an eye on the U.S. Open at the Olympic Club in San Francisco that starts on June 14. ”But personally the goal is to win more than one.
“I feel like I have that ability and hopefully that will happen. It’s about putting four rounds together like I did this week.”
Donald may not have the panache and style of the 23-year-old McIlroy, who missed his second successive cut of the season at Wentworth on Friday, but he has such a reliable all-round game that few believed he would toss away the two-shot lead with which he started the final round.
He can also boast his own distinctive soccer-style chant, with galleries in Europe and the U.S. often breaking into elongated cries of ‘Lu ... ke, Lu ... ke, Lu ... ke’.
To the uninitiated it sounds like a boo but it is anything but.
”That’s a great indication I‘m well liked,“ said the Chicago-based Donald. ”I have a great following here.
“I may spend a lot of time in the U.S. but I think I‘m becoming a lot more well-known over here.”
Editing by Greg Stutchbury