AUGUSTA, Georgia, April 5 (Reuters) - World number one Luke Donald donned a Rory McIlroy wig during a a pre-Masters awards speech he turned into a comedy routine, mocking the lack of attention he has received from the United States media.
Donald, who often appears as a serious and slightly shy man on the golf circuit, showed another side of his personality as he delivered a witty and entertaining speech at the 40th annual Golf Writers Assocation of America dinner.
Despite finishing top of the money lists on both the European Tour and the U.S. PGA Tour last year, the Englishman is rarely the centre of attention for the U.S. media and often has poorly attended press conferences.
After taking to the podium and receiving his award for the male player of the year, he said: “It feels strange to be in a full room”.
Donald then put on a black, curly haired wig, in clear reference to McIlroy and asked the assembled American golf press “Does that feel better?”
The McIlroy wigs first appeared during the 2010 Ryder Cup when most of the European team posed in them prior to the tournament.
Earlier in the week, in a more serious mood, Donald had described the build-up coverage to the Masters in the American media, which focused on a perceived ‘two man race’ between McIlroy and Tiger Woods as “naive”.
The Hertfordshire born Donald has lived primarily in the U.S. since attending Northwestern University in 1997 but has yet to develop a real fan base in the country.
The 34-year-old, who has an American wife, was gently teased by his introducer for supposedly adopting U.S. habits and tastes.
Donald responded by opening his speech with a stereotypical American accent and answering “Aw shucks, that’s awesome, I‘m so pumped.”
While rejecting the jokey suggestion that he had become Americanised, Donald, who made $6.68 million on the PGA Tour said: “I am grateful for the American dollar though, it’s been very kind to me”.
Donald’s routine was well received by an audience of around 300 journalists and golf dignitaries.
American Tom Lehman, voted the Senior Player of the Year, spoke after Donald and said it was “tough to follow Luke’s stand-up routine”.
Donald is searching for his first major championship win in this week’s Masters. (Editing by Julian Linden)