Luke Donald looking to revive fortunes

July 6, 2016

Four-time Major winner Rory McIlroy once singled out Luke Donald as the one player he would choose to hole a 'winner-take-all' 10-foot putt on the last green.

Five years ago Donald was the No. 1 ranked player in the world and corresponding with his rise, the Chicago-based Englishman ended that 2011 season ranked No.1 on the European money list.

Donald also won four times in 2011 including moving to No.1 in the world in defeating Lee Westwood in the European Tour’s flagship PGA Championship at Wentworth.

Another of those victories in 2011 was the Scottish Open.

How times have changed.

From those heady times the 38-year-old prepares to tee off in the latest renewal of the Scottish Open at the Castle Stuart course near Inverness ranked 83rd in the world.

But then if Donald needed any added incentive it was in 2011 that the Scottish Open was first staged on the Gil Hanse-designed Castle Stuart course.

"I feel my ball-striking has been close to the levels it was in 2011 but then my scoring clubs haven’t been as good, which was a big part in my success when I was No. 1 in the world," he said.

"But what made me a good putter was I was very conscious of good fundamentals as good fundamentals is extremely important in putting.

"The adjustment is so small that you can make adjustments like you can in a full swing.

"So between my coach and I, we worked a lot on a lot of drills. We looked at statistics. We looked at what made the best putter. We found that that four to eight-foot range is very important.

"Also my game has been built around 150-yards and in, and when I do that really well, then good things happen."

Donald has not won since late 2013 after successfully defending his Phoenix Open title in Japan.

Also of importance to Donald is securing a place in next week’s 145th Open Championship given he’s contested every Open since 2005.

Donald can achieve that goal in capturing this week’s Scottish Open or being among the leading four inside the top-12 on Sunday who are already not exempt.

But then as first reserve into golf’s oldest Major Donald could very well find his way into The Open given South African Jaco Van Zyl is injured and unlikely to compete.

Donald is also determined to regain his place in the European Ryder Cup team having been something of a talisman in the biennial event never tasting defeat on the four occasions he has participated.

"The Open and the Ryder Cup are very much my aims and the Ryder Cup very important as I want to be on that team," he said.

"I’m going to have to start playing a lot better, producing some results and throw in a win or two.

"So I’ve not given up hope but I certainly need to start churning out some better results than I have."