Donald back at number one after retaining PGA title

Sun, 27 May 19:10:00 2012

Briton Luke Donald went to the top of the world rankings for the fourth time in 12 months after strolling to a seemingly effortless four-stroke victory in the PGA Championship at Wentworth.

English Luke Donald putts on the 3rd green during the final round of the PGA Championship at Wentworth - 0

The 34-year-old Englishman took over from Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy at the summit after shooting a four-under 68 for a 15-under tally of 273 at the European Tour's flagship event.

World number 10 Justin Rose (70), partnering countryman Donald in the final round, missed a succession of birdie chances and had to settle for a share of second place with 1999 British Open champion Paul Lawrie (66) on 277.

Ireland's Peter Lawrie (71) finished in fourth position on 280.

"I thought my win here last year was going to be hard to top but I really enjoyed the walk down the 18th with a four-shot lead," said Donald at the prize-giving ceremony.

"This is the biggest event we play on the European Tour and I managed to play a solid back nine to keep Justin and Paul at bay."

Donald, who retained the PGA title he won for the first time last year in a playoff with Lee Westwood, became only the third player to win the trophy in back-to-back years after Nick Faldo (1980-81) and Colin Montgomerie (1998-1999-2000).

The anticipated head-to-head "Duel in the Sun" with Rose never materialised as the latter failed to convert half a dozen birdie chances while Donald plotted his way round in typically steady fashion in light winds on the outskirts of London.

Rose smashed his club into the turf in frustration at the 15th hole after a wayward approach landed in a greenside bunker.

While his partner was bogeying that hole, Donald tapped his tummy and heaved a visible sigh of relief after knocking in a knee-trembling par-saving effort from four feet.

Rose also found a greenside bunker at the 16th and his title rival effectively sealed the first prize of 750,000 euros by sinking his putt for a birdie three from 10 feet.

The unflappable Donald, who went to world number one for the first time after winning here last year, was asked if he was in as much control as he appeared to be in Sunday's final round.

"Looks can be deceiving but I certainly played nicely the whole week," he said.

"Today was probably the most difficult day for me in terms of pressure, after having started out with a two-shot lead and never having successfully defended a title before.

"Justin had been playing really solid and I knew I had to be mistake-free."

Donald has won a host of glittering prizes around the world, and last year became the first player to top the orders of merit on both sides of the Atlantic.

However, it is next month's U.S. Open, the British Open in July and the U.S. PGA Championship in August that he has his eye on.

"I have three majors coming up and that's the next goal, to try and pick up one of the big ones for the first time," said the smiling Englishman.

"Every time you pick up a trophy it's an experience of closing out a tournament, and hopefully it will serve me well over the next few months."

Rose heaped praise on Donald, saying he "certainly played like a champion".

"The difference was his putter," Rose added. "He buried a lot of putts in the middle of the round.

"He played really well and there were no loose shots from him coming down the stretch. With his short game and the way he makes 20 and 30-footers - he's tough to beat."

Reuters

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  1. and finally, while i agree luke is the best golfer in­ the world right now, you cant argue that majors are how­ greatness is eventually measured in a top top golfers­ career. this is a fact whether you like it or not. i am­ sure that luke wud swap his oom's and no.1 rank for­ rory's us open. and that really says all you need­ to know. i hope luke wins one soon and then some more,­ he is pure quality

    From Wayne Kerr, on Mon 28 May 17:31
  2. and the reason a lot of yanks dont play the open is coz­ they are incapable of playing links golf, they dont­ have the shots or imagination required, and they can­ nearly earn as much on some other pga event. the best­ americans always play it, because they are good enough.

    From Wayne Kerr, on Mon 28 May 17:28
  3. so the r in rtz stands for ray then. and there we­ were thinking he was a female living in the american­ deep south. well anyway, a guy called ray, who is also­ a full blown crossdressser... that narrows it down

    From Wayne Kerr, on Mon 28 May 17:24
  4. Dizzy you have an amazing ability to add 2+2 to make 5.­ If only you thought about your responses perhaps you­ might reply differently. Just because 5 of the top 7­ were yanks, does that mean that 143 of them came over?­ Silly boy!

    From Ray, on Mon 28 May 16:54
  5. I'm not so sure the majors carry the mantle that­ they had even up to five years ago. The fact that so­ many yanks choose to avoid our Open, despite the fact­ that they are all egocentric over there, and that the­ likes of Westwood and Donald look on them as another­ day's work - a view that is shared by many of the­ top players, is significant. The public seem to get­ hyped up more than the players and I agree that­ actually being on the great courses is a great feeling­ but the accolade of being No.1 seems to over-ride­ everything else. Ask the likes of Monty, Westwood and­ the like which they prefer these days and I suspect the­ consistent roll in of dosh is their priority.

    From Ray, on Mon 28 May 13:02
  6. Ray - Read the posts below buddy, Dizzy is saying­ it's Mcilroy, now don't get me wrong I like­ Rory but you can't ignore his woefull play of late.­ Luke Donald would like nothing more than to win his­ first major, but unfortunately until he does people­ like Dizzy an his ilk can not except Luke as the number­ one golfer in the world. I do see his point to a­ certain extent because great players are measured by­ their major victories, but the world ranking system is­ done on who is playing the best golf right now. The one­ thing I thought Dizzy was a bit out of order for is­ saying the PGA event is a "Micky Mouse­ Event", basically saying Europes elite golfers are­ sub standard. Dizzy is an Australian, so one has to­ wonder if an Aussie playing in the PGA won it, his­ views would be different?

    From Piecrust, on Mon 28 May 10:46
  7. Dizzy, you are very adroit at criticising everyone­ else's opinions about this contentious No.1 spot,­ assessment of a great golfer etc. So, let's have­ your esteemed opinion and criteria about who the­ rightful owner of that position really is. and if you­ somehow contrive to justify McIlroy's ridiculous­ rise to that position by playing the absolute rubbish­ that he has since his major then we can all have a good­ laugh.

    From Ray, on Mon 28 May 10:12
  8. Peter, agree 100%. McIlroy has moved too fast,­ undoubtedly a fine golfer but as Faldo proved over and­ again you need to play with your head as well as your­ clubs, and have a great deal of resolve. Sadly, McIlroy­ has no resolve or guts to fight it out, too many­ excuses, too much pomp not enough circumstance! Is he­ good enough to win another major? Time will tell but in­ my book he is another progigious talent that will back­ into the pack within a couple of years.He still acts­ and chomps around like a spoilt schoolkid. Someone­ needs to sit him down, lower his head by two feet and­ tell him the facts - your putting is woeful, your­ driving similar over the past two months, and when­ things don't go your way, like everybody else you­ need to buckle down. Prima Donna springs to mind right­ now.As Alliss suggested, good talent but a lot to­ learn.

    From Ray, on Mon 28 May 9:44
  9. Luke is rightfully back where he belongs instead of­ that sell-headed McIllroy who has nothing but a flash­ in the pan to boast about. Notice his goosey-goosey­ walk is absent when he's not doing well. The cheek­ of Mc to criticise Tiger when he hasn't even­ achieved enough to merit carrying Tiger's golf­ clubs.

    From Peter, on Mon 28 May 8:02
  10. Nice to see Luke do well. A true Briton. Lives in­ Chicago. Attended Northwestern University in Chicago.­ Sponsored by Canadian bank RBC. Learned and played most­ of his golf in the US. A true English legend. Like­ Canadian Olympic boxer Lennox Lewis. Another true BRIT.

    From T Murray, on Mon 28 May 4:39
  11. Haha Catherine calm down :P I think you need a beer to­ chill out :)

    From brhogg86, on Sun 27 May 23:28
  12. If i ever have to hear about who is the number one­ golfer again ,i swear i will send a curse the whole­ world wont be ready for,luke donald is ,will always­ be,the worlds best player,okay,the best golfer in the­ world,okay,luke­ donald...so!s-s-t-f-up...............okay

    From CATHERINE, on Sun 27 May 23:26
  13. @Ray just one thing wrong with your comment. Dont think­ Louis Oostheizen fluked his major win. He won by like 7­ shots cant remember exactly and nearly won the masters­ this year only for a magic shot from Bubba. One or two­ have fluked majors yes but the majority are big names­ or atleast have achieved a good bit in the game.

    From brhogg86, on Sun 27 May 23:23
  14. Dizzy - You said name me one person who is in the hall­ of fame that didn't win a major, now your saying­ there's 2 or 3, make your fecking mind up, you­ change more than a politician. Then you say there are­ people in it that don't belong in it, ok so now­ email the hall of fame and let them know there are­ golfers in the hall of fame that don't deserve to­ be there, because your to ignorant to know who they are­ and what they did, cause hey they let anyone in the­ hall of fame right. I think you are getting a little­ confused with who is the best and most consistent­ player in the world right now and who are the legends­ of the game from time gone by. You say what you want­ because you know better than the Royal and Ancient and­ the USPGA. Don't forget Dizzy, get emailing in the­ morning to put everyone right.

    From Piecrust, on Sun 27 May 22:55
  15. Fair play to Donald, he turned up on a mission and­ achieved it, more than can be said about the other­ pretender to No.1 spot, who makes more petty excuses­ than he does putts. Donald would like a major, most of­ us would like him to win one but if he doesn't then­ like Monty, Westwood and a few thousand before them he­ will have tried. I think I would rather be recognised­ for my all round ability than fluking a major out of­ thin air - Oostheizen,Hamilton,Weir, etc,etc.

    From Ray, on Sun 27 May 22:49
  16. Comment hidden due to its low rating. Show

    Bit Strong .!...Watched Luke good Golfer but he­ can't play on difficult courses...his Major Record­ proves it...As for Lee...if he had my short game he­ would win a Major

    From COLIN, on Sun 27 May 22:44
  17. Lads you have to start wining somewhere, so yer­ comments about Dufner are pretty harsh his first tour­ win only came 3 weeks ago got married and then won his­ second. He was in the playoff of the PGA last year and­ lost but come on, his not been around at the top that­ long. No its not all about wining a Major but to be­ fair I think Monty along with alot of others that have­ never won a major would swap 10 if not more of there­ regular tour event wins for a major trophy. Donald has­ to win a major as does westwood to be considered a top­ great. Yes they win lots and are rightly 1 and 3 on the­ rankings list at present but i dont think either will­ be satisfied with there career unless they win a major.­ I personally think Donald probably will win one. As for­ westwood he has the quality to but his putting is his­ downfall and im just not sure he will win one. I do­ agree it takes a different type of bottle to win a­ major compared to a regular tour event. Lets just see,­ but i do think Luke needs to win one.

    From brhogg86, on Sun 27 May 22:19
  18. rtz - There are quite a few people in the hall of fame­ that didn't win a mojor, I know that Chi Chi­ Rodríguez and Christy O'Connor didn't. I­ don't think Dizzy is quite as knowledgeable as he­ thinks, although I think he was just trying to make a­ point.

    From Piecrust, on Sun 27 May 20:50
  19. Colin - I'm not saying majors don't matter, if­ it's only about majors what's the point of­ playing any other competitions. You have to have other­ comps for ranking systems and it's the ranking­ systems that determine who is rated where. Now if you­ ask Luke what he really wants he would say a major,­ because he has won everything else. It's like when­ you hear someone say "money isn't­ everything", it's only rich people that say­ it.

    From Piecrust, on Sun 27 May 20:45
  20. Dizzy..You Talk Sense...unlike the Majority on­ here....Majors are what matter...How can Donald be­ No1...Jason Duffner is cleaning up as well in Mickey­ Mouse events...

    From COLIN, on Sun 27 May 20:32
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