Scottish Open 2012: Luke Donald admits mental problems cause his major disappointments
Just ask Luke Donald. The Englishman has been at the top of golf’s world rankings for a total of 52 weeks, and even if that period of supremacy has been accumulated over four separate spells it still adds up to a whole year of being the undisputed No 1 player on the planet. But he has never finished better than third in a major.
And nor would you say that he has been getting closer with every passing year. His two third places were at the 2005 Masters and the 2006 PGA Championship. His status as the best player never to win a major is established beyond all reasonable doubt. Only Lee Westwood comes close.
Down the years, Donald has fielded questions about his majors record with the same sort of calm precision he displays with a mid-iron in his hands. However, speaking ahead of his defence of the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open title he won at Castle Stuart last year, the 34 year-old opened up as he has rarely done before, admitting that his record owes a lot to the pressure he has been putting on himself in his effort to break his duck.
“I’ve realised it for a while,” Donald said. “I’ve understood that for probably a couple of years. I know it’s a difference in myself. I get a little bit more agitated, a little bit more anxious.”
Just a little bit? A year ago, in his final round here at Castle Stuart, Donald produced a display that came close to golfing perfection. Water sloshed across the course, but Donald appeared to be walking on it as he closed out with a 63. Yet a few days later he was dumped out of the Open at Royal St George’s, missing the cut by three shots.
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