MARCH 19, 2012
Luke Donald: No majors
but a major star
PALM HARBOR, FLORIDA |
It has become
increasingly fashionable, in the misguided
opinions of too many critics with too little
else on their minds, to bang on the Official
World Golf Rankings and the perceived
meaninglessness of being No. 1.
The twittery din reached a deafening
roar last year when Lee Westwood and
Luke Donald both did time at the top spot.
The problem, according to all the uncom-
mon scolds, was that neither of those two
players had won a major championship.
Here’s a news flash:
It’s harder to reach No. 1 than it is to
win a major championship. Much harder.
Consider this list: Tiger Woods, Greg
Norman, Nick Faldo, Seve Ballesteros,
Fred Couples, Ernie Els, Bernhard Langer,
Tom Lehman, Vijay Singh, Nick Price,
Ian Woosnam, David Duval and Martin
These are all the players who, along
with Donald and Westwood, have achieved
No. 1 since the rankings were introduced
prior to the 1986 Masters.
Not a stiff in the bunch. (Okay, Duval
is a ghost of his former golfing self. But
he was great once.) Extra style points
this week, by the way, go to Donald who
wrested back the top spot from McIlroy by
winning a four-way playoff in Florida.
Now, consider this list: Steve Jones,
Scott Simpson, Larry Mize, Paul Lawrie,
Ben Curtis, Todd Hamilton, Mark Brooks,
Y.E. Yang, Rich Beem and Wayne Grady.
All fine players. All major champions
since 1986. But none of them ever sniffed
a serious whiff of No. 1 at any point during
have never won a major championship.
It’s like blaming the Johnstown flood on a
leaky faucet in Altoona.
With apologies to Faldo, I’ll take Don-
ald’s or Westwood’s career body of work
every time over Aaron’s or Coody’s one-hit
Masters wonder status.
Donald arrived at the Transitions hav-
ing top-tenned in 22 of his last 42 PGA
Tour events. In 2011, he finished first on
the European and U.S. money lists. That
has to and must count for a lot. Critical
snobs be damned.
To be sure, what Donald and Westwood
have done is more difficult, if not more
important, than winning a major.
Which is not to say making a six-foot
putt for the U.S. Open is easy. It’s just that
– to paraphrase Ben Crenshaw – anybody
can hit it on the right jerk. l
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