HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S. CAROLINA |
For the second time this year,
surrendered his spot atop the
world golf rankings, falling to second
Donald needed to finish eighth
or better at the RBC Heritage to
retain the top spot but he was never a
factor at Harbour Town. After posting
two second-place finishes and third in
his three previous visits to the Heritage,
Donald finished outside the top 35. He
attributed his struggles at The Masters
and Heritage to a lack of sharpness in
his usually reliable short game.
and enjoyed it and hopefully I can get
it back again. It’s never really been the
focus. Obviously, there was a lot more
focus the first time around, trying to get
to No. 1. Now my focus is solely on try-
ing to win tournaments and win majors.”
It will be the focus of his practice
attention before he returns for the
Zurich Classic in New Orleans.
After New Orleans, Donald plans
to play The Players Championship, the
BMW PGA Championship on the Europe-
an Tour, the Memorial and the U.S. Open.
As for No. 1, Donald won’t dwell on it.
“Is it a concern? No,” Donald said.
“Obviously, I would have liked to have
played a bit more consistently this year.
I built up a nice lead last year through
some good tournaments and winning a
bunch and being consistent. This year
hasn’t been quite as consistent. As a
result, there’s a little bit of fluctuation
in the world rankings now. So, it’s noth-
ing I’m too worried about.”
Players got their first looks last
week at a collection of changes made
to Harbour Town
and the reviews were largely positive.
Donald held the No. 1 spot for 40
weeks, lost it to McIlroy for two weeks,
then held it four more weeks after his
victory in the Transitions Championship.
The changes weren’t massive. The
most significant were building new
tees at the par- 4 third, par- 5 15th and
par- 4 16th holes, adding less than 100
yards to the tight, tree-lined layout.
Dye also tweaked some bunkers and
did some landscaping around the left
front of the 18th green where erosion
was becoming an issue.
“I didn’t have it just for a few weeks,”
Donald said. “I had it for something like
40 or 45 weeks, so I’ve experienced it
“(The changes) were pretty unneces-
sary,” Donald said. “This is one of those
classic courses that didn’t need too much
lengthening ... This is a thinking man’s
Another alligator cruises along the
eighth fairway at Harbour Town.
, caddie for
isn’t afraid of alligators.
When Gay’s third shot at Har-
bour Town’s par- 5 15th hole Friday
stopped near a six-foot gator and its
baby, Henley took it upon himself to
move the leathery local residents
into a nearby lagoon.
Henley grabbed a bunker rake and
tried to prod the gator off the green-
side bank. After persistent prodding,
the gator finally dipped into the water
so play could continue.
“He wouldn’t leave,” Henley said.
“We shooed him off about 10 times.” l
course. Every shot demands your atten-
tion. You have to put it in specific spots.”
Donald pointed to the extra 25 yards
added by the new tee at No. 16 as
change he wouldn’t have made.
“The whole point there was whether
to hit a driver or 3-wood off the tee and
risking getting in the way of the tree (in
the fairway). Now, you just grab a driver.
It’s taken all the thought out of that shot.”
agreed about the new tees
at the third and 16th holes, while saying
course changes never satisfy everyone.
“No matter what changes you make,
there’s going to be 50 opinions on it,
25 one way and 25 will be the other,”
It was an odd week at Harbour Town
Davis Love III
, a five-time
champion, wasn’t in the field for the
first time in 26 years.
Love made a late commitment on
the Friday before the event but was
forced to withdraw due to a cracked rib
he suffered in late March.
On Friday, Love came to the island to
honor a sponsor commitment while his
, kept the house they A
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