World #1: Donald ducks major criticism
Being honest, it offends me a little when people suggest that no-one outside of golf knows who our No.1 player in the world is right now.
Oh sure, they know of Luke Donald, but they feel he lacks the necessary charisma of a Tiger Woods or even a Phil Mickelson or maybe even a Greg Norman to get much-needed publicity for the sport.
Of course the fact he hasn’t won a major yet does count against Donald.
And one commentator – not from golf – actually tried to suggest that the trouble with golf was that it rewarded mediocrity.
By that he means that, like tennis, you can make a heck of a lot of money without actually winning.
No-one would be more frustrated by that than Luke Donald.
All you can do is keep putting yourself in contention and the breaks, the rankings and maybe even the majors will come your way.
Donald, whose English, by the way, is a brilliant iron player and a wonderful putter as well.
He mastered the best players in the world in the matchplay championship in California earlier in the year and when he came up against Lee Westwood in what turned into a battle for the No.1 spot in the world, again he was able to get the job done – and attain that lofty mantle.
He commented that it would be nice to one day tell his grandkids that he was once rated the No.1 golfer on the planet.
Not a bad reward for mediocrity.
We often joke in our Saturday four-ball that golf is not so much about hitting so many good shots but making your bad shots not that bad.
Our other joke is the difference between a bad shot and a good one can only be about one dimple on your golf ball.
If that’s the truth than Donald is hitting less bad shots than anyone in the world and is hitting the right dimple more often than anyone else.
So win, lose or draw, there’s a lot to be said for hitting that many good shots.
And say what you like about the rankings that can reward a player with No.1 status without winning a major and I have no problem taking you on about that one either.
Come up with a better system than the one we’ve got – the one that had Tiger Woods as world No.1 for longer than I care to remember – and we’ll be happy to adopt it.
The short answer to that is – there’s isn’t one.
So let’s not detract from Donald’s superb effort to get himself to the top of those very rankings we choose to criticize.
I’d go so far as say that Donald would have been on top at the moment no matter what rankings you decided to operate by.
Let him bask in the glory of his achievement and cop the glory, the plaudits, the dollars and sponsorships and yes, the extra money that goes with it.
And besides Tiger’s got plenty of all those things.
Now if Luke could just win a major!