Donald relieved after ending PGA Tour title drought

Updated: 2011-02-28 16:05
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Donald relieved after ending PGA Tour title drought
Luke Donald of Britain holds the trophy after beating Martin Kaymer of Germany during the final match of the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championships golf tournament in Marana, Arizona Feb 27, 2011. Donald won the match 3 and 2. [Photo/Agencies]

MARANA, Arizona- Relief seemed to ooze out of every pore of Luke Donald's face as he spoke to the golfing media on Sunday after ending a PGA Tour title drought of five years.

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The Briton had just won the biggest tournament of his career, a 3&2 victory over German Martin Kaymer earning him the prestigious WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship.

"It certainly bothered me," Donald said of his long wait for a third PGA Tour career victory. "My goal every year is to win tournaments. It's a long time since I've tried to play for money, you know.

"My first couple of years, maybe, as a rookie, you think about making your Tour card and making cuts and making enough money to play the next year. But it's been a long time since that."

Donald had not triumphed on the US circuit since the 2006 Honda Classic, although he recorded seven top-10 finishes to end the 2010 season seventh in the money list with earnings of $3.66 million.

"I solely focus on trying to win tournaments," said the Englishman, who will rise to a career-high third in the world rankings on Monday.

"I felt like I hadn't won my fair share for as good a player as I felt I was and could be. It was frustrating to me. Winning in Europe took a little bit off but obviously it was a little bit of a smaller event, not a field like this."

Donald claimed the third European Tour victory of his career at last year's Madrid Masters.

"But to come here and compete against the best players in the world and win the trophy is very gratifying," he added, referring to the elite World Golf Championships (WGC) event that brings together the world's top 64.

Winning objective

Asked what his next objective might be after winning his first WGC title, Donald replied: "Hopefully I gain a lot of confidence from it and I go on to win more events. Every year, the goal is to win tournaments and to try and win majors.

"I had a very consistent year last year, won once in Europe and had 10 top-threes around the world. I was certainly knocking on the door, but I wasn't winning.

"The most disappointing thing about last season was I didn't really contend in a major, I didn't really have a chance."

Donald is renowned for his superb short game but, as a medium-length hitter in a sport increasingly dominated by power drivers of the ball, he made a tactical error four years ago to try to beef up his golf.

"Back in 2007 ... I decided to try to hit the ball a little bit farther, to try to catch up to some of my peers, and I think it made my swing get off kilter," he said.

"And it's taken a good two or three years for it to get back to almost where I need it to be."

For Kaymer, who will take over from Britain's Lee Westwood as world number one on Monday, Donald's consistency and short game mark him out as a player to command the highest respect.

"He's definitely one of the most consistent players on the Tour and I think he's probably the best in the world in the short game at the moment," Kaymer said.

"I have played with Phil Mickelson a few times and it is unbelievable. But what Luke is doing at the moment is a joke. Wherever he is, you know that he will make the up-and-down if he doesn't hole it."

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