Donald looks to Europe for historic double

 

Luke Donald has made history by winning one money list – and intends to make more by winning another. Never mind becoming the first European to lift the PGA Tour's Arnold Palmer Trophy, he now wants to become the first player of any nationality also to top the European Tour's Order of Merit in the same season.

Donald sealed his American glory with victory in Sunday's Hospitals Classic in Florida, courtesy of a brilliant final-round 64. The £550,000 winner's cheque allowed him to leapfrog Webb Simpson, who had enjoyed a £229,000 lead going into that final event.

It was Donald's fourth title of the year and, he said, "the most satisfying of my career". It extended his lead at the top of the rankings such that there is now a bigger gap between the world No 1 and No 10 in the standings than there is between the No 10 and the No 1,300.

If Donald can maintain his advantage over Rory McIlroy in second on the European Order of Merit his winnings for the year will top the £8m mark. McIlroy is more than £1m behind, but he could make that up with big-money events to come, in next week's WGC event in Shanghai and the season-ending Dubai World Championship.

Donald filed a late entry into the Hospitals Classic when Simpson passed him and he revealed that he might be prepared to alter his schedule again should McIlroy steal an advantage. "Possibly," said Donald. "It would mean a big deal to win both money lists... we'll have to see." The complication is that his wife, Diane, is next month due to give birth to their second daughter.

McIlroy is playing at this week's Shanghai Masters, which boasts a first prize of $2m (£1.25m) – the biggest in golf – but as it is a non-sanctioned event it does not count on the Order of Merit.

Meanwhile Caroline Wozniacki, the world No 1 tennis player, yesterday denied she had any influence on her boyfriend McIlroy's decision to leave Chubby Chandler's ISM agency to switch to Horizon, a smaller agency in Dublin. The Dane told The Independent: "There was no advice from me because I couldn't really say this company's better than the other, since I don't know."

* The Royal and Ancient has changed the rules to exonerate players from a penalty if it is known a ball was moved by the wind after address – a one-shot sanction that cost Simpson a play-off (and $460,800) in New Orleans in May. He lost the money list by $335,861.

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