Donald relishes taking short cut up rankings

Never mind Phil Mickelson, never mind Tiger Woods even. Britain's Luke Donald has the best short-game in the world. That is the verdict from Martin Kaymer, the man who just happens to be rated as the game's best overall player.

Kaymer, the German who was yesterday confirmed as the new world No 1, witnessed Donald's mastery around the greens at close hand when losing on Sunday at the Accenture World Match Play.

“Luke probably does have the best short-game in the world,“ said Kaymer, who ended Lee Westwood's 17-week reign by dint of reaching the final in Tucson. “I've played with Phil a few times and he 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. It is very impressive and shows me the improvements I have to make.”

The stats back up Kaymer. In the 89 holes he played on the 7,800-yard layout - the longest on the PGA Tour - Donald posted 32 birdies and one-putted a remarkable 46 times. It presented the Englishman with his first win in America for five years and, for the first time, catapulted him into the world's top three. With the Ulsterman Graeme McDowell immediately behind Donald, Europe can boast the world's top four for the first time in almost two decades.

For Donald, this success was vindication for those critics who said a/ he was not long enough and b/ was not hungry enough. “I think unfairly at times, I've been depicted as someone who is very happy contending and picking up cheques, but doesn't really care about winning,“ said the 33-year-old. “And that's as far away from the truth as it can be.”

He added: “No 9 to No 3 seems like a reasonably big jump, but I feel I'm good enough to be No 3. I guess popular opinion would not agree just because of the fact that I haven't won that much. But there's a lot be to said for consistency.”

Donald cannot be accused of being inconsistent. In the last 12 months he has recorded 11 top-threes and in this period has won more money than any other golfer in the world. But despite last May's victory in Madrid, Donald was clearly desperate for more US silverware. He talked afterwards of “getting a monkey off my back” and went on to speculate about what his first WGC title - and England's second after Ian Poulter's glory in the same event last year - might mean to what has been, at times, a frustrating career.

“The most disappointing thing about last season was I didn't really contend in a major, I didn't give myself a chance,“ said Donald. “Hopefully this added confidence will just give me that little bit extra to compete and even pick up a major.”

For now, the objective is to move up the rankings and a follow-up win in this week's Honda Classic - ironically the American event he had previously last won - would see him close to within touching distance of Kaymer. The German is not playing in Florida, but Westwood is and could make an instant return to No 1. But with six Europeans in the world' top eight and with five of them hailing from the United Kingdom the potential for further glory stretches far beyond this week.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before
'Queer saint' Peter Watson left his mark on British culture by bankrolling artworld giants

'Queer saint' who bankrolled artworld giants

British culture owes a huge debt to Peter Watson, says Michael Prodger
Pushkin Prizes: Unusual exchange programme aims to bring countries together through culture

Pushkin Prizes brings countries together

Ten Scottish schoolchildren and their Russian peers attended a creative writing workshop in the Highlands this week
14 best kids' hoodies

14 best kids' hoodies

Don't get caught out by that wind on the beach. Zip them up in a lightweight top to see them through summer to autumn
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The acceptable face of the Emirates

The acceptable face of the Emirates

Has Abu Dhabi found a way to blend petrodollars with principles, asks Robert Fisk