Players see Tiger and not Donald as the real No 1, says Nicklaus
Thursday 02 June 2011
Luke Donald begins his competitive life as the world No 1 today at the Memorial with the predictable question marks greeting his ascent. But in the unlikely event this unflappable Englishman was looking for a backer to state his case he couldn't have chosen any better than Jack Nicklaus.
The 18-times major champion is the host of this £4m tournament at Muirfield Village, Ohio, and is plainly not of the same opinion as his former rival Lee Trevino. "Luke Donald, how can he be No 1?" Trevino was quoted by Golf magazine as saying. "He's won one tournament in the last five years!"
Donald has actually won four in this time. Two of them have come in the last four months and just happened to be two of the bigger titles on the calendar – the WGC Match Play in February and the PGA Championship last Sunday. At least Nicklaus recognises not only the 33-year-old's quality but also his work ethic.
"There isn't anybody who spends more time working on his golf game than I've seen in Luke," said Nicklaus. "He spends his time chipping and putting, chipping and putting, and I mean, he wears out the practice greens. The effort he has put into it has been rewarded."
Nicklaus believes Donald has all that it takes to make a major breakthrough at Congressional later this month. "Luke should always do well on the US Open golf courses," said the 71-year-old, "because length is not the primary factor." Nevertheless, Nicklaus was prepared to relegate Donald on one list. "I think if you asked the players who is No 1, they would still say Tiger [Woods]," he said.
Woods is not at the Memorial as he tries to recover from his latest knee injury in time for the US Open in two weeks' time. But Donald will tee it up alongside the world No 4, Phil Mickelson, as well as the Masters champion Charl Schwartzel, the defending champion Justin Rose and Ulsterman Rory McIlroy.
Meanwhile, the Wales Open tees off today with four of the victorious European Ryder Cup team returning to Celtic Manor, as well as their captain, Colin Montgomerie. Graeme McDowell, the defending champion, heads the challenge along with Ross Fisher, Peter Hanson and Miguel Angel Jimenez.
Latest in Sport
Arsenal transfer news: Gunners given boost in hunt for Marco Reus, why Wenger signed Gabriel Paulista, no move for Cheick Tiote
Australian Open 2015: Thanks to Amelie Mauresmo, it's no longer Andy Murray against the world
Transfer news and rumours LIVE: Juan Cuadrado to Chelsea, Cristiano Ronaldo to Manchester City, United want Gareth Bale
Liverpool transfer news: Reds want Hannover captain Lars Stindl to replace Steven Gerrard; Andy Carroll 'lost respect' for Brendan Rodgers
Kim Sears 'swearing' outburst threatens to overshadow Andy Murray's Australian Open semi-final win
- 1 Stephen Fry explains what he would say if he was 'confronted by God'
- 2 Venezuela Expo Tattoo 2015: Extreme body art from 'Vampire Woman' to 109mm earlobes
- 4 Ball pool for adults opens in London
Stephen Fry explains what he would say if he was 'confronted by God'
9 reasons Greece's experiment with the radical left is doomed to failure
Have we reached 'peak food'? Shortages loom as global production rates slow
British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia
Liberal Democrat minister defends comments suggesting immigration causes pub closures
Hard line on immigration could cost Tories the election