Donald the double champion

Luke Donald became the first golfer to finish the year as leading prize-winner on both the US and European Tours. His only challenger on the European Tour, Rory McIlroy, failed to secure the victory he needed to overtake Donald, leaving the world number one to celebrate his unique feat.

Donald was playing in the World Championship in Dubai at the time, where an impressive finish took him into third place behind Paul Lawrie, and the winner, Alvaro Quiros of Spain. He was keeping tabs on McIlroy’s performance at the same time. "I didn't really look at a leaderboard until the 13th," Donald said, "but didn't see Rory's name and so knew it was mine."

It caps an astonishing season for Donald that has seen him claim the world number one position through sheer consistency on both Tours. In the previous five years he had only won one tournament, the Madrid Masters. He went to the head of the world rankings in May, after beating Lee Westwood in a head-to-head play-off at Wentworth.

Donald, a conservative golfer, had already caused a stir at the World Championship by suggesting that McIlroy was a more naturally talented golfer than Tiger Woods. "I think Rory has more pure talent," Donald said. "I have always said that, of the guys I've played with, Rory has the most talent. I see him winning lots of tournaments and lots of majors."

Donald sees McIlroy as a future world-beater. In the meantime the Irishman has Donald ahead of him, on both sides of the Atlantic.

United Kingdom - Excite Network Copyright ©1995 - 2019