x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 18 January 2018

Luke Donald on the cusp of greatness

The Englishman could finish top of both the European and PGA tours' money lists, but a major still eludes him.

Luke Donald tops both the European Tour and PGA Tour money lists.
Luke Donald tops both the European Tour and PGA Tour money lists.

When Nick Faldo, the greatest golfer the British Isles has ever produced, talks about a golfing feat as "almost impossible" then you are inclined to sit up and take notice.

The six-time major winner was talking about the possibility of being the leading money winner on both the US PGA Tour and the European Tour.

"I always thought [it was] almost impossible," Faldo said. "Players, obviously, can't be at two places at once, so you miss out on a lot of tournaments, meaning that for someone to even have a chance of topping both money lists mean they would have to be amazingly consistent."

Luke Donald is on the cusp of becoming the first player to achieve the remarkable feat.

With the PGA Tour money list title secured after he came from five shots back to win the Children's Miracle Network Hospitals Classic at Disney in Florida on Sunday, the 33 year old will have to suffer a serious loss of form in the next seven tournaments if he arrives in Dubai in anything other than pole position in the Race to Dubai.

He is already €1.3 million (Dh6.6m) clear of Rory McIlroy, his nearest challenger. Add together the €3.8m European Tour money and the US$6.68m PGA Tour money and it has been quite a year for the Englishman. And he is about to become a father for the second time.

"It's been a tremendous year for me," Donald said.

Yet still, like Lee Westwood, questions linger over his failure to win a major.

"The only thing that's missing now is a major and I will give everything I can to win one next year," Donald said. "I feel I have the game and also the confidence. I would back myself to win a major soon."

It is the only thing missing from Donald's CV. By winning at Disney, he also clinched the PGA of America award as player of the year over Webb Simpson. That honour is based on a points system. And he clinched another, if more obscure, title in the Mark H McCormack Award for being No 1 in the world rankings for the most weeks in a calendar year.

Donald took over at No 1 on May 29, and now has a 3.27-point lead over Westwood.

Donald has had 14 top-10 finishes in just 19 starts on the PGA Tour. Only Tiger Woods at his peak could match that.

* With agency