Is Luke Donald ready to take the major championship leap? (Getty Images)
Leading up to the U.S. Open, we'll offer up our thoughts on some of the game's best players and their chances to win at Olympic Club. We start things off with the No. 1-ranked golfer in the world, who's coming off a win at the BMW PGA Championship and looks primed to win his first major.
His 2012 so far: Everything has gone pretty much according to plan this year for Luke Donald. He has two wins at the halfway point in the season (Transitions and BMW PGA Championship) and holds the top spot in the Official World Golf Ranking going into the U.S. Open. He also has five top 10 finishes in his last eight starts since the WGC-Cadillac Championship at Doral.
His record at the U.S. Open: Donald hasn't exactly had the best history at the U.S. Open. Dating back to his first appearance in 2002, he's only posted one top-15 finish in eight starts. Not only that, over the last five years, he's finished T-47, T-45, MC, WD, MC. That's not exactly the kind of record that screams future U.S. Open champion.
Why he could win: Because he's playing some great golf at the moment and should thrive on Olympic Club's tight fairways. While some U.S. Open tracks favor length, this one would seem to favor a guy like Donald, who has the short game to make the necessary par saves, and the accuracy off the tee to keep big numbers off his card. Plus, he won recently, and while that usually doesn't have any bearing on how a player fares at the U.S. Open, it's never a bad thing when a guy is in-form coming into the most grueling test in golf.
Why he could fall short: It seems like we're always talking about Donald as a future major winner, but every time the pressure starts to mount -- as it did going into last year's U.S. Open -- he posts a poor finish. You get the feeling that the pressure could once again be too much. He's never faired well at the the U.S. Open in the past, so it's hard to imagine his first major win coming this week.
Our take: Luke has all the necessary tools to win a major, but we don't think it's going to be this one. Despite playing some of the best golf of anyone on the planet at the moment, we see Donald finishing inside the top-25 at Olympic.
And you? What's your take on Luke Donald's chances this week?
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