It did not take long for Luke Donald to retake the top ranked position from Rory McIlroy. The 22 year old from Northern Ireland only held the title of top ranked golfer in the world for two weeks before relinquishing it back to Luke Donald. The Englishmen retook the position after coming out victorious at this past week's Transitions Championship from Tampa, Florida. With only two weeks before he Masters, Donald was in serious need of momentum prior to the first major championship of the year.
What strikes me as a bit strange is that Rory did not even enter the Transitions Championship. Donald's decision to play was wise because the competition was comparably weaker than most events on tour. Out of the top 10 ranked players in the world, only a handful entered the Transitions Championship. There was a noticeable absence of McIlroy, Lee Westwood, Martin Kaymer, Steve Stricker and Charl Schwartzel. Webb Simpson and Justin Rose were the only other two in the top ten to play in the event.
The point is that there is a stark contrast in playing styles between Donald and McIlroy. The prior is sly, choosing his positions wisely and attacking when he sees an opening. Make no mistake that Luke has an all around strong game but it his his mentality that sets him apart from the competition. Contrastingly, McIlroy is an all out, balls to the wall attacker. He seems to always try and pound the ball as far as possible and enters events where there is the most competition. Rory McIlroy plays like he has something to prove whereas Donald already knows that spectators will be watching.
I can't help but think that this might light a new fire under Rory McIlroy, going into the Masters. I am sure the young gun is desperate to take the title back. After all, it has been McIlroy's stated goal ever since he began playing to be the best in the sport. This new fire could make for another incredible performance like we got from him in last year's US Open. Conversely, this might hurt Rory as Augusta National is a notoriously difficult course. Rory knows this first hand.
I await the battle with anticipation. How will Luke Donald perform after his victory in Tampa? Will he get his first major win this season? Or, will Rory McIlroy come right back and retake center stage as the top ranked player in the world? Let's watch and find out.
I am an avid fan of the sport of golf. I enjoy being up to date with all the new faces and watching the close matches on a weekly basis.
- Rory McIlroy
- Luke Donald