Luke Donald is back on top of the world. After a victory at the BMW PGA Championship, Donald regained the No. 1 spot in the World Golf Rankings. The win was his second straight at this tournament, and it came pretty easy.
Donald's four-shot victory margin was certainly more comfortable than his playoff win in 2011. Meanwhile, Rory McIlroy missed another cut and failed to put up a good fight in the battle for No. 1. Right now, Donald has the edge between the two. However, winning a major is the only way he will earn the respect he deserves.
Donald had a historic season in 2011. He finished on top of the PGA and European Tour money lists, becoming the first golfer to ever top both in the same year. In my opinion, that should be enough for golf fans to consider him one of the best in the world. However, a disappointing showing at the majors in 2011 hurt his reputation. After gaining the No. 1 spot for the first time in 2011, Donald struggled at the big events. He finished outside of the top 40 at the U.S. Open and missed the cut at the British Open. A top-10 finish at the PGA Championship was nice, but Donald flamed out at the Masters in April. If you are measuring him by his performance at the last four majors, you probably aren't impressed by anything he has done.
It might not be fair to evaluate a player based solely on majors, but that is the reality of golf. Donald is going to face criticism until he finally breaks through at a big event. Obviously, he will do himself a big favor if he wins one.
His next shot will come at the U.S. Open in June. Donald's 12th-place finish at the 2006 U.S. Open is his best at the event. However, he has not finished better than 45th in any U.S. Open since then. As talented as he is, Donald has struggled at the biggest tournaments. If he wants to make his No. 1 ranking legitimate, he will have to do what McIlroy did in 2011. If Donald wins a major in 2012, his edge over McIlroy will grow exponentially. Right now, McIlroy is still the favorite at majors.* - Mark Paul is an avid golf fan. He has watched and played the game since high school.
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