Donald win would be tribute to dad

By Associated PressDecember 7, 2011, 2:35 pm

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – Top-ranked Luke Donald will be encouraged by the memory of his father while making a run at history this weekend.

Donald, who turned 34 on Wednesday, is on the cusp of becoming the first golfer to win both the European Tour and American money titles in the same season

It would rank as his greatest achievement, he said, and one the Englishman would like to win for his late father Colin, who “taught me everything he knew.”

Donald’s father died last month, days before the birth of Donald’s second daughter, Sophia Ann.

“When someone leaves you, you are always reminded of them in certain ways,” Donald said. “I’m sure he’ll be there with me. I’m not sure if I’ll specifically try to think about my father, but, yeah, it would be nice to win one for him.”

Donald, who’s already won the U.S. PGA Tour money title, is in a duel with No. 2-ranked Rory McIlroy for the European money title. The Northern Irishman trails Donald by just under $1 million, so to capture the title he must win the Dubai World Championship and hope that Donald finishes outside the top nine.

Donald could have clinched the title on Sunday, but McIlroy won the Hong Kong Open to keep the European Tour’s end-of-season Race To Dubai alive.

Donald welcomed the chance to go head-to-head with McIlroy, whom he considers a friend and rival.

“I think there is nothing really easy in life. You have to kind of earn those successes, and I fully expect Rory to play well and put some pressure on me,” Donald said. “It’s made me more focused this week and I’m looking forward to the challenge.”

Winning the elusive double wasn’t a goal for Donald at the beginning of the year, but he said it started creeping into his mind after he won the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth in a playoff over Lee Westwood in May. Donald rose to No. 1 with the win, becoming only the 15th player to reach the top ranking in 25 years.

Donald has won three other titles this season, including Disney’s Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals Classic where he took the U.S. money title from Webb Simpson. That put him on course for unprecedented success on both money lists.

“As time went on and I played and won the right tournaments, then certainly it became a goal,” he said. “You know, it’s something I’ve heard other players talk about in the past few years. I remember Ernie (Els) talking about it once and how hard it would be to do but how satisfying it would be to be able to do that.”

For Donald, winning both titles would be a chance “to make history.”

“No one’s officially done it before. I think that’s pretty amazing,” he said. “It’s not easy to travel as much as you do playing both tours and to be able to adjust to the time changes and all that. … If it all works out Sunday, that will be my biggest accomplishment.”

McIlroy said he thought his chance of winning was slim because he was up against one of the world’s most consistent golfers. Donald has finished outside the top 10 only three times this year on the European Tour.

“He’s won four times in a year and all big events – the World Match Play, Wentworth, Scottish Open and obviously Disney when he needed to,” McIlroy said. “And he’s hardly finished outside the top 10. He’s deservedly the No. 1 player at the moment.”

But Robert Karlsson, who won the tournament last year, said McIlroy will have an edge because the Greg Norman-designed Earth course is playing longer than it has in the past. He said at least three of the par 5s will favor the big-hitting McIlroy.

“Luke has another weapon that has taken him to the top of the world and that is his short game,” Karlsson said. “But Rory has a huge advantage getting up to the greens. That is just the way it is.”

If Donald does take the European money title, it is unlikely to silence the detractors who have questioned whether he deserves to be No. 1 because he hasn’t won a major. He tied for fourth at this year’s Masters, eighth at the U.S. PGA Championship and 45th at the U.S. Open. He missed the cut at the British Open.

The composed and low-key Donald said he wasn’t concerned about his critics, insisting that earning the No. 1 spot without winning a major in some ways was more impressive.

“The critics will always be there and they make me stronger to be honest,” Donald said.

“Every time someone says I can’t do anything, it just makes me work harder. So you know, fine. I don’t really mind that there’s critics out there. I’ve had a tremendous year and I’m excited about next year. I think I’m a different player this year because of all the victories. I feel more confident. Hopefully, I can bring the game to the majors.”

Donald returned to the tour only last week from a five-week break, during which he buried his father and welcomed the birth of his daughter. He said the time “was tough, very tough.” But his daughter’s arrival “spread a little grace on the situation” and allowed him to “concentrate my efforts on a new life.”

Reflecting on his father, Donald admitted Colin was more concerned about “bringing him up as a decent person” than passing on golf tips. But Donald still said he remembers many times walking the course with his father when he was a youngster.

“We didn’t play a lot but he would take me out sometimes, even mornings before school and we would go and play a quick nine holes,” he added. “I have fond memories of that.”

Watch: Shilton wins $16k timepiece with hole-in-one

By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 23, 2017, 2:50 am

Australian Brad Shilton made a hole-in-one on the par-3, 188-yard 11th hole during the first round of the Australian Open, and he was rewarded handsomely for his efforts - with a Tag Heuer watch worth $16k.

Day gets in early mix with 66 in return to Australia

By Associated PressNovember 23, 2017, 2:32 am

SYDNEY - Jason Day's first tournament round in Australia in four years was a 5-under 66 to put him among the leaders early Thursday at the Australian Open.

Day's round came unhinged late with a double-bogey 6 on the par-4 eighth hole, his second-last of the day. He hit his tee shot into the trees on the left, hit back out to the fairway, missed his approach to the green and then couldn't get up and down.

''That was brutal,'' Day said of the 481-yard hole that played into gusting winds.

But Day recovered quickly to birdie his last to sit three strokes behind fellow Australian and early leader Cameron Davis, who started on the first, had six front-nine birdies and shot 63 at The Australian Golf Club.

In between the two was Australian Taylor MacDonald, who shot 65.

''It was a pretty solid round, I didn't miss many fairways, I didn't miss many greens,'' Day said. ''I'd give myself a seven or eight out of 10.''

Defending champion Jordan Spieth, attempting to win the Australian Open for the third time in four years, was off to a poor start among the afternoon players, bogeying his first two holes.

The Sydney-born Davis played most of this season on the Mackenzie Tour in Canada and will attempt to secure his Web.com card in the final round of qualifying from Dec. 7-10 in Chandler, Arizona.

''Everything went to plan,'' Davis said. ''I got off to a great start. I was hitting my spots and was able to keep it together on the back nine.''

NOTES: Australian Brad Shilton had the first ace of the tournament, using a 5-iron for a hole-in-one on the par-3, 188-yard 11th hole, his second hole of the day. Australian veteran Geoff Ogilvy, the 2006 U.S. Open winner, shot 69. He and Rod Pampling (68) played the first round with Day.

Day: Woods feeling good, hitting it long

By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 22, 2017, 9:33 pm

Jason Day says Tiger Woods told him he feels better than he has in three years, which is good news for Woods a week ahead of his return to the PGA Tour at the Hero World Challenge.

Day, a fellow Nike endorser, was asked about Woods during his news conference at the Emirates Australian Open on Wednesday. "I did talk to him," Day said, per a report in the Sydney Morning Herald,"and he did say it's the best he's ever felt in three years'" Day said.

"He doesn't wake up with pain anymore, which is great. I said to him, 'Look, it's great to be one of the best players ever to live, but health is one thing that we all take for granted and if you can't live a happy, healthy life, then that's difficult.'"

The Hero World Challenge will be played Nov. 30-Dec. 3 in the Bahamas and broadcast on Golf Channel and NBC.

Day, who has had his own health issues, said he could empathize with Woods.

"I totally understand where he's coming from, because sometimes I wake up in the morning and it takes me 10 minutes to get out of bed, and for him to be in pain for three years is very frustrating."

Woods has not played since February after undergoing surgery following a recurrence of back problems.

"From what I see on Instagram and what he's been telling me, he says he's ready and I'm hoping that he is, because from what I hear, he's hitting it very long," Day said.

"And if he's hitting it long and straight, then that's going to be tough for us because it is Tiger Woods. He's always been a clutch putter and in amongst the best and it will be interesting to see.

"There's no pressure. I think it's a 17- or 18-man field, there's no cut, he's playing at a tournament where last year I think he had the most birdies at."

Move over Lydia, a new Ko is coming to LPGA

By Randall MellNovember 22, 2017, 5:11 pm

Another gifted young South Korean will be joining the LPGA ranks next year.

Jin Young Ko, the Korean LPGA Tour star, informed the American-based LPGA on Sunday night that she will be taking up membership next year. Ko earned the right by winning the LPGA’s KEB Hana Bank Championship as a nonmember in South Korea in October.

Ko, 22, no relation to Lydia Ko, first burst on to the international spotlight with her run into contention at the Ricoh Women’s British Open at Turnberry two years ago. She led there through 54 holes, with Inbee Park overtaking her in the final round to win.

With 10 KLPGA Tour titles, three in each of the last two seasons, Ko has risen to No. 19 in the Rolex Women’s World Rankings.

Ko told GolfChannel.com Sunday afternoon that she was struggling over the decision, with a Monday deadline looming.

“It’s a difficult decision to leave home,” Ko said after the final round of the CME Group Tour Championship in Naples, when she was still undecided. “The travelling far away, on my own, the loneliness, that’s what is difficult.”

Ko will be the favorite to win the LPGA’s Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year Award next year. South Koreans have won that award the last three years. Sung Hyun Park won it this year, In Gee Chun last year and Sei Young Kim in 2015. South Korean-born players have won the last four, with New Zealand’s Lydia Ko winning it in 2014. Ko was born in South Korea and moved to New Zealand when she was 6.

Ko released this statement through the LPGA on Wednesday: 

"It has been my dream since I was young to play on the LPGA Tour and I look forward to testing myself against the best players on a worldwide stage. I know it is going to be tough but making a first win as an LPGA member and winning the Rolex Rookie of the Year award would be two of the biggest goals I would like to achieve next year."