Donald a contrarian but makes it work

By Randall MellFebruary 16, 2012, 11:58 pm

LOS ANGELES – Luke Donald doesn’t strike you as a contrarian.

The mild-mannered Englishman doesn’t strike you as a control freak, either.

As a player, though, he’s intensely both, and that may be exactly why he ascended to No. 1 in the world rankings.

Donald, 34, is off to a solid start in his 2012 PGA Tour debut, posting a 1-under-par 70 Thursday at the Northern Trust Open. In tough, windy conditions at Riviera, he’s in the early mix in a bid to uphold his status as player of the year on the PGA and European tours last year.

Though his nature can seem so pleasantly agreeable, Donald is almost defiant in his approach to the way the game is played today.

With almost everyone chasing distance in this power era, Donald’s seeking more control.

He said as much the day before play began at Riviera, explaining how he believed his focus on honing a razor-sharp short game propelled him to No. 1. He explained how chasing distance probably led to his wrist injury and surgery in 2008.

After Thursday’s round, Donald revealed another staggering development in his approach. He made a significant change in his equipment in the offseason. He shortened the shaft in his TaylorMade R11 driver, abandoning a 44½ inch shaft for a 43½ inch shaft this season. This is like a NASCAR driver going to an engine with less horsepower. It flies in the face of what most every player’s chasing in this power era.

Donald ought to play in plus fours and a Hogan cap. He’s a throwback.

“It’s old school, yeah,” Donald said.

Fred Couples admires the way Donald is getting it done.

“He’s the No. 1 player because he plays very consistent and wins,” Couples said.

Give Donald credit. He has his own plan, and he’s boldly devoted to it.

Let the world tilt at windmills in a bid to conquer golf courses with power. Donald is cleverly finding another way, an old-fashioned way.

“I’m starting to control the ball off the tee a little bit better, hitting a lot more greens, more fairways,” Donald said. “I’m really just playing within myself.”

Donald has never been long. He was 147th on the PGA Tour in driving distance last year. He’s the second-shortest hitter (based on driving-distance average) to win PGA Tour Player of the Year honors. And Donald has never been a particularly straight driver. He ranked 57th in driving accuracy last year while ranking 86th overall in ball striking.

What really matters is Donald led the PGA Tour in scoring average (68.86). He did it by leading the Tour in putting and finishing eighth in scrambling.

“I always believe scoring starts from the hole backwards,” Donald said. “If you can focus on that a lot, that’s going to be a key. That’s going to be a key this week [at Riviera] with these greens.”

Donald is becoming a magician around the greens. He showed off his short-game prowess at Riviera Thursday. At the eighth hole, he drilled his drive right down the middle. Unfortunately for Donald, that’s a terrible place to be at the eighth. It’s a split fairway with a small ravine in the middle. After slashing out of a tough spot, Donald faced a difficult pitch from 40 yards to a pin tucked at the back of a crowned green.

With a sand wedge, Donald got clever. He played the ball back in his stance and hit a low spinner, delicately running his pitch to tap-in range for par.

“Obviously, it came off just right,” Donald said.

Though Donald seeks control, he acknowledges he wants more distance, but he’s seeking it differently. He’s working on a more efficient swing. He believes he can hit the ball farther with a shorter shaft with a more efficient swing bolstered by work in the gym. He’ll not sacrifice control in his pursuit of power, though.

Donald believes it’s a formula that can help him break through to win his first major championship.

“I hope so,” Donald said. “I certainly feel my game is good enough now to win majors. I don’t feel like I have any huge weaknesses.”

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Rose leads halted Indonesian Masters; Snedeker WDs

By Associated PressDecember 15, 2017, 2:04 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose held a three-stroke lead at the Indonesian Masters when bad weather stopped play Friday during the second round.

The Englishman, who shot a 10-under 62 on Thursday, had completed 13 holes and was 5 under on the day at the Royale Jakarta Golf Club course.

Kiradech Aphibarnrat (64) was in second place.

Brandt Snedeker withdrew wit on the 11th hole at 2 under for the day after shooting an opening 72.

There was no reason given for his withdrawal, but the American has been affected by a rib-sternum injury for most of the season. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters.

Newsmaker of the Year: No. 2, Donald Trump

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 1:00 pm

Even away from the White House, President Donald Trump generated plenty of headlines this year.

Trump’s first year in office didn’t dim his enthusiasm for the game, as he made splashy appearances at two big events, tweeted about golf to his more than 44 million followers, teed it up with some of the sport’s biggest stars, including Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Lexi Thompson, and fired a few eyebrow-raising scores. Logging more than 75 rounds since his inauguration, the 3-handicap has only bolstered his reputation as the best golfing president, particularly after his alleged 73 with Sen. Lindsey Graham.

None of his appearances created a bigger stir than when he attended the U.S. Women’s Open. Despite protests and calls for the USGA to move its premier women’s event from Trump Bedminster – the president reportedly threatened to sue – his weekend there went off without incident, as Trump watched the action and hosted players in his private box near the 15th green.

Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year

Despite his controversial rhetoric on a variety of national issues, Trump has remained a staunch supporter of women’s golf, and he became the first sitting president to attend the U.S. Women’s Open.

An honorary chairman of the Presidents Cup, Trump also flew to Liberty National for the biennial team event, where he presented the trophy to the U.S. team and dedicated the victory to the hurricane victims in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico.

In late November, amid tweets about the national anthem, Turkey, Egypt and Time Magazine, Trump announced that he was playing a round in South Florida with Woods and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson.

Yes, that too became a headline, just like everything else Trump did in 2017.

Playing with the pros

Tiger, DJ and Faxon

Article: Video, images from Tiger, DJ's round with Trump

Article: After DJ and Tiger, Trump plays golf with Jack

Rory faces criticism

Article: Rory: Round with Trump about respect for presidency

Article: Rory: Round with Trump not a 'political statement'

President at the Presidents Cup

Video: President Trump makes the rounds at Liberty National

Article: President Trump presents trophy to U.S. team

Article: Stricker: 'Great thrill' to get trophy from Trump

Purported round of 73 with Lindsey Graham

Article: Senator tweets Trump shot 73 in windy, wet conditions

Article: Graham offers details on Trump's round of 73

Cart on the green

Article: Trump appears to drive cart on Bedminster green

Presence and protests at U.S. Women's Open

Article: Trump makes presidential history at Women's Open

Article: Trump supporters, protesters clash near Women's Open

Article: UltraViolet takes protest inside Trump National

Photo gallery: President Trump at the U.S. Women's Open

Trump golf properties


Article: Environmental group vandalizes Trump golf course

Article: Man accused of vandalizing four Trump courses


Article: Two Trump courses in Scotland losing millions

Article: Eric Trump denies Russia helped fund golf courses

Article: Trump company ordered to pay $5.77M in dues dispute

Reportedly fake TIME covers

Article: Trump clubs display fake Time magazine cover

Trump apologizes for voter-fraud story

Report: Trump's voter fraud claim tied to Langer

Langer: Trump 'apologized' for story mix-up

Pros comment on the president

Article: Players defend Trump at Senior PGA Championship

Article: Trump congratulates Daly; Daly congratulates Trump

Getty Images

Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 12:30 pm

Spieth, Thomas headline winter break trip to Cabo

By Grill Room TeamDecember 15, 2017, 1:05 am

Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth. Really good at golf. Really good at vacationing.

With #SB2K18 still months away, Thomas and Spieth headlined a vacation to Cabo San Lucas, and this will shock you but it looks like they had a great time.

Spring break veteran Smylie Kaufman joined the party, as did Thomas' roommate, Tom Lovelady, who continued his shirtless trend.

The gang played all the hits, including shoeless golf in baketball jerseys and late nights with Casamigos tequila.

Image via tom.lovelady on Instagram.

In conclusion, it's still good to be these guys.