Yesterday, Luke Donald made history by becoming the first person to top both the US and European money lists in the same year. Having secured the US crown back in October, taking victory in the Disney Classic with a final round 64, the Englishman knew the European money list would be decided at this weekend’s Dubai World Championship.
The title for Europe’s top earner had come down to a two-horse race between Donald and US Open champion, Rory McIlroy. The young Northern Irishman had to win the event and hope that Donald finished outside the top 9 to snatch the title.
After day one, McIlroy was within touching distance of the leaders, only 2 shots off the pace, while Donald was a further 6 shots adrift following some erratic driving on the back 9. It was expected McIlroy would get off to a fast start, however Donald’s performance over the closing holes had the golfing world scratching their heads. Had the pressure of trying to become the first player in history to win both money titles, got to Donald?
Things started to change come Friday. Donald, finding the consistency he had enjoyed all year in shooting a solid 68, whilst McIlroy struggled to a 71. On Saturday, Donald dealt the hammer blow to McIlroy’s chances with a magnificent 66, hitting 17 of the 18 greens in regulation and leaving the feat of being the first golfer to top both money lists on either side of the Atlantic, tantalisingly close. Rory could once again only shoot a 71 on Saturday and effectively conceded defeat to Donald in his press conference that evening.
A final round 66 from Donald on Sunday saw him take 3rd place in the Dubai World Championship and win the European Tour’s Race To Dubai. Praise has been pouring in for Donald, lead by his defeated Ryder Cup teammate McIlroy: “He’s had an incredible year… he deserves to be No. 1 in the world and deserved to win both Money Lists.”
As public attention turns to this year’s BBC Sports Personality Of The Year, British golfers will reflect on a vintage year in 2011. Two major champions in McIlroy and Darren Clarke, but the incredible achievements of Donald, dominating on both the European and PGA tours, as well as ending the year as World number one, leaves him in good shape to pick up a final honour in 2011.
Tel: +44 131 226 4309