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Luke Donald has had successful season and can win Major in future, says Rob Lee

Rob Lee Posted 28th November 2012 view comments

Luke Donald is ranked world number two, sandwiched between the most exciting young talent in the game and one of the finest golfers ever to pick up a set of clubs.

Therefore, while his season was not as successful as last year, when he won four tournaments and became world number one, I think he will be pretty satisfied; he has three victories worldwide and was part of a winning Ryder Cup team after all.

Donald: the Englishman won three events in 2012

Donald: the Englishman won three events in 2012

The only man above Donald in the rankings is Rory McIlroy and he has had a marvellous campaign; the Ulsterman has tasted victory five times, including one Major and back-to back FedEx Cup triumphs, and won the money list on both sides of the Atlantic.

That money list accolade is something Luke achieved in 2011 and it was always going to be difficult for him to emulate that, and I think he has done well to be as competitive as he has as the little modifications he would have made to try and improve further could have seen him stall.

If Donald has a good driving week he will be right up there as his iron play and short game are absolutely wonderful.

Rob Lee
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Donald is, of course, in that large clutch of very good players never to have won a Major, a group which also features Lee Westwood, Paul Casey, Ian Poulter and Sergio Garcia, but you have no right to win one, like you have no right to get a hole in one.

Luke could have a very fine career and never win a Major, but I certainly wouldn't rule out his hopes of capturing the big one as there aren't many things preventing that dream from being realised.

His room for improvement, though, is from the tee box, as his driving is not as red-hot as the rest of his game, like I said about Westwood's putting in this column a couple of weeks back.

However, players like Jim Furyk have won Majors without being monsters off the tee and if Donald has a good driving week he will be right up there as his iron play and short game are absolutely wonderful.

Plus, he still has time on his side; the Englishman is just 34 and as we've seen from the likes of Mark O'Meara, Vijay Singh and, latterly, Darren Clarke you can still be a massive force even when you hit your forties.

Amazing

McIlroy put the seal on a remarkable year by winning the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai on Sunday, birdieing the last five holes of his final round to pip Justin Rose by two strokes.

The best and most earth-shattering win of Rory's career was when, after falling apart at the 2011 Masters, he won that year's US Open at Congressional by eight shots a few weeks later.

And his most amazing win was his maiden triumph on the PGA Tour at Quail Hollow in 2010, when he picked up 17 birdies and an eagle over the course of the weekend - but I was very impressed by his victory in Dubai, and the birdie he made on 18 was phenomenal.

He didn't have to use the driver off the tee but he did and sent the ball straight down the fairway, and then, when he could have gone for the grandstand finish, he showed great control to get into position with a short iron, wedge up to 15 feet and then knock it in.

I can't praise Rory enough for what he has achieved, and the way he responds to every setback, the way he seems to thrive under pressure and the sheer amount of talent he has got makes me believe he can be a dominant player for the foreseeable future.

ROB'S SKY BET TIPS

The Nedbank Golf Challenge and the Tiger Woods World Challenge are this week's Sky Live golf events and are what I call wheelbarrow tournaments - players will be going along and trying to pick up as many dollars as they can.

Westwood has won the Nedbank for the last two years and is the bookies' 7/2 favourite to win again, but he has sacked his coach and caddie and is in the process of moving to America, so he has a lot going on in his life at the moment.

He has lost a bit of form but I'm sure he would love to record a victory again and at odds of 7/2 with Sky Bet I think he might be able to in a field that also contains Justin Rose, Louis Oosthuizen and Nicolas Colsaerts.

There are ranking points available at the Tiger Woods World Challenge, meanwhile, and winning the tournament last year helped Tiger get back on an upward curve.

Woods will face stiff competition from the likes of Jason Dufner, Bo Van Pelt, Dustin Johnson and Ian Poulter, but with Donald not in action, the 36-year-old, the 11/4 favourite in the betting, will be hoping to eat into the Englishman's lead over him the rankings and head into the winter break on a high.

I think he might just do it.

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