The Open: Luke Donald’s caddie puts his wife and new baby first
ALTHOUGH he wasn’t due to tee-off until 9.42am, Luke Donald had a rude awakening at just after 6am yesterday when his caddie informed him he was leaving for London.
There had been no falling out, nor was the news completely unexpected. Rather, John McLaren had an urgent appointment in the maternity ward of a hospital, where his wife Helen had gone into labour with their first child. Donald had insisted that he should go whenever the call came. The baby had been due to arrive on Wednesday, the day before the Open started.
“She was trying to hold on as long as possible,” smiled Donald yesterday, after he had shot a round of 68 to move to two under par for the tournament. His day ended on a bright note too when he able to post some happy news on Twitter. “Congratulations John & Helen on your new arrival Georgina Elizabeth,” wrote Donald.
The sudden switch of caddies did not unduly faze him. Fortunately, he didn’t have to look too far for a replacement. Donald had a perfect stand-in staying in the same house as him. Caddie Gareth Lord had remained in Lytham after Robert Karlsson withdrew from the tournament on Wednesday. The pair have worked together before, when the Englishman won the 2011 Children’s Miracle Network Classic at Disney World in Florida.
“I’ve been sharing a house with John and Gareth, and when Robert [Karlsson] pulled out he [Gareth] was available,” explained Donald later. “So it worked out well. Obviously I’ve got some history with Lordy, good history. He knows my game and so it was an easy transition.”
Donald has told McLaren to take as much time off as he wants. “I won’t pay him for today, obviously, but he should be around for the birth,” he smiled. “I told John not to rush. For me it was an important thing in my life, to be around for that, especially your first one, and enjoy the experience. But I know what he’s like. He’s very passionate about his job, and he’ll get back when he’s ready.”
McLaren won’t want to miss what could be his paymaster’s chance to win his first major. Donald and Lord were able to build on the solid start made by the world No 1 on Thursday. A run of three consecutive birdies yesterday saw Donald make up ground on the leaders but two bogeys on the back nine undid some of the good work. One of these dropped shots came after he thinned a wedge through the green and into thick rough at the 13th hole. Donald had to take a penalty drop. However, a birdie at the 15th took him back to two under.
“I am certainly feeling more and more comfortable,” said Donald. “Where I am in my career I need to be contending.”
Donald enjoyed the support of the boisterous home galleries. He corrected a message left on his Twitter site where one golf fan had wrongly interpreted the cheering for Donald as booing. “Not Boos, Luuuuke. Great crowd support,” Donald posted.
Earlier, he said: “The crowd’s been great, really vocal. They were just loving it when I made that little bit of a run, at [holes] 4, 5, 6 and 8. I made some good putts there and the crowd were great.”
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Wednesday 22 May 2013
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