The Open: Luke Donald takes inspiration from great Seve Ballesteros
LUKE Donald will never be a Seve Ballesteros in terms of charisma but his short game sometimes evokes memories of the great Spaniard. And, if the battle for the Claret Jug this week boils down to chipping and putting, Donald reckons he’s got a great chance to follow in Seve’s footsteps by becoming an Open winner at Lytham.
In just about every press conference so far this week, players have been asked about Ballesteros making a birdie from the car park – these days the nearest car park is a bus ride away from the course – at the 16th on his way to claiming the first of two title triumphs here, in 1979.
Donald was no different in enjoying recalling that iconic moment. “Seve was known as someone who would hit it wild off the tee and use his short game to get out of trouble,” said the world No 1. “No matter where he was, he felt he could get out of trouble.
“I think that should give me some heart. I’ve not always been known as the guy who hits consistently straight, tee to green, but I have a great short game. I have great skills to get the ball in the hole, no matter how I’m playing. I’ve got to go into the tournament with the same kind of fun attitude [as Seve].”
A year ago, Donald’s name was on the lips of many as a potential winner at Sandwich, having warmed up by winning the Scottish Open at Castle Stuart. Instead, he was home for the weekend due to a combination of playing poorly and failing to deal properly with the expectations, both his own and those of the British fans.
He spoke at Castle Stuart about how he’s changed his attitude to try and ease the pressure, and has arrived in Lancashire feeling satisfied with his game after a three-week break since the US Open in San Francisco.
“I felt quite comfortable last week at the Scottish Open,” he said of finishing in a tie for 16th in Inverness. “I hit a lot of very solid tee shots and that’s what you need to do around here. I like this course and I think it is set up great. It’s very tough but also very fair.
“There’s no escaping [trouble] on some holes. You aren’t going to find lucky lies in the rough. You’re not going to able to get to the greens from bunkers. You’ve just got to set up there and hit good shots. It’s about hitting fairways. It’s about hitting greens. Hopefully I can do that.”
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