AUGUSTA, Ga. – Luke Donald is not the longest hitter on the PGA Tour, but he is arguably the best short-game player.
And the World No. 1 thinks that attribute suits Augusta National.
“I feel very good about this course. I think having a good short game is important around here,” said Donald, who won the Transitions Championship in March. “Having good feel on the greens, I think it happens most weeks, that the guy who putts really well is going to have a chance. And obviously that’s been a good strength of mine the last few years.”
Donald said he has learned how to win tournaments over the past year, even when he is not playing his best. That can help come Sunday at the Masters.
“I think that’s what’s very magical about this tournament is usually Sunday is a great chance to make a run,” said Donald, who finished T-4 in 2011. “Some of the pins are in feeder places where you can make some eagles, make some birdies. And it just makes this event very exciting. It doesn’t mean you necessarily have to press to do well. But if you’re playing well, you can certainly make a run on the back nine.”
While cliche, Donald said he needs to stay within himself if he hopes to win his first major championship, especially if it is going to be at Augusta.
“I think it goes back to thinking that I need to do more than I actually realize I do,” said Donald, who will not try for a title defense Wednesday at the Par 3 Contest. “And I think that’s why this year has really helped me to kind of figure that out. I think a lot of people put too much pressure on yourself, and you go out there and you press a little bit too hard, and suddenly you’re a few shots back and trying to play catch‑up.
“Obviously knowing that just playing my game is a good thought to have for me.”
Despite being No. 1 in the Official World Golf Ranking, Donald doesn’t enter the tournament as the favorite. In fact, he’s a little bit off the radar, and likes it that way.
“Obviously Tiger (Woods) is always the guy that pushes the needle the most, and obviously Rory (McIlroy) gets a lot of attention now,” Donald said. “But for me, that’s probably a good thing. I can kind of go about my business and just get on with things.”
A win on Sunday, and Donald might not have that luxury any longer.