Masters 2013: Getting to know Jamie Donaldson
Sunday, April 7, 2013
To get you ready for the 2013 Masters, we are breaking down the amateurs and first-timers that will play at Augusta National starting on Thursday, April 11.
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Hometown: Pontypridd, Wales
How he qualified: Top 50 in the Official World Golf Ranking as of Dec. 31, 2012; top 50 in the Official World Golf Ranking as of April 1
Jamie Donaldson seemed destined to go through his career with the dreaded “journeyman” label around his neck. That was until two performances not many expected from the Welshman.
Donaldson earned his maiden European Tour win last year when he won the Irish Open at Royal Portrush after 11 years and 254 tournaments as a European Tour pro. Anyone who thought that was merely a flash in the pan got a bit of shock when 14 tournaments and six months later he won the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship.
Those performances seemed to come straight out of left field. After all, Donaldson had never finished higher than 38th on the money list.
“It’s pretty surreal really,” Donaldson said after the Abu Dhabi victory. “I had at four years in the wilderness.”
Those wilderness years came between 2004 and 2007. He suffered a back injury in 2004 that saw him play only 10 tournaments on the main tour. He lost his card and had to play on the European Challenge Tour.
He won three times on the junior circuit to earn his way back onto the main tour. Still, he looked like the sort of guy who just made up the numbers rather than a potential tournament winner.
“Perseverance is a big word,” Donaldson said, “It took me three or four years to find out where I left off when I had the injury. It's just been a rebuilding process, just finding things that work to put in the whole package to be able to just keep getting better every year.”
Donaldson’s Portrush victory gave him a two-year European Tour exemption. He briefly considered going for a PGA Tour card. However, he stayed in Europe to try to get as far up the Official World Golf Ranking to try to qualify for the Masters.
Abu Dhabi took care of his Masters invitation. It also means many more appearances in the majors and World Golf Championships.
“I certainly don't put any limits on where I can go from here,” he said. “My goal has always been very high, sometimes too high.
“I'm looking forward to playing all of the events in America that we get to play this year, and looking forward to opening new doors and playing new events on new golf courses.”
The door to the Augusta National locker room is the first of those doors. Another could be the entrance to the European team's locker room at next year’s Ryder Cup.
“It's a dream of mine. I would absolutely love to play in The Ryder Cup.”
Such talk would have seemed fanciful as recently as June last year. After the best six months of his life, it doesn’t sound so unbelievable.