If it feels like you’re suffering a case of déjà vu, don’t worry, you’re not the only one. For the second year in a row, Luke Donald captured the BMW PGA Championship and, in the process, moved back to No. 1 in the Official World Golf Ranking.
The first time around was a little more memorable than this year’s victory — Donald went to No. 1 for the first time even in his career with a playoff victory over Lee Westwood — but that obviously doesn’t make Sunday’s four-shot win any less important.
Donald hasn’t been out of the spotlight very much over the past year, but in the last couple of months, it seemed like all everyone wanted to talk about was when Rory McIlroy was going to put a stranglehold on the top spot in the rankings — even though the 23-year-old and Donald had swapped the top spot on five different occasions (now six after Sunday) in the last 12 months.
But after his second consecutive win at the BMW PGA Championship, there’s no question who the best player (at least as far as the OWGR is concerned) in golf is at the moment. With the win, Donald has now posted two wins in his last seven events, including five top-10 finishes.
[Related: Els apologizes for outburst at Wentworth]
With the exception of Jason Dufner, Donald will head to Olympic Club as one of the top favorites. The big question now is if he’s finally ready to live up to the lofty major expectations that have been put on him ever since he took over the No. 1 spot last year at Wentworth.
For the most part, Donald has looked incredibly uncomfortable as the prohibitive favorite, finishing T-45 at last year’s U.S. Open and missing the cut at the British Open, before posting a T-8 at the PGA Championship.
But a lot has changed in the last year since he moved into the top spot. He finally seems comfortable with not only the the ranking, but the increased media attention. And based on the way he handled Wentworth — a course that was playing like a major championship — he seems to be thriving when the course conditions get ratcheted up a couple notches.
However, it still remains to be seen if he’s ready to put it all together and legitimize not only the ranking, but the hype surrounding him as well. His game appears to say he’s ready. We’ll get a chance to see if that’s indeed the case in three weeks’ time.
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