Luke Donald's Diary - 10/18/2010 - Ryder Cup Recap

by Luke Donald on October 18, 2010

I’ve not been to a tournament yet in America to find out what the reaction is to the Ryder Cup. I know my American friends will be just as generous in their reaction, though, as they were on the Monday night when we Europeans celebrated our nail-biting victory.

I thoroughly enjoyed myself at Celtic Manor. I’ve always said to everyone that I love Ryder Cup. I love that team atmosphere and match play. It was great to get back into the swing of things after missing out in 2008.  My game always seems to rise to the occasion of the Ryder Cup. I had a great Ryder Cup, winning three out of four points and joint top scorer of both teams.   While I’m proud of an impressive record in the matches, more importantly the team won.

I’ve been fortunate enough to be on three winning teams. This one was a little closer than the other two, but it was still just as satisfying.

I’ll have the memory of two shots for life. Both came when playing with Ian Poulter in the Sunday foursomes. On the 14th the rough was pretty thick but I was fortunate that I was with the grain. The only club that would come out well was my CLK. It was a daunting shot, would have been even if I’d been on the fairway, but the ball came out perfectly. I just carried the water and landed within about eight feet of the flag.

In the end we actually still lost the hole but it was a shot that gave us a chance and it kind of motivated us. We didn’t look back after that and went one-up on 16 with a solid par. Then came the second shot that will live in my memory forever.  On 17 I thought “if I can hit this close it will really put the pressure on them”. I didn’t really fancy going down the 18th. It’s always nerve-racking when you go down the last with everything resting on it.

It was one of those shots you know has really come off. I was in between a four and five-iron. The way that green is, decided me. There’s a big bank behind the pin. So I decided to take on extra club, the four-iron. I had 196 yards. I hit a little cut and it came off perfectly. As soon as I hit it I knew it was going to be good. Ian and I were overjoyed to watch it land. It was about two and a half feet.

It was great to clinch my singles against Jim on the Monday. But then I had a couple of hours as a supporter. I think it was harder watching the team trying to get over the line than it was playing!

The celebrations when we pulled off such a thrilling victory will stay in my memory as well. Obviously with everything hinging on Graeme’s win it was very emotional. We had a lot of steam to let off.

Because the singles finished a bit earlier than they would do normally, with the Monday finish, the celebrations started early as well. As soon as Graeme’s match finished there was a lot of champagne. We sang to the crowd, they sang back to us.

We spent a lot of time in the American locker room. They spent a lot of time in ours. It was all very convivial and friendly. That’s how it should be. We are trying our hardest to beat them during the match but when it’s all over we respect each other.

We celebrated until the early hours. We were very happy to keep that cup from going back over the Atlantic.

It had been a heady time for me before the Ryder Cup. I had a great FedEx Cup and nearly took it all at the Tour Championship. There have been a lot of highlights. Of course I’d love to pick up another trophy in the US as soon as possible...other than that, with the Ryder Cup, it’s been a stellar year already.

It’s not a time to stand still, though. I’m meeting up with the Mizuno team this week to do some testing with new three-woods and hybrids. We’ll be checking through the bag. They sent my first full set of MP-63s.  I tried those a little bit before the Tour Championship and they felt fantastic. I’ll be continuing to test those and plan to have them in play next year.

I’ll soon be off to Asia for two events. The HSBC WGC is a big one for world ranking points and I’ll be hoping to be moving up from eighth pretty soon. Then I’ll be heading to Dubai for the Dubai World Championship.

I haven’t given up hope of snatching the Race to Dubai at the last minute. If I can win the HSBC event in China then maybe I can put a bit of pressure on Martin Kaymer. He’s quite a way ahead – but two wins might get it done. I’ll give it my best shot.

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Author Luke Donald

An English native, Luke Donald is one of the world's top golfers. In addition to his top-10 world ranking, Luke has numerous wins on the PGA and European Tours, and played a key role as a member of the victorious European Ryder Cup teams in 2004, 2006, and 2010.