Luke Donald's Diary - 12/22/2010

by Luke Donald on December 22, 2010

Overall it’s been a very successful season, definitely a step up from last year. Coming off the wrist injury, 2009 was a bit speculative year but 2010 has been much better.

My consistency has really improved, winning again in Europe was great encouragement for me, and to be part of a triumphant Ryder Cup team was a real highlight. I don’t know why but my game seems to elevate to a different level playing in a team atmosphere, right from my amateur days. I’ve been fortunate to be on winning teams and I’ve now gone through three Ryder Cups and two Walker Cups never on the losing side.

Moving back into the top 10 of the world rankings was the product of my 2010 season and that meant a great deal to me. The positive from that I took was that I was actually fourth on points on the overall rankings, a great deal of that the result of a good season on the PGA Tour.

Talking about the world rankings, I understand that some golfing pundits are advocating a move to make them over just one year instead of the system we have in place at the moment. I understand the current system involving making and losing points over two years. I’m not really a great mathematician and I don’t know what the big difference would be over one or two years, but it’s something to consider. You want the world rankings to be something reasonably current. For almost a year Lee Westwood has played the most consistently, but he’s only just caught up to the number one spot.

The only down side of this season was that I didn’t play well enough in the majors.

I didn’t really compete in any of them, never had a chance to win, and that will be a great focus for me, maybe the main one, for next year.  Looking at my game and the work I’ve done this year, my prospects have been propelled by my short game. My putting has been good, bunker play fantastic; my scrambling around the greens has been high class.  There has definitely been an improvement this year, though, in driving accuracy and hitting greens in regulation, which went up by quite a few percent.

In the last two or three months I’ve really been focusing on getting a good set-up. I tend to get a little bit too much knee-flex in my set-up and I’m getting that a little bit more ‘dialed-in’. This allows me to turn and really post up on my right hip. I have a tendency to not post up quite well enough and that creates a few issues in my downswing. Now I’m getting the club a little steeper as it goes up and getting a little more cock in the left wrist at the top of the swing. That will help me get the plane of the club a little bit better on the downswing.

This has tied in with certain parts of my fitness work. I’ve got a new trainer, Craig Knight. He works with Jeff Banaszek and they have eight or nine players on tour. With Ben Sheer, my conditioning coach, they’ve come up with a programme to get certain parts of my body in peak shape. A lot of mistakes in your swing are related to weaknesses in your body, so I’ve been working hard in this off-season to get those parts stronger. I’ve done a lot of work on my right hip to, as I say, post up better. And I tend to struggle to really keep the angle of the top of my swing with my right shoulder because of inflexibility. Those are the two key areas for me to improve on. Both will help with my backswing and, in turn, help with my downswing.

I’ve a new JPX800 3 wood to test that looks a bit different.  Very easy to launch – but doesn’t look like its going to turn the ball left – which I like.  I’ll give it a good work out over the break.  I’m waiting on the driver, which Mizuno are tweaking.  Again – on first looks it’s very different to anything Mizuno has given me before.  It looks more of an easy to use type design rather than tour model, but again it sits really square.  I’m curious at least.

I’ll have a lot of time to fiddle around with things and I’m looking forward to experimenting a bit more than I normally do because I’m in the throes of a more extended break than I’ve taken in past years. I played a lot this year, coming back from the injury. My start to the year will be in L.A., the second week in February.

Before then, hope you all have a great Christmas.

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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.