Luke Donald's Diary - 4/22/2010
by Luke Donald on April 22, 2010
Before the Masters, obviously we worked on my short-game, shots around the green. My short game is in really good shape at the moment. Someone told me that I’m currently ranked #1 for both sand saves and scrambling on the PGA Tour this year. A lot of practice and those new T-10 wedges. I thought before that the new groove rules might suit me. Plus with the conforming version of Mizuno’s new Quad Cut groove I’m still getting really good traction.
Augusta is so unique. You need to play shots you don’t play anywhere else in the world. The pin positions are so severe on certain holes that you have to be so precise around the greens: five or six-yard shots where you’re just landing it in the fringe, one bounce up and the ball just has to trickle onto the green. Your bad shots are very much emphasized. A bad chip on a normal green goes to six or seven feet; there it goes to 50 feet.
There was still a tinge of disappointment at my third place in the Verizon Heritage, though, because I felt I could easily have won. I’ve been looking for a win for a good while now and need to take care of that. But I’ve just got to keep giving myself chances, like at Hilton Head.
Obviously, there were a lot of positives again and a good move up the Fedex Cup table. I had a good strong finish and made lots of birdies. I just made a few too many mistakes on the Sunday and that was the difference. When you start chasing it puts pressure on you and the back nine in the final round in the Heritage, the pins were extremely tough. The way the wind blew it was hard to get close to them. Looking back, if I could have the tee shots on 11 and 12 again things might be different. That’s where it got away from me. If I’d made pars there then I think I would have kept the momentum going and had a better shot at it.
The Masters was very disappointing. I’d worked pretty hard on my game. To be honest I left Houston, the week before, and Augusta feeling somewhat positive, though. My game was actually pretty solid. I just wasn’t scoring. The part of the game that really let me down, unusually, was my putting. I drove pretty well but also probably didn’t hit enough greens. Maybe my mid-irons and short-irons weren’t quite as tight as they should have been. Whenever I had chances, though, I couldn’t take them on the greens. This sometimes happens. I came back and obviously putted a lot better. But it was disappointing it happened during the major.
I felt I had to go back to fundamentals with my putting. I checked my stroke, of course, but I found my head was sloping to the right a little bit, so I worked on my eye-line. My right eye was getting too low in comparison to my left eye. That work certainly paid dividends [in South Carolina].
The work I’ve done on my swing I feel is paying off. With this I’ve also gone back to swing fundamentals. My leg action for instance, trying to get my set up a little better. I was tending to aim a little bit too far right and that makes it tough for me to get the club open at the top. I’ve been working on rhythm altogether: my leg action on the downswing, too. Before, it was getting a little bit ‘jumpy’, with my hips pushing towards the ball too much. Now I’m trying to get more stable in my legs. My left hip’s rotating a little bit more to the left as I go down. That gets the club on a better path.
There was obviously a lot of attention to Tiger Woods’s return to action at Augusta. From a selfish point of view, it’s great to see him back. Every sport needs its number one player playing. He generates so much that we need in tough economical times. He’s still the man to beat in majors. I would have loved Lee to have pulled it off but I was happy for Phil. He’s had so much going wrong in his life with his wife and mother suffering from cancer and his win was special.
My attention now turns to the Players Championship. Then I’m going to play three weeks in Europe: Wentworth, Madrid and Celtic Manor. I haven’t played the TwentyTen course at Celtic Manor. Hopefully I’ll be there again for the Ryder Cup.
Little Elle is keeping Di and I on our toes. Babies are hard work. But it’s so very rewarding.