Lee Westwood or Luke Donald: Who would break the Major jinx first?
Last week as the world’s top two golfers Luke Donald and Lee Westwood crashed out of the Open Championship, everybody had one question on their mind, why do the game’s current top two fail at the final frontier i.e. of winning a major Championship? Their fans would argue they have the privileges of holding the top spot which very few of the game’s best have held owing to Tiger’s dominance is in itself is a big thing to achieve, but there’s no feeling better in sports than walking down the 18th green holding a major trophy in your hands.
Here’s a look at how they have fared in the Majors and why year after year, they have failed to cross the final hurdle.
Luke Donald, Current World No 1
Clinching the top spot
In May 2011, Donald’s beat Lee Westwood in a playoff to win the European Tour’s flagship event the BMW PGA Championship. By doing so, he achieved the world number one rank, the game’s highest accolade. Westwood had entered the tournament as the number one and the end of tournament playoff provided a subplot of world numbers one and two contesting for the championship.
He made his major debut at the Open Championship in the year 1999, however the Carnoustie Golf Links, Scotland got better of him as he failed to make the cut. It took Donald three years before he actually made a major cut, a decent T18th finish at the 2002 US Open. Since then he has added 10 PGA and European wins to his kitty, however the biggest trophy in the game still eludes the current World No 1. His best major finish is T3 both at at 2005 Masters at Augusta and at the 2006 PGA Championship. For a player of his caliber, who has finished 5 times in the Top 10 of the majors, it just looks it’s when rather if he can win a major.
Lee Westwood, Current World No 2
Clinching the top spot
On 31 October 2010, Westwood became the World number one golfer in the world, thus bringing to an end the reign of Tiger Woods who was then the undisputed king of golf. He remained at the top of the rankings for 17 weeks,before being replaced by Martin Kaymer who held the top spot for 8 weeks. Westwood regained the top spot by winning the Indonesian Masters on 24 April 2011, stayed there for 5 weeks before being replaced by Luke Donald.
Just like Donald his first major was the Open Championship,he debuted at St Andrews in 1995 where he ended a disappointing T96.Sixteen years since his debut, he has never walked away on a Sunday evening with a major trophy in the bag. No one has come closer to winning a major than him in the past two decades, two 2nd, four 3rd and 14 top 10 finishes just prove how unlucky this British Golfer has been. The closest he has come was a career-best second place at the 2010 Masters Tournament, he lead by one shot going into the final day before being overtaken by eventual champion Phil Mickelson.
The Winner ?
Donald is 33 years old while Westwood is 38, so that gives the former the edge and with the way he has played the first half of 2011 season he looks set for a major pretty soon. Donald shot a bogey free ?9 at Barclays Scottish Open, 2011 i.e no mistakes in 72 holes, that’s a rare and remarkable feat. On the other hand Westwood makes too many mistakes on the green, something which he has highlighted as his biggest weakness. In the recently conducted Open Championship Westwood led the greens in regulation after two days and missed the cut, so the complete blame firmly lies on his putting.
To Westwood’s advantage is his experience, he has been there disappointed with luck on the Sunday afternoon, however he has bounced back, looking as hungry for his first major win. His strong will, determination is something which not only the golfing but the entire sporting fraternity takes an example of.
All I would say is that last 13 majors have had first time winners, so it wouldn’t surprise us if we see the name of any of these two on the top of the Sunday evening cometh the PGA Championship in a months’ time at the Atlanta Athletic Club in Johns Creek, Georgia.