Luke Donald - 2011 PGA Tour Player of the Year
Not much of a surprise on this award. Luke Donald, world ranked #1 player and #1 money earner on both the European Tour and PGA Tour, was named the PGA Tour player of the year. Congratulations to Luke. Nice to see a player can win with accuracy and not power. Take a look at my post from yesterday which details some of Luke’s accuracy stats.
“That’s a great honor to cap off what has obviously been an amazing year for me.” ~Luke Donald
Speaking of stats, I’m sure Luke’s sponsors are happy. I’m sure we’ll see a pile of PR on that in about… too late.
Will Luke Donald win a major in 2012?
With the 3rd pace finish in the Dubai World Championship this weekend, world #1 ranked Luke Donald did what has never been done before. He won the PGA Tour AND European Tour money titles. First I’d like to congratulate Luke on a fantastic year and 2nd, ask him for a loan.
Anatomy Of Luke Donald’s Game
European Tour Stats:
Stroke Average: #1 at 69.12
Driving Accuracy: #1 at 75.6%
Greens In Regulation: #1 at 13.9 per round, or 77.5%
Putts Per Green In Regulation: #1 at 1.694
Sand Saves: #3 at 78.6%
One Putts: #4 at 6.84 per round
*Driving Distance: 145th at 282.8
*Threw that in for fun. It is now obvious that being the longest player on tour isn’t necessary to be the best.
PGA Tour Stats:
Top 10 Finishes: #1 (14 of 19)
Scoring Average: #1 at 68.86
Strokes Gained – Putting: #1 at .844
Sand Save Percentage: #5 at 59.09%
One Putt Percentage: #3 at 43.53%
One Putts Per Round: #3 at 7.9
Total Putting: #2
3-Putt Avoidance: #1 at 1.24%
Birdie Average: #2 at 4.24 per round
Final Round Scoring Average: #1 at 68.06
Bogey Average: #1 at 2.01 per round
I could go on, but these are enough to show that Luke really is the #1 player in the world right now, statistically. There’s no doubt.
Time For A Major Win
After winning both money titles, 4 worldwide wins (two on the PGA Tour and two on the European Tour) and being ranked #1 for quite a while, there’s some work to do. It is time for Luke to win a major championship. He is most definitely the current “best player to not have won a major championship.”
Looking at the schedule for 2012 I’m trying to see what would be a good fit for Luke’s game in the majors. The Masters can definitely be won by short hitters (Zach Johnson, Mike Weir), but bombers have the advantage there. The US OPEN is a tournament Luke’s game should really fit well. Luke is an accuracy player, hitting a lot of fairways and a lot of greens in regulation. The (British) Open Championship is being held at Royal Lytham & St. Annes. Donald could have somewhat of a home field advantage there. The PGA Championship is going to be at Kiawah Island this year, rated as the toughest course in America. Accuracy once again could be quite an advantage.
It will be fun to watch Donald next season. Can he win a major in 2012?
Luke Donald - click to zoom
With all due respect to Donald Trump, I’m going to start referring to Luke Donald as “THE Donald.”
Some argue whether or not Donald should be ranked #1 in the world based on the fact that he hasn’t won a major championship and until this past weekend’s win at the Children’s Miracle Network Hospital’s Classic had only one win in 2011 on the PGA Tour. With the impressive win this past weekend Donald locked up the PGA Tour’s money title, which he now holds along side his European Tour money title. That feat is amazing and greatly justifies a #1 ranking.
Until Luke’s 2nd win, it looked like Keegan Bradley or Webb Simpson were the best candidates for PGA Tour player of the year. Voting starts this week. I’m guessing Donald will win that award, to go with his guaranteed win of the PGA of America player of the year award. The PGA POY award is based on points, not votes.
Needs A Major Victory
For 2012 I’d like to see Luke justify his ranking even more with a major victory. I think it is safe to say that as of right now Donald is the current “best player to never win a major,” a title I previously thought belonged to Lee Westwood.