Donald takes new approach to Masters
03 Apr 2012 - 18:46:53
Luke Donald's quest for a first Major sees him tackle Augusta National for the eighth time this week and the lessons of the past tell him he needs to take some of the pressure off himself.
Known for his meticulous preparation, attention to detail and supreme short game, the 34-year-old Englishman sets the highest of standards for himself, but sometimes he believes he needs to ease off.
Asked if he needed to produce his best golf to win the Masters on Sunday, the world number one replied: "I don't think so.
"I think I have to play very solidly. If I play my best, I would hope that would certainly be good enough.
"But I feel like what I've learnt, especially from the last year or two, that I don't need to play quite my best. I just need to play good golf."
As an example, Donald points to the five wins he achieved in the last 14 months, which propelled him to the top of the money lists on both sides of the Atlantic and the world number one spot.
"Probably only one of them I really played what I thought was really good golf," he said, referring to his win in the 2011 WGC Match Play tournament.
"I've been able to win tournaments without playing my best golf, and I think the Majors is a similar deal.
"I think a lot of people put too much pressure on themselves, and you go out there and you press a little bit too hard, and suddenly you're a few shots back and trying to play catch up.
"Obviously knowing that just playing my game is good enough is a good thought to have for me."
Last year, Donald got off to a poor, nervy start at the Masters and left himself with a mountain to climb.
The fact that he very nearly did so, closing with a 69 and a share of fourth place, has given him confidence that he has what it takes to win at Augusta National.
"The fact that I made I think 20, 21 birdies, and an eagle last year; and I think knowing that I'm able to shoot those kind of scores.
"Obviously I looked in quite a bit of detail at my statistics from last year in where I could find some improvement; obviously (par-three) 12, trying not to hit it in the water on Sunday.
"But you are just always constantly trying to learn from what you did and kind of move forward."
Donald also revealed that he is mulling a new approach to tackling the devilishly difficult fringes to the greens at the fabled course -- by using his driver.
"I've been experimenting a little bit off the greens, off the edge of the greens. It can be a little bit tricky around here," he said.
"In the morning it's dewy. The ball tends to skip through and it's a little bit easier.
"When it gets drier, the grass becomes very sticky around the greens. I've experimented a little bit with actually using a driver around the greens.
"A lot of people use rescues, 3-woods sometimes, putters. I just found the driver had the perfect loft, that it was able to go through the grass a little bit.
Whether I'll use it this year or not, I'm not sure, but certainly something I've been playing around with."