Donald has never finished in the top 10 at the U.S. Open. (Halleran/Getty Images)
By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM
ARDMORE, Pa. -- Luke Donald has never won a major championship. At the U.S. Open, he’s never even finished in the top 10.
A sub-7,000 yard Merion Golf Club might have been a welcoming sight -- until torrential saturated the property and, no pun intended, dampened his spirits and with it possibly his chances.
“In a way the weather brings in a lot more players to have an opportunity,” Donald said Tuesday. “It makes the course a little bit easier. I would have liked to have seen it firmer. And I think as a top player you want the place to play as tough as it possibly can.”
This tournament has also been tough on Donald.
In his last six U.S. Opens, the former world No. 1 has missed the cut in half of them. Two of them he hasn’t been a factor in, and he withdrew from another with an injury.
His best career finish was a tie for 12th in 2006 at Winged Foot.
“In U.S. Opens usually success comes from hitting a lot of fairways and hitting a lot of greens,” Donald said. “And I think my game is more from the hole backwards.”
With that in mind, Donald, who has also battled some nagging injuries this year (back and a thumb infection), got most of his practice here done over two days last week.
“The two things we focused on were tons of work from 140 yards and in and tons of distance control,” said Donald’s coach Pat Goss, who accompanied Donald, along with a local caddie, in two 7-8hour practice sessions at Merion last Wednesday and Thursday. “He hit more balls than he usually hits. Not many of them were between the 9-iron and 4-iron.”
Donald added that he expects to his driver on only five holes this week -- Nos. 4, 5, 6, 16 and 18 -- and there will be an emphasis on his wedge game.
“The way I approach (the course) won't change too much,” Donald said.
Neither has his outlook despite having never won a major.
“The pressures are just the same,” Donald said. “I want to win a Major championship just as badly this year as when I was No. 1. It's about managing those expectations, managing those feelings and knowing what you have is good enough.”