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The Tour Report

December 8 2013

10:00 AM

No. 23 player to watch: Donald

With the PGA TOUR set to resume its 2013-14 season the first week of January, PGATOUR.COM is previewing the top 30 players to watch heading into the new year. We'll count down one a day in December until we unveil our No. 1 player to watch on Dec. 30, the Monday of the Hyundai Tournament of Champions.

Check out this preview of No. 23 Luke Donald and join the discussion below on how you think he'll perform in 2014. Click here for more on the top 30 players to watch in 2014.


2014 OUTLOOK: Once a top-10 machine, not to mention the No. 1 payer in the world, Luke Donald had a bit of an off year in 2013. He had his fewest number of top 10s in five years with just five (compared to a career-high 14 in 2011) and mostly parted ways with longtime coach Pat Goss, who he retained only to work with on short game. Donald turned to Chuck Cook and hopes Cook can do what he did for Jason Dufner and help push him to his first major championship. Still, Donald had some very good weeks and should again this season. He was third at the RBC Heritage and fourth at the BMW Championship and missed only three cuts in 17 starts. -- Brian Wacker

THUS FAR THIS SEASON: Donald’s only start came at the World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions, where he failed to break 70 and finished in a tie for 31st.

It's been 16 months since he sat atop the Official World Golf Ranking. If you can now separate yourself from the impossible pace he set in 2011, you're rewarded with a solid, back-end cornerstone in all formats. -- Rob Bolton
If I had to recommend to any player's rhythm and short game technique to watch and how shots around the green and the cup were approached and executed I would recommend that Donald be the model. He does at times get a bit inconsistent from tee-to-green, and if he does ever fall short it is with the driver, but Luke is in the process of refining and improving his silky smooth and balanced swing. -- Mark Immelman
The question is not if but when will Luke wins a major championship. He does not have great length off the tee but everything else is championship caliber. Donald has a tremendous short game and might be the single-best bunker player in the world. All that screams THE PLAYERS Championship to me. -- Fred Albers
Ball-striking has never been Donald’s forte, but he’s never seen a putt he didn’t like. But during an up-and-down 2013, Donald even struggled on the greens -- at least by his standards. He was 13th in strokes gained-putting at .529, but down from .797 (3rd) in ’12, .844 (1st) in ’11, .871 (1st) in ’10 and .933 (1st) in ’09. -- Bill Cooney