What are the chances that the familiar cry of ‘Luuuuke’ will be roared out across the Lytham fairways, on Sunday evening? On paper, the odds should not be too big, should they? After all, Luke Donald MBE is the world number one, he hits the ball just about as straight as anyone, and has a short game most of his rivals would give their right (or left) arms for.
Yet, the trouble is, this has been the case for several Majors now, and Donald has yet to deliver on the day – or, more specifically, on Day One. Donald has this frustrating habit of, if not completely playing himself out of a Major tournament on the first day, then giving himself just too much to do.
He has not broken 70 on a Thursday for the last 20 Majors, the latest disappointment – 79 in the US Open – contributing to a missed cut. He had been a staple of the golf discussion in Bet365 videos, before his much-publicised lapse.
Often, he goes on to finish strongly, but the damage has been done. The result: still no Majors in the locker for the likeable 34-year-old Englishman, despite the fact that he has achieved nearly everything else in the game; he finished, last year, as the leading earner on both the European and US tours.
Donald knows what the problem is, and has spoken candidly about it – he simply wants to win a big one so badly it gets in the way – and perhaps being so open will help him get over this relaxation hurdle sooner, rather than later, and allow him to capture the Major his talent and status so deserves.
Whether Donald can break his duck in our Open is another big question – he can boast just one top 10 finish in the last 11 years – but you do get the feeling that if he can just, for once, start the week with a low number, the rest will take care of itself.
Donald is 83/5 for the victory at Lytham, next month, according to the live in-play betting odds in the Ray Winstone Bet365 video.