Donald has found killer instinct

By: abadam

World number one Luke Donald’s killer-instinct has emerged and will lead him to a first Major title in 2012, his brother and former caddie Christian said before the Andalucia Masters at Valderrama.

“In the old days he used to try too hard and he was accused of not having a killer-instinct. I always knew he could have that – it was just a case of how soon,” said Christian at the course where he is caddying for world number six Martin Kaymer.

“Now it’s almost as if he’s free-wheeling.”

Luke has reeled off a remarkable run of results in 2011, including four victories on both sides of the Atlantic and 14 top-10 finishes in 19 US PGA Tour starts.

Having watched his younger brother pull off a sensational coup on Sunday by pipping American Webb Simpson to the US PGA Tour’s order of merit, Christian identified the Ryder Cup player’s tee shots as the key to major success in 2012.

“A Major is definitely a next step he can make next year. I think he’s got to drive a little straighter, but he’s working hard on it. If he does get that right, I think he will win one next year.”

Former club professional Christian, 39, caddied for his brother for eight years until handing over the bag before the 2010 season. He explained why he thought Luke had become such a remarkable force.

“He’s getting older and wiser and he’s more relaxed. He’s letting things happen. He’s in a good place in his life. He has another child coming.”

The 33-year-old Luke has spoken of the effect of his first child Elle on his game and won the European Tour’s flagship BMW PGA Championship event in May to reach the top of the world rankings. His wife Diane is expecting their second child.

“He’s more mature, that’s made a big difference to his attitude to his game,” added Christian, who believes Augusta is where his brother is most likely to break his Major duck.

An uneven performance in the majors was the only blemish on the 2011 record. Despite top-10 finishes at the Masters and US PGA Championship, he missed the cut at The Open and was never in contention at the US Open.

“We’ve found out over the last few years that he seems to have his best chance at the Masters. A lot of pundits have said you’ve got to be a long hitter – Zach Johnson (2007 winner) proved that isn’t the case,” said Christian.

“Augusta is a course, like here at Valderrama, where you’ve got to be precise and straight. A course where he’s in control is where he has his best major chance.”

Luke is no long-hitter and unlike former world number one Tiger Woods, renowned for explosive hitting as well as brilliant touch around the greens, he relies mainly on exquisite wedge play.

His brother feels his style of play rules out a home major win at Lytham St Annes in July.

“With The Open, I think there’s more luck involved. I think Open courses take his wedge play out of his armoury.”

With Christian now caddying for 2010 European number one Kaymer and the German gamely trying to catch Luke on the Race to Dubai, his loyalties could be divided. Not so, Christian said.

“I’m now the opposition. I’d love to see Martin go number one and knock Luke off the perch.”

Luke will try and become the first player to win the order of merit on both the US and European Tours when he plays at the season-ending Dubai World Championship in December.

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