Donald hopes to apply Federer's calm to his own game over next two weeks

Luke Donald with drum and fife corps at Scottish Open
Getty Images
Luke Donald was disappointed with his ball-striking at the U.S. Open, but he struck up the band at the Scottish Open on Wednesday.
By
PA Sport

Series: European Tour

INVERNESS, Scotland -- For the sixth major in a row, Luke Donald will go into next week's British Open as world No. 1.

None of the previous five, of course, has led to the outcome he wanted -- and nor did any of the 31 he played before that.

In a bid to change things at Royal Lytham and so become England's first winner of a major since Nick Faldo in 1996, Donald is determined to take a more relaxed attitude.

The 34-year-old, who first of all will try to defend his Scottish Open title at Castle Stuart this week, could not have been more impressed by Roger Federer -- "so calm and collected" -- when he watched his semifinal win over Novak Djokovic at Wimbledon last Friday.

"He's made a very conscious effort not to get so down on himself," said Donald. "When I'm playing I'm laughing and joking, but I've realized that (at majors) I do get a little bit more anxious, a little bit more uptight, a little bit more agitated.

"People around me notice it," he added. "I've got to try and control that and that's going to be the priority -- go out there and try to play with a little bit more freedom, a little bit more fun.

"I've realized it for a while and it's just a constant process of trying to work on that and improve every time," he explained. "It's got to come from me. Obviously I work with (mental coach) Dave Alfred, but that's more about going through the process of being diligent about my practice and practicing efficiently."

Donald knows that winning a major is the one thing missing from his career -- and it would certainly help someone like pop singer Kylie Minogue know who he is. They sat next to each other at lunch at Wimbledon before going into the Royal Box, but the Australian star needed her boyfriend to tell her that Donald was a golfer.

"She was a sweet girl, actually -- really genuinely nice girl, down to earth and I enjoyed chatting to her a little bit," he said.

After winning the Scottish Open title last July -- and doing it with a closing 63 that was the lowest round of his European Tour career -- Donald went to Sandwich and missed the cut. He also made an early exit from last month's U.S. Open, and felt his ball-striking let him down in San Francisco.

"I got a little bit caught up in trying to hit the right shot," he said, "but I didn't strike it very well and that made me a bit anxious."