Michael Jordan: Golf's newest mental coach?
Luke Donald is ranked No. 3 in the world, won three times around the globe in 2012 and in 2011 captured the money list titles on both the PGA Tour and European Tour. Still, he's feeling unfulfilled because, despite all his success, he's yet to win a major.
So he's made what can only be described as an unusual – but possibly inspired – choice for help with his mental approach.
Donald, an Englishman who has lived in Chicago since his college days at Northwestern, has turned to his fellow Windy City resident: Michael Jordan, who won six NBA titles with the Chicago Bulls in the 1990s. The introverted 5-foot-9 golfer and the extroverted 6-foot-6 hoopster didn't get close, however, until both relocated to South Florida and started spending time together at the Bear's Club.
"Michael's a really nice chap who I’ve got to know really well recently," Donald told the Daily Telegraph newspaper in England. "His fiancée [Yvette Prieto] is good friends with my wife and we've begun to play a lot together. I'm always happy to empty his wallet."
Jordan, as we all know, is also an accomplished golfer – if occasionally a fashion scofflaw – who, as the paper points out, is good friends with Tiger Woods and America's biggest cheerleader at the Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup.
"He's good for the mind. He's been making sure I'm ready mentally," Donald said, not revealing the specifics of what they've talked about. "It's been good to pick Michael's brains and find out what he was thinking about when he was playing basketball. He's always trying to play mind games, he doesn't like to lose."
Donald's last tournament was the DP World Championship in Dubai almost three months ago, and he took a five-week break from golf over the winter. He's been working on his game for the past six weeks, though, and makes his 2013 competitive debut this week at the Nothern Trust Open.
"Although I was content with how I played last year – I won three times on three different continents – I was once again disappointed with how I performed in the majors," said Donald who at age 35 is feeling more urgency to finally capture a major title. "I've got to figure out a way to be competitive at the majors – that's the main aim this year."