Donald up to second in world, giving England both of two top spots

luke donald
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Luke Donald has skyrocketed up the world rankings on a string of impressive consistency.
PA Sport


Published: Monday, May 16, 2011 | 1:03 p.m.

Can it really be only 10 years ago that England had just one golfer in the world's top 100? Now, for the first time since the rankings began in 1986, there are two Englishmen in the top two.

Luke Donald has tucked in just behind Lee Westwood thanks to a quite stunning run of consistency.


Englishmen are ranked 1-2 for the first time since the world ranking was created.



1. Lee Westwood


2. Luke Donald


3. Martin Kaymer


4. Phil Mickelson


5. Graeme McDowell


6. Rory McIlroy


7. Steve Stricker


8. Tiger Woods


9. Paul Casey


10. Matt Kuchar


Donald's fourth place at the Players Championship -- an event Westwood controversially chose to miss despite it being the richest in the sport -- was his seventh top-10 in a row.

Starting with the Tour Championship last September, where he was runner-up to Jim Furyk, the 33-year-old has only once finished outside the top 10 in 13 tournaments. And that came on his return from a two-month break.

Now Donald is bringing his game to Europe. He is in Marbella, Spain, this week trying to add the Volvo World Match Play title to the WGC-Accenture Match Play crown he lifted in February, and next week he will be trying to improve on last year's runner-up finish in the BMW PGA Championship in England.

They offer him the opportunity to take over as world No. 1 from Westwood -- who is also playing in both -- for the first time.

Donald just missed out on the to spot when he was beaten by Brandt Snedeker in a playoff at the Heritage in South Carolina three weeks ago -- on the same day that Westwood reclaimed top spot off German Martin Kaymer with the first of two successive victories in Asia.

At Sawgrass victory would also have taken him to the head of affairs, but he was always just off the pace and his hopes were ended when he hit a wild drive and could only par the last.

"A solid week, but a lot of what if's too," Donald posted on his Twitter page before catching his plane to Spain. "The upside, I didn't have my best this week and still had a chance."

And with that, he tried to get some rest -- not helped by a noisy Ian Poulter on the same flight, it seems. "Keep it down in the front," he tweeted. "I know you got to sleep in this morning, but some of us were up at 5.15am!!"

Poulter had raced to finish his third round on Saturday night after a long rain delay, but Donald had to play 30 holes on the final day. He had the last laugh on Poulter, though, by adding: "Although saying that, you are probably knackered after playing all four days this week!!"

Players Championship winner K.J. Choi improved from 34th to 15th, while Darren Clarke's victory at the European Tour’s Iberdrola Open took him from 124th to 88th.

Tiger Woods stayed eighth despite withdrawing from the Players Championship because of injury after only nine holes on Thursday, but is now only the third-ranked American behind No. 4 Phil Mickelson and No. 7 Steve Stricker.

Graeme McDowell, despite his stumble at the finish of the Players Championship, remains fifth, with Rory McIlroy, who also skipped the Players, in sixth. Behind Woods are Paul Casey in ninth and Matt Kuchar in 10th.

The second 10 includes No. 11 Bubba Watson, No. 12 Charl Schwartzel, No. 13 Dustin Johnson, No. 14 Nick Watney, Choi, No. 16 Jim Furyk, No. 17 Ernie Els, No. 18 Hunter Mahan, No. 19 Adam Scott and No. 20 Jason Day.