Luke Donald talked to Ten-Golf on Wednesday, the day before of Madrid Masters’s first round. The Englishman speaks about golf, only golf, well, and little bit about paintings…
Are you possibly in your best form?
I think I am in my best form since 2006. I had a really good year in 2006. Ten top 10 in the US and I won a tournament over there. My golf went downhill a little bit. I had a wrist injury in 2008. Now I am feeling strong again after that, and this has been a good year so far.
The injury is forgotten?
Yes, I don’t have to think about it anymore.
Volvo Masters, World Cup in Seville, Madrid Masters last year, Madrid Masters this year… You play a lot in Spain and you have good results. How do you feel in Spain? Is it good for you? Do you feel specially good in Spain?
I do like Spain. I think I have a little bit of a place in my heart for Spain because this is kind of where I started golf. My parents bought a timeshare in La Manga when I was eight years old and I played a lot. I came here in a lot of holidays growing up as a kid and played a lot of golf. I have always enjoyed it here and I am very good friends with Sergio. I enjoy it when I come to Spain.
What is what you like most of Spain?
I like the weather, for one. I like the people and the food is excellent. I always crave some jamón every time I come here.
You spend a lot of time in the US, in Chicago, and you spend a lot of time in England. Is there anything you miss from England when you are in Chicago?
I miss being away from my friends and family the most. I love parts of the country side. They have a special feel. And when the weather is as good as it was last week, it’s a beautiful place to be in and to enjoy when the weather is that nice.
Do you think is possible a World Tour, a tour with the PGA Tour and the European Tour? Or you think it’s a dream, that is impossible?
It’s possible, I think. Financially it would have to be a really tough economic time. Then, they may pull together and play a schedule a World Tour. It is going to be difficult. It’s going to eliminate certain players. Only the best players would probably be able to play. And won’t give to the no-so-good players a chance to win.
It would be good? It would be an improvement?
Perhaps. I think I like it the way it is right now. I am able to pick and choose the events I want to play in Europe and around the World, but I don’t have to travel too much. I have a young girl now and I don’t want to be away from home too much.
St. Andrews and Pebble Beach this year. What course is more important for you?
St. Andrews is always the one tournament that I would love to win, specially if the Open Championship is at St. Andrews. But I would take either. I like Pebble Beach. I think Pebble Beach is a place where I feel I can do well around, so I am looking forward both of them.
Any memories from St. Andrews?
Well, last time a played in 2005 I was paired with Jack Nicklaus and Tom Watson in the final groups, in Jack Nicklaus’ final British Open, so a lot of great memories. I have a picture of the three of us in the bridge in my home in Florida. I had special time playing with them. I don’t think I’ll ever be in a better pairing.
If you have to guess who will be the next European player to win a major…
Apart from me, yeah?
Yes, apart from you.
Based on current form probably Lee Westwood. Maybe Rory McIlroy. I think Rory has great talent. He’s got a lot of good game. And for as young as he is, he has a good attitude.
What do you think about the Spanish golfers in general? Sergio Garcia, Alvaro Quirós…
I think they are very passionate, very good golfers. I remember playing a lot of matches as an amateur in England versus Spain and they were very good around the greens, good hands, good feel. I think they all have learnt that from Seve, watching Seve play. A lot of talent in the Spanish players.
You are very good friends with Sergio García. When did it began this special relationship and what do you think about his present moment.
I knew Sergio when he was thirteen. We played against each other in England versus Spain matches. I played against a couple of times. Actually, I think I beat him once and tied him once, so I don’t think he ever got me as an amateur. I had a good record against him. Obviously, when I turned pro I saw him out on tour quite a lot and we just started becoming friendly, and hanging out and playing practice rounds. Obviously, friendship really grew at the Ryder Cup, being pair together there. We went unbeaten in 2004 and 2006. Yeah, Sergio is a good guy.
Any reason why you make such a good couple in the Ryder Cup, in the foursomes?
I think because we get along. We make each other more relax and we have fun out there. We try to smile and have a good time. And when you are having fun usually your golf is a lot better and if you are not tense you are going to perform better.
Which of the following players would you pick to play with you a round, in St. Andrews, for example? Bobby Jones, Ben Hogan, Jack Nicklaus or Seve.
Close. I have watched Seve a lot, I’ve played with Jack Nicklaus already. I may have to say Ben Hogan, just because I think he was an extremely interesting golfer in the way he thought his way around the golf course. I would love to watch Seve up close with his short game. But probably Ben Hogan if I have to pick one, followed closely by Seve.
You are an artist. You like paintings. What is your style and what is your favorite painter?
My style is kind of abstract. It is realistic enough to know what it is, but it has some abstraction. I always work in oil. I haven’t painted much. I’ve probably haven’t touch a paint brush in over a year. But I enjoy doing it. It’s nice to do it and take your mind of it. I am not sure I have a favorite but… may be Monet. I like all his work.
Art helps in the golf course?
It can. I mean, I think being good at art may be helps you with visualization, when you have to stand in front of an empty canvas, you have to figure out what do you want to turn out to. It is the same when you stand behind a golf shot. It helps to have good visualization and know how you want the shot to turn out. In that way they are a little bit similar.