FORMER world No1 Luke Donald hopes pearls of wisdom from basketball icon Michael Jordan can help him clinch a first Masters title when he tees off in Augusta today.
The Englishman lives next door to former Chicago Bulls legend Jordan in Florida and the pair regularly duel on the golf course.
Donald is currently 27th in the world rankings, his lowest position in four years, but with four-time champion and current world No1 Tiger Woods absent this year through injury, the field has been blown wide open.
And Donald feels Jordan’s pep-talks can make the difference.
“He does encourage me,” revealed Donald. “He says: ‘Trust your work and try to break down your goals’.
“One year he set himself the target of getting most points per game and knew the top-scoring average would be 30 points a game and that would make him the winner. So he broke it down to getting seven or eight points in a quarter and knew he could do that.
“At the Masters, the equivalent could be a target of every day trying to hit 12 greens. It could be as simple as that, not to take on too many pins, aim for the centre of greens to reach that stat. That kind of philosophy is the premise.”
Yesterday’s par-three tournament was won by American Ryan Moore, though the traditional curtain-raiser has become something of a poisoned chalice.
In 53 years of trying, no-one has ever won the par-three event and then go on to wear the overall winner’s Green Jacket on Sunday night.
Moore finished on six-under through nine holes, two shots clear of Kevin Stadler and 1979 champion Fuzzy Zoeller.
American Mark O’Meara, the 1998 winner, hit a hole in one at the second.
■ 2.35pm: McDowell, Fowler, Walker
■ 3.41pm: Scott, Dufner, Fitzpatrick
■ 3.52pm: Spieth, Reed, McIlroy
■ 6.04pm: Day, Johnson, Stenson
■ 6.15pm: Watson, Donald, Garcia
■ 6.48pm: Mickelson, Els, Rose
All times BST