LUKE DONALD got his big chance to vindicate his place on the European Ryder Cup team at the weekend – and he took it with both hands.
Colin Montgomerie’s biggest dilemma in selecting his 12-man team for Celtic Manor was who to pick from Donald, Paul Casey and Justin Rose.
Omitting the world’s No7 player in Casey was a brave decision indeed, but Donald showed just what he’s about by taking Jim Furyk all the way in the Tour Championship to miss out of the richest prize in golf by a single shot.
Furyk survived a nervous finale and held his nerve to claim a £7m jackpot by winning both the Tour Championship and FedEx Cup.
To be honest, though, I really don’t think Monty would have paid too much attention to the goings-on at East Lake over the weekend.
Yes, of course, he would have been delighted to see Donald end on a high ahead of Ryder Cup week, but even if Casey had improved on his fourth place in Atlanta, it wouldn’t have mattered a jot to him. His team is picked, so it’s irrelevant. Monty’s focus has to be solely on his 12 players and his preparation for the week.
Another player who took a timely confidence boost was Padraig Harrington, who finished with a final round 64 in the Vivendi Cup.
Padraig’s form has been questioned in the run up to Celtic Manor, but while I don’t think for one minute that this was a round designed to silence the critics, he would’ve been delighted to arrive in Wales yesterday with confidence fully restored.
Read Sam’s Ryder Cup memories in our 8-page pull-out on Thursday.