DUBLIN, Ohio -- Luke Donald is the new No. 1 player in the world, and he credits a lot of factors for his rise to the top -- hard work, a better mental attitude, even a personal diary.
But during his press conference Wednesday morning at the Memorial Tournament, Donald thanked a fellow European for inspiring his rise to the top.
"I think you need one guy to kind of inspire a generation to follow in their footsteps," Donald said. "For me I guess that was probably Padraig Harrington winning his three majors back in 2008, while I was probably on the couch in a sling."
Back in 2008, Donald was recovering from a wrist injury he suffered at the 2008 U.S. Open and needed surgery to repair a tendon. He got another scare at the 2009 Accenture Match Play Championship, when he had to withdraw after feeling pain in his wrist. Fortunately for Donald, the pain was caused by scar tissue and not the repaired tendon.
While Donald was recovering, Harrington capped his run of majors, winning the 2007 and 2008 British Opens, and the 2008 PGA Championship.
"When you're around people that you're pretty familiar with and see that they are accomplishing great things, it sets a little bit of a fire in your belly that if they can do it, so can I," Donald said. "I think we've got to thank his successes a little bit for this great run in European golf."
Donald became the third European to be ranked No. 1 this year when he beat the previous No. 1, Lee Westwood, in a playoff last week at the BMW PGA Championship in Wentworth, England. Martin Kaymer also spent eight weeks at No. 1 earlier this year.
Maybe Harrington can now take some inspiration from his fellow Europeans. He’s is at home nursing a knee injury.
(Photo: David Cannon/Getty Images)