Donald receives honorary life membership on European Tour

Donald is 0 for 35 in major championship appearances.
David Walberg/SI

VIRGINIA WATER, England (AP) – Luke Donald was awarded honorary life membership of the European Tour on Wednesday, the latest of a string of accolades for the Englishman following his stellar 2011 season.

However, there is still a gap on his mantle piece for the biggest prize of all.

“I'm not going to shy away from it. That's the one thing missing on my resume – I want to win majors,'' Donald said.

The U.S. Open at the Olympic Club in San Francisco next month offers him a 36th chance to end his drought at majors, which would allow him to shed that tag of being one of the best players yet to win one.

Particularly since Tiger Woods has stalled, major titles have been spread around players on the tour. Capturing the Masters in April made Bubba Watson the eighth first-time major winner in a row, but No. 2-ranked Donald and fellow Englishman Lee Westwood, who is No. 3, have been unable to capitalize.

Donald is confident that will change.

“I think at the majors, there is more expectation, there's more pressure. It's learning to deal with that,'' he said.

“I'm learning that I get more uptight at majors. I want to win it so badly that sometimes that gets in the way and it's learning to relax and deal with that. I know I have the ability to win one.''

Donald, who has two third-place finishes at majors, demonstrated that last year.

He became the first player to officially win money lists on both sides of the Atlantic and finished in the top 10 in 20 of his 26 tournaments worldwide, helping him walk away with the European Tour's golfer of the year award and the U.S. PGA Tour's player of the year.

George O'Grady, chief executive of the European Tour, revealed that Donald earned 95 percent of the votes to capture the European players' player of the year award and had no hesitation in making him the 41st player to receive honorary life membership.

“Probably the only person who didn't vote for him was himself,'' O'Grady said.

The competitive streak in Donald will ensure his push at the majors.

“Ask my wife – I don't really like to lose at anything, whether it be golf or whatever the challenge is,'' he said.

“You know, just daily things like chasing my daughter up to the top of the stairs. I don't like to let my daughter win and she's a 2-year-old.''