ENGLAND’S Luke Donald was oh-so-close to claiming golf’s World No. 1 ranking, but he took the near miss from a dramatic playoff loss on Sunday at the US PGA Heritage in stride.
American Brandt Snedeker defeated Donald for the title with a par on the third extra hole after topping Donald’s 12-foot birdie putt on the first playoff hole and his six-foot par putt on the second.
Donald’s 15-foot chip for par on the third playoff hole slammed into the back of the cup and bounced out, leaving him second and allowing England’s Lee Westwood to claim the top ranking once again.
“I came pretty close, yeah, but I’ve still got some time on my side,” Donald said.
“Certainly No. 1 is not the final goal. To be No. 1 would be great but it’s not everything. It certainly would be a tick in the box. It would be something great to talk to the grandkids in 30 years’ time and say that you were the best in the world, but I still have a lot of chances to do that.”
Since Tiger Woods surrendered the top spot six months ago, Westwood and Germany’s Martin Kaymer have traded the ranking summit while Woods, Phil Mickelson and Graeme McDowell have been within reach with a victory as well.
Donald tried not to let the possibilities add to the tension as he chased Snedeker’s clubhouse lead. Donald birdied the par-5 13th and parred in with some tense chips and putts to set up the playoff.
“It’s hard to put that out of your mind, but for sure it was going to be some big rewards if I won,” Donald said. “I’ll try and find the positives from this week and move on to next week.”
Donald’s best chance during the final holes to claim the crown without a playoff came at the 16th but he missed a six-foot birdie putt.