Luke Donald relishing Rory McIlroy rivalry
Luke Donald expects ousted world No.1 Rory McIlroy to hit back hard after the back-and-forth duel for top spot continued when he leapfrogged his rival in New Orleans.
Needing to finish inside the top seven at the Zurich Classic on Sunday to usurp the Northern Irishman once again, Donald fired a final round 67 to finish third at the TPC Louisiana - coming home two shots outside the play-off between Jason Dufner and Ernie Els, which the American won.
McIlroy didn’t play last week but will have a chance to return to the top of the tree when he tees off this week at Quail Hollow, which he won in 2010.
The Ryder Cup team-mates have swapped places four times already this year and with Donald taking a break this week, he’s well aware this current reign could be his shortest.
“It’s a nice consolation, [we’re] going back and forth a little bit. [It’s] Rory’s turn next week at Quail Hollow. Chance to get it back,” the Englishman said.
Donald added he was focused on getting the win rather than knocking McIlroy off his perch, saying: “This is the third time getting back to No.1. It wasn’t really on my mind that much like the first time. But certainly very proud of being No.1 and we’ll have to see. Rory’s turn is next week to try and get it back.
“I think, personally, I want to try and be No.1,” Donald added. “That’s always your goal and I’m in a position to try and do that.
“Wasn’t a win but still, it was a good solid week and I moved forward.” Meanwhile, Els was focusing on the positives after ending a bitter-sweet week with defeat in the play-off.
Chasing his first PGA Tour title in two years, the three-time Major champion lost on the second extra hole after narrowly missing a six-foot birdie putt for victory on the first.
Els said: “I came close, so it’s disappointing but good.
“I made some putts. I missed the one in the play-off but made a lot of putts on the back nine to keep myself in it. It was a nice little charge I made and nice to catch the leader.
“You know, to play 72 holes, four days of golf and have a putt to win, that’s a negative and a positive. It’s just one of those things. I just came up short.”