Luke Donald admits his confidence is sky high as he bids for a unique match play double this week.
The Englishman is hoping to become the first player to add the Volvo World Match Play Championship title to the Accenture World Match Play crown he captured so impressively in Arizona in February.
Donald was formidable en route to that particularly victory, never falling behind in any of his six matches in America and never having to go to the 18th hole.
He heads to Spain with not only that performance fresh in his mind but also a fine recent run of form that has seen him finish in the top ten in 13 of his last 14 events, including a share of fourth place in last week’s Players Championship.
That meant Donald will start in Spain as World Number Two for the first time, with the opportunity to put even more pressure on top ranked Lee Westwood.
“My confidence is very high right now,” said Donald. “I've been playing very consistently now for a good six months, and I think the win at the Match Play really elevated that confidence level. I’ve been knocking on the door ever since, knocking out those top tens and having chances to win, which is what it's all about.
“So, I'm excited to be here. Obviously I enjoy match play. My record is very good at match play, and excited to be a part of this great field.
“My record in Ryder Cups, Walker Cups, the Match Play event this year, speak for themselves. I enjoy the challenge of that one against one over 18 holes, and you know, it's a different feel than it is normal stroke play.
“I like the fact that you can be a little bit more aggressive. It's just a little bit different game set, and just a little bit of a different approach, which is fun.”
Donald is also relishing the chance to move closer to the World Number One spot, with world ranking points set to be at a premium in Spain where five of the top six ranked players are in the field.
“There's definitely been a mix up in the World Rankings through the last couple of years,” he said. It's been fun to climb up and see myself getting nearer to the top.
“I think Europe is enjoying a great period of golf right now. It’s very similar to the generation back in the early 90s, the Faldos and Seves and Ollie and Woosnam and all those guys. It's a great time for European golf, and especially for English golf I suppose, having the Number One and Number Two. Hopefully England is proud.”
Another player with one eye on the world ranking points as well as the Volvo World Match Play title is Martin Kaymer, the man Donald defeated in the Arizona final three months ago.
Ominously Kaymer, who has his brother Philip on the bag this week, admits he is starting to enjoy match play more and he hopes he can begin to enjoy similar sort of success to that he has achieved in stroke play.
“Obviously the most important thing this week is there are a lot of World Ranking points this week, that's important to me,” he said. “Match Play is a form that a lot can happen there. You can play a fantastic round and you can still lose.
“I never really liked match play, but since actually since The Ryder Cup last year I have. I really enjoyed that, and then playing in Arizona, I played very well there. Getting to the final gave me a lot of motivation and belief that I can play stroke play and match play.”
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