Monday, 12 December 2011
Luke Donald has found inspiration in his burgeoning family life.  (Getty Images)
Luke Donald has found inspiration in his burgeoning family life. (Getty Images)

There is a pleasing symmetry to the way Luke Donald’s year has played out and it seems fitting, as the quiet, unassuming, family-orientated character that he is, that there appears a direct correlation between his on the course accomplishments and the burgeoning home life he shares with his wife Diane and their now two daughters in the suburbs of Chicago, Illinois, a connection the Englishman seems only too aware and indeed appreciative of.

After coming out on top in his tussle in Tucson with Martin Kaymer at February’s World Golf Championship – Accenture Match Play, Donald dedicated the victory to his first daughter, Elle, whose birthday had fallen two days earlier.

At the time, Donald said: "It feels amazing. I've put a lot of work in over the last five years and it's nice to see it pay off. Hopefully it will open the gates. I'm not a modern-day player because I don't hit it that far and that makes it harder for me, but this is a great win and I hope there are more to come.

"This is a win for a lot of people and means a lot. It's also a good [first] birthday present for my little daughter."

And in May, Donald’s on-going battle with fellow countryman Lee Westwood at the top of the World Ranking culminated in the most thrilling fashion at the BMW PGA Championship, where Donald eventually prevailed over Westwood in a play-off to decide not only who would take the winner’s cheque at Wentworth, but who would leave Virginia Water as World Number One.

Donald confirmed in his winner’s press conference that his wife Diane was expecting their second child and again took time to praise the positive impact his young family and first child had had on his outlook on golf, and on life.

He said: “Looking back to the birth of my first child, Elle, my golf has only gone from strength-to-strength. It's been a real blessing to become a father, it's given me a lot more responsibility I think as a person. I've grown up - I've become a better person.
 
“She really is an inspiration to me, just watching her grow, and every day learning new skills, adapting, becoming better and better at what she is; that's all I'm trying to do at golf, too. Just every day, just try and figure a way to improve. She does that every day.”

At 33, one could see Donald as somewhat a father figure of the new generation emerging in recent times.  And if the likes of Rory McIlroy, Kaymer, Tom Lewis and Matteo Manassero et al were looking for a role model on which to base their own flourishing careers then they should look no further than Donald – a man who has prided himself on hard work, patience and family values throughout his life and career.

And you frequently get the sense that the importance of history is also not lost on Donald, making history is something he intensely covets.

After his wrangle with Westwood at Wentworth he speculated whether there would ever be another occasion when the World Numbers One and Two compete in a play-off to decide both a championship and who leaves the tournament as Number One, and in recent times we have heard him often talk up the importance of closing out his quest to become The 2011 Race to Dubai champion and with it a double money list winner - a truly unique feat.

It has been a poignant month or so for Donald, who sadly lost his father just a few days before his second daughter, Sophia Ann Donald, was born on the wonderfully symmetrical date of 11th November 2011, and his response on Twitter to the turbulent few weeks was indicative of the man’s character.

He said: “The last few weeks have opened my eyes to how thankful I am for everything in my life.”

And just as there is a cycle of life, there are births and there are deaths, there are equally cycles in golf and in sport, and Donald is at the forefront and pinnacle of golf’s present and future.

And so, nine months on from Donald’s pivotal WGC win, and six months since the BMW PGA Championship and his ascent to World Number One, Donald’s young family has a new addition and their mantelpiece has yet another weighty occupant in The Race to Dubai trophy.

As the Dubai World Championship concluded yesterday on December 11 – exactly one month on from Sophia’s birthday – her father maintained his propensity for synchronicity and concluded a remarkable double bid on a doubly significant day in December.

Congratulations 2011 Race to Dubai Champion Luke Donald: World Number One, US Number One, European Number One.

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Tournament Leaderboard

Pos Player nameNatHolePar
1QUIROS, AlvaroESP18-19
2LAWRIE, PaulSCO18-17
3DONALD, LukeENG18-16
4HANSON, PeterSWE18-14
5SCHWARTZEL, CharlRSA18-13
T6MOLINARI, FrancescoITA18-12
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