The battle at the summit of world golf is set to continue through a mouth-watering European summer of golf after Luke Donald, who will defend his BMW PGA Championship title next month and Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open crown in July, regained the Number One spot on Sunday.
The 34 year old needed a top-seven finish in the Zurich Classic of New Orleans to regain pole position from Rory McIlroy, and he got it, finishing third at Avondale.
It means the top spot in world golf has changed hands nine times in the last 18 months, with Tiger Woods, Lee Westwood and Martin Kaymer also holding the position.
Donald first reached the top of the Official World Golf Ranking last May after the “Duel on the West”, where he beat Lee Westwood in a play-off for the BMW PGA Championship with both the Number One honours and The European Tour’s flagship title on the line.
“I had a few wins last year, but I think Wentworth was the most fun and the most enjoyable because I got that World Number One ranking. It just all seemed to happen for a reason that week, at the flagship event of The European Tour, going against Lee who was World Number One and doing it in front of lots of friends and family. Especially having grown up just down the road, it was very special.
“It’s a bigger event with the world class field that it attracts, and you always get up for those big events. I'm extremely excited to go back there and defend.”
Donald consolidated his position as World Number One with victory at Castle Stuart in July and went on to become the first player in history to win the money lists on both sides of the Atlantic when he won The Race to Dubai and US PGA Tour Money List.
“The Scottish Open is one of the favoured tournaments on The European Tour and I can’t wait to get back there. Staging the event on a links encouraged a better field and to have some preparation on this type of course the week before The Open is what everyone is looking for.
“It’s a huge event on the Tour schedule and having already won the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth it gave me a significant lead in The Race to Dubai. Every little helps, and winning the Scottish Open was a massive help.”
McIlroy took over pole position with victory in the Honda Classic in America and over the last few weeks the baton has been changing hands between the two.
For Donald, a final round of 67 on Sunday followed earlier efforts of 73, 65 and 66 to finish two shots off the pace.
Birdies on the third, ninth, 11th, 13th and 18th holes ensured the Englishman finished on his own in third place at 17 under par.
Fans can see how the battle to be World Number One unfolds over the summer with advance tickets for the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth Club and the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open at Castle Stuart available by clicking on the links below:-