Jamie Donaldson is a three-time European Tour winner, completed runner-up in a World Golf Championship and has a prime 10 at a Main.
t one level he sat within the prime 25 on this planet rankings and who might neglect his excellent efficiency at Gleneagles to earn the purpose that gained Europe the 2014 Ryder Cup?
And but the genial 46-year-old says he maybe owes his profession to an unbelievable 4 days at Royal Portrush 10 years in the past.
The 2012 Irish Open was an historic occasion because it was the primary to be performed north of the border since 1953 and, in the end, it paved the way in which for The Open to return to our shores in 2019.
However for Donaldson, it proved to be historic for extra causes than that.
“That was a massively vital week for me at Royal Portrush as a result of all the pieces took off for me after that,” says the Welshman, talking completely to Sunday Life Sport.
Coming into the week, Donaldson had performed in 255 European Tour occasions with out recording a victory. He’d needed to battle a genetic backbone situation, whereas his profession to that time had yielded 32 top-10 finishes however none of them had ended with him taking dwelling silverware.
However that modified on the north coast. The Pontypridd man was very good all week on the Dunluce Hyperlinks, taking a one-shot lead over England’s Anthony Wall into the ultimate spherical and excelling on the Sunday.
He needed to battle again from a two-shot deficit to Sweden’s Mikael Lundberg at one level, however 5 birdies in his final seven holes noticed him declare a four-shot win at 18 underneath par and at last finish his look ahead to a European Tour win, signing it off in model with a 25-footer for birdie on the ultimate gap.
“I’d been up there a bit coming as much as the match, I’d been taking part in properly main as much as that. I used to be simply attempting to hit the photographs in entrance of me. I didn’t take a look at leaderboards, I simply saved hitting good photographs,” he remembers.
“The birdie on the 18th was simply superior. I used to be attempting to lag it up, so for it to go in was simply superb.
“I had an excellent night time celebrating, I’ll inform you that! There are some nice spots round Portrush to have a good time in and it felt like the entire city was in there. That was a very particular night time.”
From there, Donaldson’s profession took off and went from power to power. A seventh-placed end adopted on the US PGA Championship at Kiawah Island earlier than his second win got here on the prestigious Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship the next yr.
And after he completed runner-up to Patrick Reed on the WGC-Cadillac in 2014, his third win arrived on the Czech Masters the identical yr, whereas his Ryder Cup look at Gleneagles was unforgettable as his Sunday singles win over Keegan Bradley secured the trophy for Europe.
And Donaldson admits his profession might need taken a totally completely different path had been it not for his triumph at Royal Portrush.
“Successful there gave me the boldness to know I might win at this degree and it took me to all kinds of locations. You win one and it opens up quite a lot of doorways,” he admits.
“I obtained into the Majors, I obtained into the World Championships, into the highest 50 on this planet and hastily you’re taking part in in a lot better fields and it’s a must to get used to that fairly shortly.
“You get used to watching higher gamers extra usually and that forces you to get higher to maintain up with them.”
His star has waned a bit in recent times, Donaldson being winless since 2015 and right down to two hundredth on this planet rankings, however he heads to Mount Juliet for this week’s Irish Open eager so as to add one other piece of Waterford crystal to the one he nonetheless has sitting within the bar in his home.
“I like it in Eire, each time I come again I’ve such an excellent feeling,” he provides.
“I really feel like I’m taking part in fairly properly in the meanwhile too, so hopefully I can put collectively 4 good rounds and provides the followers one thing to cheer about once more.”