Former world No.1 reveals he considered giving up golf after going through difficult, lengthy slump
By Michael McEwan
Luke Donald has revealed that he contemplated quitting golf after finding himself in the throes of a slump that saw him fall from No.1 on the official world golf rankings to very nearly out of the top 100.
Speaking to Scottish golf magazine bunkered, the 38-year-old from Hemel Hempstead explained that a loss of form and confidence led him to consider turning his back on the game altogether.
“I think that’s something that crosses a lot of people’s minds when you go through a period of struggle, especially when you’ve been as high up in the game as I was,” said Donald.
“When you’re standing on tees and not feeling very confident in your game, not making putts and you’re not seeing the ball go in the hole but, at the same time, you feel like you’re working every bit as hard as you’ve ever worked, it becomes very hard and frustrating.
“So I’d be lying if I said there weren’t instances where I said to myself, ‘Okay, I’m 38, I’ve been very successful up to now, I’ve been lucky to earn a good living from the game - why not call it a day now and go do something different?’”
Adding that it was ‘more of a fleeting thought than a persistent thing’, Donald said that plunging those depths had actually ended up being a positive for his game.
“On some level, I think I perhaps forced myself to consider a life outside of golf - however briefly - to motivate me,” he continued. “I needed the shock of thinking about quitting to give myself a shake and say, ‘Come on, Luke, this is ridiculous. You’re a golfer. Playing golf is what you do.’
“The whole thing made me realise that it’s okay to struggle. It doesn’t make you weak and it doesn’t mean you’re suddenly a bad golfer. It’s just one of the things that people go through from time to time, in all lines of work and in all areas of life. And you know, if you are resolute, you work hard and you work your way through it, it can be a positive experience. It can give you a greater appreciation of what you’ve had and what you could have again.”
The five-time PGA Tour winner now believes that he has turned a corner with his game. After missing the Masters, he bounced straight back with a runner-up finish at the RBC Heritage the following week.
“From a confidence and mental stand-point, I feel so much more comfortable this year compared to last,” he added.
• To read the full interview with Luke Donald, check out issue 148 of bunkered. Get your digital edition from the App Store or Google Play by downloading the bunkered app.