Donald: A class act

Bill Elliott talks about Luke Donald's superb victory at Wentworth in the BMW PGA Championship and Rory McIlroy taking his eye off the ball

SUDDENLY after weeks of not much really interesting happening in the pro world the BMW Championship offered us one for the ages.   Luke Donald's victory underlines what a class act he is these days so that whether he ever gets the wee bit of luck he needs to add a major to his CV is in many ways an irrelevance. I say this because the manner of his play and the way in which he performs, accepting triumph and disaster with almost equal equanimity, marks him out as a deserved No.1 in the world.   In Saturday's third round at Wentworth when the West Course was made even more difficult by a tricky, gusting wind he was calmness personified. Others may have lost their cool in the conditions - surprisingly led by the no longer so easy Ernie Els - but Donald just gritted his teeth a little more than usual and got on with it. So, too, did Justin Rose, the two Englishman offering up a masterclass in focus and endeavour.   Quite why Ernie lost his rag so badly is curious but I suspect it is rooted (a) in the fact that his redesign of the West Course has come in for some serious - and often unfair - criticism over the last couple of years and (b) he is desperate for a big win and frustrated at his own inability to capitalise on a long game that is still a gift from the gods.   Whatever, his fulsome apology and generous contribution to the European Tour's benevolent fund shows that he is indeed a big man. He is easy to like and over the years I and many of my colleagues have had a lot of fun in his company so we know how out of character his outburst was.   So in the topsy-turvy world that is the world rankings this year, Donald moves back to pole position ahead of Rory McIlroy. McIlroy left Wentworth early saying that he had taken his "eye off the ball". With all the attention that surrounds him these days this is hardly surprising and any young man would be probably the same. His fame is now such that he was seen last week making his way to the gym with two security guards.   Did he really need these guys? This was Tigeresque in its daftness. Sure he might get asked for an autograph on his way from clubhouse to gym but so what? Rory needs not only to refocus on the ball but maybe get rid of some of the more obvious trappings of fame. None of us want him to change from the nice, young bloke he actually is and turn into one of those celebrity figures frightened to catch a bus now and then. Call me naive if you like.

Editor At Large

Bill has been part of the Golf Monthly woodwork for many years. A very respected Golf Journalist he has attended over 40 Open Championships. Bill  was the Observer's golf correspondent. He spent 26 years as a sports writer for Express Newspapers and is a former Magazine Sportswriter of the Year. After 40 years on 'Fleet Street' starting with the Daily Express and finishing on The Observer and Guardian in 2010. Now semi-retired but still Editor at Large of Golf Monthly Magazine and regular broadcaster for BBC and Sky. Author of several golf-related books and a former chairman of the Association of Golf Writers. Experienced after dinner speaker.