Having reached new heights three years ago when he became the first golfer to win both the European and PGA Tour moneylists in the same year, Donald has not won since November 2013 and missed out on selection for Europe’s victorious Ryder Cup team this year.
He changed coach in mid-2013 and although he has since split from Chad Cook and gone back to Pat Goss, Donald said yesterday that there was no second-guessing his decision.
“I changed coach because I felt my game was not going the way I wanted it to, in particular I didn’t feel I was a good enough driver of the ball to win a Major. But it’s tough to break 30 years of golfing DNA, I didn’t play very well and I struggled to see a change, so I went back to Pat. Change is hard, but it was a good decision to join Chad because it made me realise that sometimes what you have is good enough,” Donald said.
The Gary Player Country Club course, however, is not the sort of place where poor drivers of the ball prosper, and Donald showed that he has plenty of game in the second round, picking up a dazzling nine birdies and not dropping a single shot.
“Every tee shot here has danger and you really have to be switched on and play good, solid shots. I feel I’ve done that very well today,” Donald said.
Whether or not Donald is the winner on Sunday – it would be a tremendous way to celebrate his 37th birthday the same day – the Englishman feels he is getting back to being one of the best golfers in the world.
“Winning would give me a huge amount of confidence that I’m doing the right thing, but my main goal is just to keep moving forward, keep getting better. Sometimes we put the Majors on too much of a pedestal. I prefer to stick to smaller goals,” he said.
In coming through a couple of miserable years, Donald has also shown that he has the character within him to overcome the tough times that inevitably come in golf and he admitted a change in mindset had also been necessary for him to rebound.
“I’d never had big struggles before but I think I needed to adjust mentally. You expect your golf to be good and for that to make you happy on the course, but it’s the other way round.”
Once the most consistent golfer in the world, Donald has the short game to capitalise on the opportunities he creates from tee to green and the old solidity is definitely returning.