Will 2013 Be the Year Luke Donald Finally Wins a Major?

Steve SilvermanFeatured ColumnistDecember 28, 2012

DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - NOVEMBER 25:  Luke Donald of England plays his second shot at the par 5, 14th hole during the final round of the 2012 DP World Tour Championship on the Earth Course at Jumeirah Golf Estates on November 25, 2012 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.  (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)
David Cannon/Getty Images

Luke Donald is a regular fixture among golf's leaders.

Donald was the No. 1 money winner on the PGA Tour in 2011 with nearly $6.8 million in earnings. He could not come close to that figure last year as his earnings were down to $3.5 million, but it says a lot about a golfer when he's the No. 14 earner on the PGA Tour and it was a disappointing season.

Donald has a picture-perfect swing and that's probably his greatest strength on the tour. Golfer Bill Haas told Sirius/XM radio (through PGATour.com) that when he is having problems with his game, he pictures Donald's swing in order to straighten out the way he is playing.

The British native who earned a golf scholarship at Northwestern University and still calls the Chicago area home has done everything a golfer can do except win a championship.

Since Donald has tasted what it's like to be the No. 1 golfer in the world and would like to get back to a top-five golf ranking, could this be the year that Donald wins his first major?

Even with his excellent record, Donald has never done better than finishing tied for third in a major. Donald tied for third in the 2005 Masters and he also tied for third in the 2006 PGA Championship. for his career, Donald is 0-for-36 in major championships.

Donald tied for fifth in this year's British Open, but he has never played his best golf in any of the majors.

Donald is one of the most accurate golfers on the tour and also one of its best putters. He was 37th in driving accuracy in 2012 and a standout third in strokes gained while putting.

But when it comes to bombing long shots down the fairway on long par fours and par fives, nobody is going to confuse Donald with big hitters like Bubba Watson, Rory McIlroy or Tiger Woods.

Donald ranked 170th on the tour in driving distance in 2012.

This could have an impact on Donald's mental state when he plays in majors. Instead of concentrating on his superb all-around game, there are moments where his inability to compete with the big boys in terms of distance could be weighing on his mind.

Donald has been pressing to get off the schneid in major tournaments. He told Gene Wojciechowski of ESPN.com that not having a major has impacted his mental outlook.

"Well, I think it already has," he said. "Nothing new. I've been trying to win one of those for the last 10 years."

Donald is an even-keeled golfer who is not given to club throwing, cursing or other forms of tantrums that some of the top pros will give in to from time to time.

But he is consumed by his winless skein in the majors. The more he presses, the more difficult it will become.

Donald is going to need to let go of his angst in order to give himself his best chance to win a major. If he can do that, the 2013 season could be the year that he breaks his long drought.