British Open Results: Who Is the Player of the Year Favorite?

Thomas ConroyCorrespondent IJuly 18, 2011

SANDWICH, ENGLAND - JULY 15:  Luke Donald of England walks to the 18th green during the second round of The 140th Open Championship at Royal St George's on July 15, 2011 in Sandwich, England.  (Photo by Stuart Franklin/Getty Images)
Stuart Franklin/Getty Images

When Darren Clarke hoisted the claret jug at the British Open, this marked the more than halfway point through the golf season and it’s time to make predictions. More specifically, which golfer is the favorite to win player of the year honors.

My choice is Luke Donald, who is still looking for his first major championship, but has secured three wins already on this year’s calendar.

No one can argue Donald is playing his best golf professionally and I’m including his run in 2006 where he won on the PGA and European tours. Before the U.S. Open, Donald hadn’t finished out of the top 10 since February. He now is more than just a great putter, Donald is consistent from tee to green. The only flaw in his game is the lack of distance gained from his tee shot.

No argument Donald has struggled at the majors, his record in 30 appearances is a paltry four top 10 finishes. I believe he has the mindset to be successful on these golf courses that play particularly long. The difference is Donald must show some patience and confidence in his irons to win his first major championship.

A lot of pressure would be taken off his shoulders if Donald could win at the PGA Championship in three weeks. But, he has to first put behind him the disappointing performances at Congressional and Royal St. Georges before moving forward. You love how Donald is still focused on getting better on the course. He hasn’t reached his pinnacle just yet and feels that he has much more to accomplish in golf.

Some in the media have said that the point system format falsely awards the player of the year to undeserving golfers who haven’t performed well at the majors. Are we placing too much emphasis on four days? You can change the perception of your game solely on how well you play at the majors. Currently, we have three different major championship winners that have done little else this year. You must secure some key victories over the course of the season to be considered a true player of the year candidate.

It’s Donald’s time now.