Bethesda, Maryland: Luke Donald took the slow and steady wins the race approach in climbing to the top of the world rankings, and the Briton plans to use the same formula to claim his first major championship.
Donald, a model of consistency with 15 top-10s from his last 16 tournaments worldwide, takes aim at the U.S. Open starting Thursday at Congressional Country Club.
"If you`re not in contention, you don`t have a chance to win," the 33-year-old Donald told reporters on Tuesday. "The first goal is to get in contention and have that chance. And I`ve obviously done a great job of that."
The slightly-built, boyish-looking Donald is not a big hitter, The Englishman does his damage with laser sharp iron shots and a superb short game.
Donald, who had won twice on the U.S. Tour and three times on the European Tour before this season, has two big wins this year with the WGC-Accenture Match Play title and European PGA Championship.
He has also had six second-place finishes combined on the U.S. and European tours since the start of the 2010 season.
"Certainly I could look back and think that I could have turned a couple of those seconds into victories, for sure," said Donald, who replaced Lee Westwood as world number one last month. "But overall it`s been a very satisfying few months. I`ve played extremely well. I`ve given myself lots of opportunities and I have taken a couple of them."
Donald said the game-plan remains the same this week.
"It`s dangerous to go and expect too much and come to a tournament expecting to win," he said. "But I expect to do what I know I can do. And obviously the goal is always to have a chance on Sunday and to contend. I`ve been doing that a lot lately, and there`s no reason why I can`t do it this week."
In keeping with his style, Donald has not tried any radical changes to his game. The transplanted Briton, who lives in the Chicago area after attending Northwestern University, prefers to continually hone the various elements of his game.
"I`ve just tried to make what I have just a little bit better every day, just trying to get in that mindset that there`s no real limits and that you can improve on anything going forward," he said.
"Whether it`s driving it in the fairway more, hitting more greens in regulation, getting up and down more. I look at the stats, I figure out what I need to improve on and work at it."
Donald said reaching number one was a goal of his, but he would trade that for major championship wins, such as the four majors won by Phil Mickelson, who never reached number one.
"Being number one ranked means you`ve outperformed the rest of the golfers in a two-year period," he explained.