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Jamie Donaldson hoping to continue form

September 18, 2014

Over recent weeks, a maturing Jamie Donaldson has realised his Ryder Cup ambition and now, after his most successful year to date, the Welshman will be savouring the chance to flex his muscles against his transatlantic counterparts at Gleneagles next week.

Buoyed by his recent win at the D + D Real Czech Masters, the penultimate counting event to Ryder Cup qualification and the one that ensured Donaldson of his automatic place in Paul McGinley's team, the man from Pontypridd is raring to test his game against the best that America has to offer.

Donaldson, following in the footsteps of countryman Phillip Price, who debuted at The Belfry in 2002, recognises just how significant his conquest in Prague was and now has nothing less than victory set in his sights in Perthshire.

He said: "Czech was very important to not only qualify but get a win going into The Ryder Cup. Winning is what it is all about and to get another one was big for me and big for my Ryder Cup debut."

The Ryder Cup rookie feels that his debut appearance this month is a culmination of his progress over the past eight seasons, in which he has improved his performances year on year, bettering his Race to Dubai standings from 229th in 2007, up to a lofty third place at present.

Subsequently, Donaldson is well aware of the magnitude of breaking into his first Ryder Cup team, having truly earned it through perseverance and sheer determination.

"It's massive," he continued. "It's something I've always wanted to do so the fact that it's come around now is great. I've played really well all season; my form has been building year on year, so yeah it's huge.

"I've been progressing well since 2008, every season's been better than the last one, I had to just keep working hard on the things that were making me play well and try and eradicate more weaknesses through looking at my all round game and keep doing the things that were making me play well.

"It was a goal of mine to get in the team and I wasn't too far away the time before. I was comfortably not in, but I wasn't too far away. I knew if I kept on that curve there would be a very good chance that I would get in the team.

"And now here we are, in the team, so it's worked!"

One can sense the self-assurance in a man that has witnessed his own development each year and is confident that a continuation of his approach will only result in further growth.

Undoubtedly, Paul McGinley will be hoping that Donaldson continues to flourish once the Ryder Cup stage is set and the first tee hushed at Gleneagles because, in Jamie Donaldson, The 2014 Ryder Cup captain will have one of the most in- form men in world golf at his disposal.

However, Donaldson is adamant that past accomplishments and reputation count for nothing once the transatlantic battle begins; whoever plays better and gels as a pairing will win, rather than the player or pairing that seems stronger on paper or has the most Ryder Cup experience.

He said: "It's a very strong team, I don't know who you'd say would be favourite, but whoever is, it doesn't really make much difference. The guys have got to bond well as a team, everybody has and we've got to go out there and play very well."

Despite this, McGinley has certainly fashioned one of the most formidable European teams in Ryder Cup history and his picks have only supplemented this strength as he added a wealth of experience in Lee Westwood, balanced with match play prowess in Ian Poulter and playing form in Stephen Gallacher.

"The team looks strong," said Donaldson. "Paul's picks were very good; Westwood and Poulter, their game speaks for itself and Stevie's been playing excellent golf for the last couple of years again. He needed to play well in his last event and in doing so so he proved to the captain that he's a great pick."

Alongside Gallacher and Victor Dubuission, Donaldson will make up a trio of debutants at the biennial competition yet not one of three will prove a pushover for the Americans.

Indeed, playing under the rookie nametag has often proved to be an invigorating, cathartic experience, with less expectation burdening their games and Donaldson can take inspiration from compatriot Price in this regard, who beat Phil Mickelson 3 and 2 in the Sunday Singles to earn a valuable point for Europe at The Belfry in 2002.

Perhaps the Welsh warrior might yet make a similar impact at Gleneagles...

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