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Luke Donald feels Europeans are at a disadvantage

Briton Luke Donald says the European Tour could do a better job preparing players for the U.S. majors.

"I don't think it's really coincidence," Donald said on Tuesday about the lack of a European winner at the U.S. Open since Briton Tony Jacklin won in 1970.

"I think U.S. Opens always set up very similar - narrow fairways, thick rough, slopey, usually quite quick greens," he told reporters after nine holes of practice at Winged Foot.

"Playing a few European tour events that I play every year, we don't play these kind of courses."

Donald, 28, has been a regular on the U.S. Tour since 2002 and has also kept active his European Tour membership.

"The U.S. Tour events, though, are somewhat similar. They're a little bit more generous off the tee, but in general there's still pretty thick rough and the greens are, on the whole, a lot faster and a lot slopier.

"It does take time to get used to that kind of play.

"I don't know whether the European Tour need to think about that, whether they should try and start making courses a bit narrower, a bit tougher, setting pins a bit tougher to prepare guys who play over there for U.S. Opens. But it's a significant difference."

Donald, who won the Honda Classic in March and is coming into Winged Foot off top-six finishes in his last two events, is hopeful that he can be in contention in his third U.S. Open.

"I think the win at Honda was obviously a big boost to the confidence," he said. "I am coming in here in pretty good form so I'm looking forward to this week."

Donald, not the longest of hitters, believes his game suits Winged Foot.

"I don't hit the ball 300 yards every time," he said. "I hit the ball quite straight, I rely on hitting fairways and hitting greens and kind of grinding out par sometimes, especially on tough courses.

"That's the kind of game plan you need for a U.S. Open.

"I don't think you can overpower this course. The rough is so long that not even the strongest players, if the ball sits down, they're going to struggle to get anywhere near the greens.

"For me, that's a good sign - keep it in play, keep it in fairways is what's going to be my key to success."

Donald has two U.S. tour victories and a pair of European wins to his credit, and now is eager to make the next step.

"I know that I've got to a point in my career where winning a few tour events is great, but if I want to be known as a great player, I've got to comepete and try and win majors."

June 14, 2006

 




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