Luke Donald intends to take a leaf out of Roger Federer’s book when he bids for his first major at Royal Lytham and St Annes next week.
The 34-year-old, who starts the defence of his Scottish Open title at Castle Stuart today, was at Wimbledon last Friday and could not have been more impressed by Federer – “so calm and collected” – in his semi-final win over Novak Djokovic.
He also saw Andy Murray beat Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and on the Scot’s bid to end his Grand Slam duck Donald commented: “He’s made a very conscious effort not to get so down on himself.
“When I’m playing I’m laughing and joking, but I’ve realised that (at majors) I do get a little bit more anxious, a little bit more uptight, a little bit more agitated.
“People around me notice it. I’ve got to try and control that and that’s going to be the priority - go out there and try to play with a little bit more freedom, a little bit more fun.
“I’ve realised it for a while and it’s just a constant process of trying to work on that and improve every time.”
Today at Inverness Donald partners Ernie Els, who does not find it hard to picture Donald or Lee Westwood finally winning a first major in The Open.
Els said of Donald: “He’s no.1 in the world and when he’s on his game he’s one of the best drivers of the ball.
“It’s all there– it’s just a matter of a bit of luck falling your way and making the right putts.”
Els hopes to be an Open contender himself on the course where he was joint- second behind Tom Lehman in 1996 and joint-third behind David Duval in 2001.
*Australian Jason Day, runner-up in both The Masters and United States Open last year, has followed former winner Mark O’Meara in pulling out of next week’s Open Championship at Royal Lytham.
The 24-year-old’s wife gave birth to their first child on Tuesday and Day has decided to stay at home with his son Dash.
Reigning US Open champion Webb Simpson is expected to follow as his wife is expecting their second child in a fortnight.
There will be no replacements until the field size drops below 156, and it could be at 158 if the spots available at this week’s Scottish Open and John Deere Classic are claimed on Sunday.