Former No. 1 Luke Donald considered quitting golf

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Luke Donald. Photo by Terry Schmitt/UPI
Luke Donald. Photo by Terry Schmitt/UPI | License Photo

Former No. 1-ranked player Luke Donald said he considered quitting professional golf last spring.

Having not won a tournament on a major golf tour since topping the world rankings in 2012 and falling out of the top 50 last May, the Englishman considered walking away from the game.


"My confidence had taken a big knock and I asked myself if I wanted to continue doing this," Donald told the London Telegraph.

"I wasn't enjoying it, finding it so very hard and could not see much light at the end of the tunnel. But then I told myself not to be a baby, to grow up and realise how lucky I was. I was still playing golf for a living."

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The 38-year-old Donald, who is married with three young daughters, sought out sports psychologist Dr. Michael Gervais to help him refocus on the game.

"He just reminded me that it's up to me what mood or mindset I'm in," Donald told the Telegraph. "When you're in a slump it's easy to forget you're still the one who is in control."

Donald regrouped and qualified for both the U.S. Open and the British Open, although he managed only one top-five finish on the season at the British Masters.

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Now ranked 78th in the world, Donald has returned to former coach Pat Goss and said he feels confident heading into the 2016 season.

Donald is in the field at the Sony Open in Hawaii this week, and will be joined by new caddie Mick Doran after John MacLaren left to work with fellow Englishman Paul Casey.

Donald must win on the PGA Tour or climb into the top 50 in the world rankings to qualify for his 12th consecutive Masters in April. He also has yet to qualify for the U.S. Open or British Open.

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There is also the opportunity to earn a spot on captain Darren Clarke's Ryder Cup team.

"There was a time where I kept looking at the world rankings and kept seeing myself slipping," Donald told the Telegraph. "And I think that's the wrong approach. I've always been most successful when I have a plan and stick to it. Every day try to get a little better, incremental improvement. Of course, the goal is to get back in the top 50, then get back in the top 25, start getting some top 10s again, start winning tournaments again and just get back into that feeling.

"I think I have a little bit of a way to go, but I'm feeling confident that I can get back to at least close to the level I was a few years ago. I felt like it was very close the last few months. It just didn't quite click. I haven't had that one breakout win to kind of get the confidence going enough. But certainly I feel optimistic about my chances going forward."

Donald has watch a young group of English golfers surpass him in the world rankings, but he knows first hand that it is difficult to stay on top in such a competitive sports.

"You know, it's not that difficult to fall down in the rankings. I've experienced that a little bit myself," Donald said. "Look at Tiger. For 10 years he was unstoppable, unbeatable and this just shows how fickle this game is, how many ebbs and flows there is to it, and how hard it is."

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