Nick Piastowski

January 21, 2023

Luke Donald hits his third shot on Friday on the 2nd gap at Yas Hyperlinks Abu Dhabi.

Golf Channel

The tv analysts? They have been confused. 

However Luke Donald? Although his transfer was daring, he was clear.

And Phil Mickelson? He cherished each little bit of it. 

“It was the proper play. I really feel ya captain,” the embattled six-time main champion wrote on Twitter, including a thumbs-up emoji after the primary sentence, and a sun shades emoji after the second. 

There’s a bit to unpack right here, so we’ll begin with the sequence itself. Throughout Friday’s Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship second spherical, Donald was yards wanting the inexperienced after two pictures on the 534-yard par-5 2nd at Yas Hyperlinks Abu Dhabi, and this yr’s European Ryder Cup captain was pitching on his third stroke. Right here’s the place it received enjoyable. 

To the left of the outlet, Donald’s caddie held the flag; his participant was going to hit ‘blindly.’ 

“That is adventurous — pin out for Luke Donald,” an announcer on the Golf Channel broadcast mentioned.  

“I’m unsure why the pin was on the market,” one other announcer mentioned. “Any causes there?”

“Yeah, he’s loopy,” a 3rd announcer mentioned.  

“He wouldn’t have been in a position to see the outlet, would he?” the second analyst requested 

“He’s not precisely the tallest, both, is he?” the third mentioned. 

Donald then hit simply previous the outlet, his ball checked, and he had a 7-footer for birdie. 

“That may be a improbable shot so perhaps we should always strive blind chips to par-5s,” one announcer mentioned on the printed.  

‘That’s a catastrophe’: Ryder Cup captain putts ball into bunker — and drops 19 spots


Nick Piastowski

“I don’t know, yeah,” one other mentioned. 

So what offers? There was some methodology to the insanity. Forward of Donald on the 22-yard shot, the inexperienced sloped uphill for about three-quarters of the best way, then sloped down, to the outlet. Donald had determined to cowl each slopes, although — and didn’t need something to get in his approach. 

“There was a large slope taking place to the outlet,” Donald wrote on Twitter, after the DP World Tour’s account shared a video of the shot and ensuing commentary. “I needed to fly the ball all the best way to the outlet with spin for any likelihood of getting it shut – didn’t need the possibility it flew into the flag on the fly and pinged off 40 ft away.”

And two hours later, Mickelson permitted. After a controversial 2022, the once-active social media commenter has stored principally quiet, although he couldn’t assist himself after the against-the-grain play, a Mickelson trademark. 

After the pitch, Donald dropped the putt for a birdie. Regardless of a later sequence on Friday the place he putted right into a bunker, he’ll begin Sunday’s remaining spherical six strokes again of leaders Francesco Molinari, Min Woo Lee and Shane Lowry. 

“I really got here into this yr with increased expectations than I had shortly only for my very own recreation,” Donald mentioned Thursday, after he opened with an eight-under 64. “You understand while you’re swinging moderately effectively. I really feel like I’ve performed some good work on my lengthy recreation with Jamie Gough, and I’ve performed some good work with my brief recreation with Pat Goss. And to be trustworthy, I really feel like my recreation is in a fairly great place.

“It’s not completely shocking that I shot 64 at the moment. I went on the market — once more, final couple days, I’ve been hitting it properly, swinging effectively, and it was good to hold that on at the moment.”

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Nick Piastowski Editor

Nick Piastowski is a Senior Editor at and Golf Journal. In his function, he’s answerable for modifying, writing and growing tales throughout the golf area. And when he’s not writing about methods to hit the golf ball farther and straighter, the Milwaukee native might be enjoying the sport, hitting the ball left, proper and brief, and ingesting a chilly beer to clean away his rating. You possibly can attain out to him about any of those subjects — his tales, his recreation or his beers — at [email protected]

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