Skip to main content

Donald makes golf history with Race to Dubai success

updated 8:59 AM EST, Sun December 11, 2011
Luke Donald celebrates on the final hole after clinching the Race to Dubai title to make golfing history.
Luke Donald celebrates on the final hole after clinching the Race to Dubai title to make golfing history.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Luke Donald is third in the Dubai World Championship to win the Race to Dubai title
  • Donald birdies three of his final six holes to finish three shots behind Alvaro Quiros
  • The Englishman becomes first player to top PGA and European money list in same year
  • Rory McIlroy, the only player who could have stopped Donald, finishes tied for 11th place

(CNN) -- Luke Donald has won the 2011 Race to Dubai title to become the first golfer in history to top the money list in both Europe and the United States in the same calendar year.

Englishman Donald needed to finish in the top nine of the season-ending Dubai World Championship at the Jumeirah Golf Estates on Sunday to add the European title to the PGA Tour crown he secured last month.

And he achieved that target comfortably, carding three birdies in his final six holes to shoot a second successive six-under-par 66 -- the joint best round of the day -- for a 72-hole total of 272 (-16).

Tiger holds no terror for golf's new world order

That was enough to come home third in the 58-strong field, three shots adrift of tournament winner Alvaro Quiros of Spain, who held his nerve to post a five-under 67 for a two-stroke success over Scotland's Paul Lawrie.

Prior to the tournament, only Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy could have prevented Donald from making history, meaning the top two ranked players in the world were fighting it out for European golf's top prize.

A successful year for McIlroy and Donald

World number two McIlroy, who came into the tournament in sparkling form after winning the Hong Kong Open the previous week, needed to win in Dubai and hope Donald finished outside the top nine.

Who will be the golf star of 2012?

But Donald's third-placed finish meant McIlroy could not overtake his Ryder Cup team-mate no matter what he achieved -- and in the end he finished joint 11th, 10 strokes off the pace, after a third round of 71 in a row.

Donald's year has been a model of consistency, with the 34-year-old winning four times this season, twice on each tour, as well as picking up a host of placed finishes along the way.

He began his season by winning February's WGC-Accenture Match Play title in Arizona, before the pivotal moment in May when he defeated Lee Westwood in a play-off in the European Tour's flagship BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth -- taking Westwood's No.1 ranking in the process.

I didn't look at the leaderboard until the 13th hole, but didn't see Rory's name up there so I knew the title was mine
Luke Donald

Donald continued that form into July with a four-stroke success in the Scottish Open at Castle Stuart.

And he effectively secured the PGA Tour title with a two-shot win in October's Children's Miracle Network Classic at Disneyland.

Despite his astonishing success this year, Donald has also suffered heartache in 2011 following the sudden death of his father, and the world number one spoke emotionally following his victory.

Donald told the official European Tour website: "My father would have been very proud and he would just give me a big hug. He hopped into my head quite a few times over the closing stretch."

He continued: "I didn't look at the leaderboard until the 13th hole, but didn't see Rory's name up there so I knew the title was mine."

Including his $1.5m bonus for winning the Race to Dubai, Donald's total earnings from Europe alone this year are $7.143m, with McIlroy collecting $5.35m in second place and last year's winner, Martin Kaymer of Germany, third on $4.67m.

Meanwhile, Quiros finished sixth in the Race to Dubai standings after his second win of the season, following his Dubai Desert Classic success, and sixth of his career.

Quiros had begun his final round two strokes clear of Lawrie, but the former British Open champion had turned things around and was one stroke ahead at the turn.

Going into the final hole, the pair were level. However, Lawrie could only par, while a spectacular eagle putt on the 18th green ensured Quiros ended the season with a prize fund of $3.02m.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 8:59 AM EST, Sun December 11, 2011
Luke Donald becomes the first golfer in history to top the money list in both Europe and the United States in the same calendar year.
updated 2:15 PM EST, Fri December 9, 2011
In these difficult economic times, it seems almost obscene that 60 men will be battling for a share of $15 million this weekend.
updated 12:23 PM EST, Fri December 9, 2011
Rory McIlroy
Rory McIlroy reveals that he might be battling a tropical disease after his bid to become Europe's top golfer falters at the end of his second round on Friday.
updated 6:08 PM EST, Fri December 9, 2011
In April, a dejected Rory McIlroy slumped away from Augusta National after suffering one of the most dramatic final-round collapses in the sport's history.
updated 11:49 AM EST, Thu December 8, 2011
Living Golf looks back at a strong year for both world No. 2 Rory McIlroy and top-ranked Luke Donald.
updated 10:59 AM EST, Thu December 8, 2011
Rory McIlroy hits an approach shot during his first round six-under-par 66 in Dabai.
Rory McIlroy boosted his hopes of being crowned European No.1 with a six-under-par 66 Thursday in the first round of the Dubai World Championship.
updated 5:14 AM EST, Thu December 8, 2011
World No. 1 Luke Donald has set his sights on winning his first major in 2012, ahead of a weekend which could see him make history in Dubai.
updated 8:59 AM EST, Wed December 7, 2011
The European Tour season will come to an end in Dubai this weekend, with golf's top two players going head-to-head in the 2011 money-list battle.
updated 6:47 AM EST, Thu December 8, 2011
2010 PGA Championship winner Martin Kaymer looks to add to his trophy case. Shane O'Donoghue reports.
updated 1:35 PM EST, Sun December 4, 2011
Rory McIlroy kept alive his hopes of winning the European Tour's Race to Dubai with a thrilling victory in the Hong Kong Open on Sunday.
ADVERTISEMENT