Persistence pays off for dogged Jamie Donaldson

Persistence pays off for dogged Jamie Donaldson

ABU DHABI - Agence France-Presse
Persistence pays off for dogged Jamie Donaldson

Jamie Donaldson of Wales watches his tee shot in the final round of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship 2013 at Abu Dhabi Golf Club in Abu Dhabi.

Jamie Donaldson will make his Masters debut in April, but had he heeded the words of his doctor, he would have been retired from golf several years ago due to chronic back pain.

Speaking Jan. 20 after securing the biggest win of his career at the HSBC Golf Championship, the 37-year-old Welshman recalled the moment in 2004 when he thought his career might be over.

Fearing his back might “go again” just by stepping off a kerb, Donaldson sought specialist advice and he did not like what he heard.

“One (specialist) said don’t play. So soon we went to see someone else,” he explained.

“To be honest as soon as somebody says that, you just go and see somebody else, I couldn’t hear that. It wasn’t what I wanted to hear.” A second specialist was consulted and it was more to his liking - plenty of physio and stability exercises and maybe there was some hope.

“I was in the wilderness for sort of four years after that injury. I didn’t really know where I was at. It was just a case of starting again and finding out what works,” he said Gradually and painfully he worked his way back to something like full fitness and rejoined the ranks of European Tour journeymen where he had been before his physical problems floored him.

Then suddenly last July all came good when he won the Irish Open, his first European Tour win at his 255th attempt.

Spurred on by that, Donaldson finished the season well, including a tie for seventh at the USPGA, and he broke into the world top 50, thus ensuring he would make his debut at Augusta National. His latest win means that he will move into the world top 30. That kind of progress brings its own rewards with entry this year into the four majors, and the big World Championship events. Donaldson said he is determined not to let such a golden chance pass him by at such an advanced stage of his career.

“I’m looking forward to playing all of the events in America that we get to play this year, and looking forward to opening new doors and playing new events on new golf courses. I’m thoroughly looking forward to it,” he said.

First up though will be the Dubai Desert Classic in a week’s time, having decided to skip next week’s Qatar Masters.

“I wasn’t originally going to play Qatar. My best finish there is about 60th. So there comes a point where you have to say, no, we don’t go there anymore.”