Donald no 'Cool Hand Fluke'
Luke Donald is desperate to show the golfing world his remarkable 2011 season was no fluke and victory at the Transitions Championship in Florida represented timely encouragement.
The 34-year-old, displaced as world No 1 by fellow Briton Rory McIlroy two weeks ago, went back to the top of the rankings after beating Americans Jim Furyk and Robert Garrigus and South Korean Bae Sang-Moon in a four-way playoff on Sunday.
All four players finished 72 holes on 13-under-par and Donald took the first prize after drilling a brilliant 150-yard approach shot out of the rough at the opening sudden-death hole and rolling in his birdie putt from seven feet.
Asked by reporters if he felt a sense of having been written off after losing the No 1 ranking earlier this month, Donald replied: "Absolutely.
"I don't think many people thought I could do what I did last year all over again this season. Hopefully now I can prove them wrong."
The Englishman won four titles worldwide in 2011 and became the first player to clinch the orders of merit on both sides of the Atlantic.
"This is a funny game," said Donald. "It does come and go. I've had a slow start to this year and there have been doubts - they do creep in sometimes.
"You can certainly fall into the trap of looking at last year and how you played and kind of compare."
Donald said he was especially disappointed with his 5 & 4 hammering by South African Ernie Els in the first round of last month's WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship in Arizona.
"The way I played against Ernie really bothered me," said the 2004, 2006 and 2010 Ryder Cup player. "I hit the ball poorly and wasn't hitting the shots I wanted to.
"I also wasn't feeling comfortable on the greens and it just seemed strange because I had been working hard and I felt good about where I was."
Donald enjoyed a spell of 40 weeks as No 1 before being overtaken by McIlroy and he said their battle at the top of the rankings was great for the sport.
"Golf is in a good spot right now," he said. "There is a lot of excitement going on.
"The good players are playing well and it's nice to have a little bit of back and forth like that."
Donald and McIlroy are now taking some time off ahead of next month's US Masters at Augusta, the first major championship of the season.
"I will probably be practising with Rory in the next couple of weeks at the Bear's Club in Florida," said Donald.
"He got a taste of the view at the top and I'm sure he'll want more of it. He's a great player."