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Luke Donald, wild card for The European Ryder Cup Team, on his way to victory in the Omega European Masters in Switzerland. (Photo: Getty Images)
Luke Donald, wild card for The European Ryder Cup Team, on his way to victory in the Omega European Masters in Switzerland. (Photo: Getty Images)

Donald - The European Trump Card

September 07, 2004

Luke Donald's victory in the Omega European Masters a week after Miguel Angel Jimenez captured the BMW International Open is a further boost to the European cause as The 35th Ryder Cup Matches draw ever closer.

Three Ryder Cup players were in action among the spectacular mountains at Crans Montana -- Donald, Jimenez and Garcia -- and all three were in the final flight on Sunday, sending a clear message to the Americans that the European Team is on form and brimming with confidence.

Just as Stewart Cink won the World Golf Championships-NEC Invitational a week after being announced as a wild card for the United States Team, Donald celebrated his call up as a wild card and repaid the faith European Captain Bernhard Langer had put in him with a stunning five stroke victory over Jimenez with Garcia in a share of third a further shot back.

"It was great all three of us in The Ryder Cup being in the same group," said Donald moments after claiming his second European Tour title in the space of five weeks. "I think that is a strong message to send to the US guys and it is great for the European morale."

Donald and Garcia will both take a week off this week ahead of The 35th Ryder Cup Matches at Oakland Hills, Bloomfield Township, Michigan, USA, which take place September 17-19 but all the remaining ten Ryder Cup players, in addition to Captain Bernhard Langer and his three assistants -- Thomas Bjorn, Anders Forsbrand and Joakim Haeggman -- will be in action at the Linde German Masters in Cologne this week.

But for Donald his sights are now set on Oakland Hills and his Ryder Cup debut and his game is in perfect shape. Seven birdies in each of his four rounds at Crans-sur-Sierre highlight the aggressive nature of his game.

"I hope this week has validated that selection and now I am looking forward to taking this form to Detroit," added Donald. "I can't wait. If I can keep this up, perfect."

After the tranquil atmosphere experienced in Switzerland, Donald will try to maintain his relaxed composure in Detroit although expects the nerves will be jangling on the first tee, just as they did three years ago when he was representing Great Britain and Ireland in the Walker Cup at Sea Island, Georgia.

"There will be a lot more nerves obviously," said Donald. "I remember in the Walker Cup the first tee shot in 2001 at Sea Island, you have trees right and water left. It is 100 degrees and your hands are sweating and with that and your nerves it was pretty hard. I am sure The Ryder Cup is going to be just like that. But if you can try and step back and look at it as a match between nations and try and have some fun out there it will make it easier."

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