Last year was Jamie Donaldson’s most successful as a professional golfer.
He won the Irish Open, finished 7th in the US PGA and ended 2012 as 47th in the official World Golf Rankings. Then to top it off he received an invitation to the 2013 Masters to be held this month inAugusta.
“It was a great year but one on which I want to improve this year,” said the Tytherington golfer.
In January, his bid for improvement got off to a wonderful start when he collected his second European Tour title at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship.
The Welshman – Jamie was born in Pontypridd in 1975 – went two clear with five birdies in his first 17 holes, but three-putted the par five last for a bogey.
That left overnight leader Justin Rose and Dane Thorbjørn Olesen in the final group needing a birdie at the 18th to force a play-off, but Olesen’s 15 foot effort slid by before World Number Five Rose lipped out from 12-feet.
“It was pretty surreal really. I played really good all week although I got away with murder up the last,” said Donaldson.
“I thought one of them would hole if not both, but when both putts slipped by it was my week.
“I was very happy to be stood there holding the trophy.”
Donaldson’s victory at the Irish Open last year was his first in 255 European Tour events, but it has taken him only 13 starts to double his trophy haul.
“It’s like buses isn’t it?” he joked.
Against a field that had earlier in the week included world top two Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods – both missed the halfway cut – he could hardly believe what had just happened.
“I played the pro-am on Wednesday and thought the course was too difficult and I had no chance,” Donaldson said. “I thought if I could get a decent finish I would be chuffed.
“To be holding this trophy is just mad.”
Simon Montgomery of Georgia Golf of Wilmslow, the company which manages Donaldson’s off-course life, maintains “Jamie has been one of the hottest properties in golf over the past 8-months”.
But it hasn’t all been clear fairways ahead. Troubled by a back problem which began in 2004 he spent a few years in the wilderness after being told his injury was a spinal condition.
One doctor told him his career could be over. Jamie went for a second opinion and instead of it being a nightmare the story since has been the stuff of dreams.
Jamie suffered a disappointing 2006 season, which saw him return to the Challenge Tour in 2007, where he soon set about regaining his card through the Challenge Tour Rankings with a victory in one of the first events of 2007, the Abierto Telefonica de Guatemala.
That victory was followed with six top four finishes before ending the ’07 season in style at the Apulia San Domenico Grand Final, where a second place finish ensured he would end the year in fourth place on the Rankings.
Jamie found consistency back on the European Tour in 2008, including top ten finishes at The European Open, the SAS Masters and the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship. In 2009 Jamie had a great year and qualified for the Dubai World Championships. His earnings on Tour were 594,000 euros.
“This year I will play in all the Majors, WGC’s, some PGA events and of course play on the European Tour. My determination to be successful is as strong as ever.
“I would like to thank my sponsors for their incredible support. My main sponsor is Air Energi, the global oil and gas resourcing specialists. This year we welcome Brindles to the team. They are a specialist car purchase business based in the NW of England. Beavis Morgan the specialist tax advisory and accountancy firm based in the City are new to the team in 2013. Numero Software, a specialist social media CRM software house has also come on board in 2013. Finally I would like to thank Titleist, Footjoy and Galvin Green for their extended support for the next 2 years.
But midst all these global brands there is one local organisation which Jamie nominates as his chosen charity. That is East Cheshire Hospice.
“I want to do all I can do to help this brilliant organisation in its very special work in our community in and around Macclesfield. Its work is inspiring. I would urge everybody to support it.”
Hear! Hear! Jamie. We’ll be cheering for you this month as you take-on the world’s best inAugusta(11-14 April).