The Open 2012: Luke Donald still awaits delivery date and it"s long overdue

Donald still awaits delivery date and it's long overdue

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UPDATED:

20:36 GMT, 21 July 2012

Luke Donald's caddie John
McLaren was back on the bag on Saturday after spending
Friday with his wife, who
gave birth to their first child
following a short labour.

If only Donald's first major
championship could be delivered as
smoothly. Instead, it continues to
prove a protracted and painful
affair, fraught with complications
and, worst of all, no obvious sign of
an arrival date. Saturday at The
Open came with Donald and
McLaren hopeful and expectant,
only to leave wondering if it will
ever be their turn.

On the bag: Donald lines up his putt with replacement caddie Gareth Lord

On the bag: Donald lines up his putt with replacement caddie Gareth Lord

Golf blog

The world No 1 began eight shots off the lead and thus in need of a mistake-free round in the mid-60s to give himself a chance on the final day. As ever, there was no shortage of support.

The crowd, yearning for a first English victory in England since Tony Jacklin strode majestically over these acres in 1969, soon offered up the first cry of 'Luuuke'.

Anyone who has been to a Bruce Springsteen concert will recognise the noise. Now we gathered hoping no one would pull the plug, Hyde Park-style.

It all started so
well. The third hole
was proving the
toughest of all
when Donald came
to it but he
improved the stats
with a perfect
drive, a solidly
struck iron, and a
putt from 18ft that
curved into the
hole.

Now he had a bit
of momentum.

In trouble: Donald thinned his chip into the long rough on 13

In trouble: Donald thinned his chip into the long rough on 13

At the next, the
spectators in the
packed grandstand
behind the green
were united in
letting out a cry of
'oooh' as the ball
burned the edge of
the hole. At the
fifth another good
birdie putt just
failed to drop. Donald was on the
march.

How often in the majors does he
seem to follow one step forward
with another back

From a perfect spot in the middle
of the sixth fairway, Donald pushed
an iron shot into a horrible lie in
one of Lytham's most notorious
bunkers.

One thing you can't do in these
hazards is be too greedy. Instead of
playing for the front of the green,
he tried to be too adventurous and
paid the price. He caught the top of
the venomous wall in front of him
and the ball plopped back into the
sand.

What a way to see your chance slip
away when you're the best bunker
player in the modern game. Three
more shots to complete the hole and a double-bogey six meant the end of
England's big-name challenge for
another year.

First there was Justin Rose on
Thursday, then Lee Westwood on
Friday, now Donald has fallen as
well.

Home favourite: Donald is searching for his first major

Home favourite: Donald is searching for his first major

How these players get over the
hurdle of expectation is something
exercising their thoughts night and
day.

But the words of David Duval
carry particular resonance as
Donald contemplates a third
disappointing major championship
in a row, following a tied 37th finish
at the Masters and a missed cut at
the US Open.

'The longer it drags on without you
winning a major the harder it gets,
the more you get in your own head,
the more you press and think about
it,' said Duval – Open Champion at
Lytham in 2001.

'I don't think you can talk about it any other way, if you're making an
honest argument.'

That double-bogey six at the sixth
clearly knocked the stuffing out of
Donald.

He could not even afford a small
blemish, let alone a big one. On the
greens he had no luck at all as a
number of putts lipped out. He
finished with a 71.

Even though the wind is supposed
to blow hard today and anything
could happen, it will not be

happening for Donald.
'I know I'm too far back but
there are positives to take from
the week,' he insisted. 'I've played
well enough from tee to green but
haven't had much luck on them.

After the disaster of the US Open
I feel like I'm back on the right
track.'