Luke Donald now has room for improvement

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DORAL, Fla. — Don’t get the idea that Luke Donald was camped out in front of his television for the final hour of the Honda Classic, waiting to see if Rory McIlroy would win and replace him as No. 1 in the world.

“I was actually with my daughters at the playground,” Donald said Tuesday at Doral.

Donald was No. 1 for 40 weeks, the longest of anyone except for Tiger Woods in the past 15 years. Sunday was the 49th time the No. 1 ranking had traded hands, and only 10 players had a longer stay at the top than Donald. The record belongs to Woods at 281 weeks.

Donald’s first thought about seeing that McIlroy won was that he now had room for improvement, at least in the ranking.

“It’s hard to go very far when you’re No. 1,” Donald said. “But no, I didn’t give it too much thought. That’s what happens. I’ve had a little bit of a slow start. Rory has played well and deservedly overtook me. I’ve never really questioned the world ranking system. It’s an unbiased, mathematical system, and he’s done enough to get to No. 1.”

TENNIS ANYONE? McIlroy never felt more nervous before a big crowd.

Trying to hold onto a two-shot lead at the Honda Classic over Woods as he tried to win and go to No. 1 in the world? No, it was the next night at Madison Square Garden, when he was called onto the tennis court during an exhibition between girlfriend Carolina Wozniacki and Maria Sharapova.

He won his point against Sharapova, although the “rally” began with an underhand serve by the 22-year-old from Northern Ireland.

TIGER IN BAY HILL: If there were any questions that Woods was swapping out Bay Hill for the Honda Classic, he put those to rest by announcing he would be back at Arnold Palmer’s place, where he has won six times.

Woods lived about 10 minutes away from Bay Hill all his career before moving to south Florida last fall.


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