English duo pick up the pieces

The final major of the year was another disappointing affair for the world’s two top ranked players.

The final major of the year was another disappointing affair for the world’s two top ranked players.

Luke Donald and Lee Westwood, ranked first and second on the world rankings respectively, each came close to forcing the issue at the USPGA Championship in Sunday’s final round, but ultimately came up short.

The duo finished in a tie for eighth place, though both threatened to do even better during the early stages of their final rounds.

Donald’s challenge fell apart on the final four holes as he played them in a collective seven over par, finding the water at the short 15th to start the rot.

“I thought I had to press a little bit hard and obviously I hit a poor shot,” he said.

“I just didn’t strike it well enough.

“It’s a missed opportunity again. The positives I see are that I didn’t have my best week this week and I still came reasonably close.

“I know I’ve got the game to compete and win majors, but, again, it’s bittersweet – it’s another major gone, another year gone without winning a major.

“I’m moving in the right way, though. I just need that week where everything falls in place.”

There is at least still much to play for this year – the 33-year-old has a chance of becoming the first ever player to top both the US and European money lists at the end of the season, and he’ll start working towards that when the FedEx Cup play-offs begin next week.

“It’s certainly a goal,” he said.

“That would be a great accomplishment. To be the first would be very special.”

It’s far from a done deal, however.

While he enjoys a very handy £1.5million advantage over Charl Schwartzel in the Race to Dubai, he is only $120,000 in front of Nick Watney on the PGA Tour money list, which could disappear very quickly.

Westwood, meanwhile, was equally disappointed with his showing, and has now gone 55 majors without tasting victory.

He heads to Barbados for a 10-day holiday next before returning for the European Masters in Switzerland starting September 1.

“I have enjoyed playing great for a long time now,” he said.

“But unfortunately when I turn up to majors and don’t win one it’s a disappointing week for everybody it seems – and obviously for me. That’s the sort of level of golf I’m playing at.”