22 Jan 2013

Abu Dhabi win proves Donaldson was right not to retire

7:17 am on 22 January 2013

Jamie Donaldson refused to listen when a doctor told him to quit golf and, nine years on, vindication of his decision to carry on came when the Briton scored the best win of his career at the Abu Dhabi Championship.

Donaldson had such a chronic back condition in 2004 that one specialist suggested retirement but he was given the go-ahead after seeking a second opinion and yesterday held aloft the silver Falcon Trophy in the desert.

It was his second European Tour victory and undoubtedly the most important, the Welshman having outplayed a lineup containing world number one Rory McIlroy and second-ranked Tiger Woods.

McIlroy and Woods missed the halfway cut before Donaldson had to overturn a two-shot deficit on world number five Justin Rose to scoop the win in the closing round.

A closing 68 gave him a 14-under-par aggregate of 274 at the Abu Dhabi Golf Club beating Rose and Dane Thorbjorn Olesen by one stroke.

Donaldson says the second doctor told him he had to do a lot of core stability exercises so he spent that first year in the gym and can now manage his back issues.

The 37-year-old, who claimed his first European Tour victory at the 255th attempt when he won last year's Irish Open, blamed himself for his original injury, saying he used to practice ridiculously long hours to a point where he couldn't stretch before or after.