Skip to main content

McIlroy reclaims No. 1 golf ranking from Donald

April 16, 2012 -- Updated 1141 GMT (1941 HKT)
Luke Donald never recovered from an opening round of four-over 75 at Harbour Town Golf Links. Luke Donald never recovered from an opening round of four-over 75 at Harbour Town Golf Links.
Donald finishes down field
McIlroy on top
Pettersson wins by five shots
  • Luke Donald needed a top-eight finish at the RBC Heritage to keep No. 1 ranking
  • Donald and Rory McIlroy have switched places three times already this season
  • Sweden's Carl Pettersson won the tournament by five shots from Zach Johnson

(CNN) -- Rory McIlroy reclaimed golf's No. 1 ranking without lifting a club after Ryder Cup teammate Luke Donald finished down the field in 37th at the RBC Heritage on Sunday.

Donald needed a top-eight finish to hold off the Northern Irishman but a four-over-par 75 in the opening round put him on the back foot straight away and he eventually finished 16 shots behind the winner, Carl Pettersson of Sweden.

McIlroy took the week off following a disappointing showing at the Masters, traveling to Copenhagen to support his tennis-playing girlfriend Caroline Wozniacki at her home tournament. The Dane's bid for a third successive title in the event ended in defeat in Sunday's final.

McIlroy is next scheduled to play at the PGA Tour's Wells Fargo Championship at Quail Hollow, beginning May 3 -- a tournament he won in 2010.

Bubba Watson: 'It's a whirlwind'
Bubba Watson talks faith and family

"#1 again without touching a golf club this week.... I wish it was that easy!" the 22-year-old tweeted on Sunday.

Donald and McIlroy have swapped places three times this year already. The Englishman's latest stint at the top lasted four weeks.

"Is it a concern? No," Donald said. "Obviously, I'd have liked to have played a bit more consistently this year. I built it up nicely last year through tournaments and winning a bunch."

Donald made the cut at the RBC Heritage with a second-round 69 but finished the tournament with two level-par rounds to end up on two over.

"Not my best week, getting used to leaving this place ranked #2. Nice week off now," tweeted Donald, who lost out to Brandt Snedeker in a playoff at last year's tournament.

Donald won the Transitions Championship in March but has only one other top-10 finish. McIlroy has four top-five finishes to go with his Honda Classic win in March.

"Not my best week, getting used to leaving this place ranked #2"
Luke Donald

Donald is next due to play at the Zurich Classic, beginning April 28.

Pettersson, meanwhile, began the final round with a one-shot lead over Colt Knost and finished with a confident two-under 69 to move clear of the field for his fifth PGA Tour title.

Knost had a disastrous final round of 74 to drop out of contention, leaving Pettersson to claim victory by five strokes from another American, Zach Johnson.

Three years ago, the 34-year-old Pettersson dropped 30 pounds in a bid to slim down and improve his fitness, but found his swing was compromised and quickly decided to revert to his previous weight.

Describing how he put the pounds back on, Pettersson told the PGA Tour website: "Well, you drink 10 beers and (eat) a tub of ice cream before bed."

Part of complete coverage on
December 18, 2014 -- Updated 1547 GMT (2347 HKT)
If golf has a reputation for being a bit stuffy, then the Bryan brothers and their trick shots are a much-needed blast of fresh air.
December 11, 2014 -- Updated 1318 GMT (2118 HKT)
Not many people make the leap from teenage market trader to golf pro and fashion entrepreneur, but that's just what Ian Poulter has done.
November 12, 2014 -- Updated 1129 GMT (1929 HKT)
"Sleep, as far as mental and physical recovery goes, has never been more important ..." says sport sleep coach Nick Littlehales.
November 4, 2014 -- Updated 1024 GMT (1824 HKT)
Joe Miller is devouring his second steak of the day and the clock has barely nudged 2pm. You need lots of fuel to smash a drive 474 yards.
October 13, 2014 -- Updated 1449 GMT (2249 HKT)
There have been many dark days for Oliver Wilson, but golf's unluckiest loser is finally riding an upward swing of his career roller coaster.
October 7, 2014 -- Updated 1648 GMT (0048 HKT)
They dress like it's the 1930s and they swing antique equipment that eschews cutting-edge technology -- this is hickory golf.
September 15, 2014 -- Updated 1609 GMT (0009 HKT)
CNN's Living Golf focuses on women's golf, charting the growth of the sport from royal pastime to multi-million dollar machine.
October 1, 2014 -- Updated 0846 GMT (1646 HKT)
"I don't know how to paint happy," says golf's poster girl Michelle Wie. "I think it releases a lot of the darker feelings in me."
September 29, 2014 -- Updated 1213 GMT (2013 HKT)
Phil Mickelson of the United States talks during a press conference after the United States were defeated by Europe after the Singles Matches of the 2014 Ryder Cup on the PGA Centenary course at the Gleneagles Hotel on September 28, 2014 in Auchterarder, Scotland.
If you're a U.S. golf fan, or Tom Watson, look away now.
September 25, 2014 -- Updated 2318 GMT (0718 HKT)
A ban on uploading social media pictures from the course at Gleneagles was dropped for the Ryder Cup.
September 24, 2014 -- Updated 1052 GMT (1852 HKT)
A spot of shopping, the odd spa day and some serious flag waving. Welcome to the life of a Ryder Cup WAG.
September 23, 2014 -- Updated 1301 GMT (2101 HKT)
Tom Watson has learned plenty in the 21 years since he was last U.S. Ryder Cup captain, but social media is proving to be problematic.
September 22, 2014 -- Updated 1243 GMT (2043 HKT)
Patriotism will reach fever pitch when the USA and Europe collide in golf's Ryder Cup ... and it looks like Rickie Fowler has let it go to his head.
September 22, 2014 -- Updated 1342 GMT (2142 HKT)
Pressure is inescapable in the cauldron of Ryder Cup competition -- pressure and ping pong.
September 23, 2014 -- Updated 1150 GMT (1950 HKT)
Millions of golf fans were watching on television with great anticipation. All Martin Kaymer could think about was getting his phone out.