They both reside in Chicago and they share a passion in golf. That’s about all you can say Luke Donald and basketballüber-legend Michael Jordan have in common.
But the pair have struck up an unlikely friendship after Jordan bought a mansion near where Donald is building a second home in southern Florida.
“Michael’s a really nice chap who I’ve got to know really well recently,” Donald tells the Daily Telegraph.
“His fiancée is good friends with my wife and we’ve begun to play a lot together. I’m always happy to empty his wallet.”
But there’s more to this friendship than some extra pocket money. Donald went to university in the Windy City in 1997 and has lived there since – so he knows all too well Jordan’s success with the Chicago Bulls.
And it’s that competitive spirit that Donald, still yet to get his hands on a major championship, wants to tap in to while they play friendly games at the nearby Bear’s Club.
“It’s been good to pick Michael’s brains and find out what he was thinking about when he was playing basketball,” adds Donald. “He’s always trying to play mind games and doesn’t like to lose. He’s good for the mind and he’s been making sure that I’m ready mentally.”
It seems to be having an immediate effect on Donald, who tees off for the first time this season at this week’s Los Angeles Open as Operation Majors and McIlroy gets into full swing.
“I still believe I can get back up there and have the chance to be World No.1 again,” says Donald, who has now fallen back to third in the rankings. “If I have a year like 2011, it is possible. The rankings are tough because you basically have to at least match what you did in the season previously not to fall back.
“Last year was solid for me but I lost so many points because I had such a great year in 2011. It’s very hard to keep up. Rory’s going to see some of that this year.
“Although I was content with how I played last year – I won three times on three different continents – I was once again disappointed with how I performed in the majors.
“I played solidly enough at the Open, but the other three were nothing to write home about. I’ve got to figure out the way to be competitive at the majors. That’s the main aim this year.”
Enter Mr Jordan.
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