2012 Masters: Luke Donald Stays In The Background

AUGUSTA, GA - APRIL 06: Luke Donald of England looks on from the 17th hole during the second round of the 2012 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club on April 6, 2012 in Augusta, Georgia. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)

Luke Donald came into the 2012 Masters with high hopes. Unfortunately, another lackluster major performance will keep the World No. 1 golfer out of the spotlight once again.

Being the No. 1-ranked player on the Official World Golf Rankings is certainly nothing to shake a stick at. Players who have held the position in the past are normally accustomed to playing in the spotlight, as well. In the case of Luke Donald, however, the background seems to have served him quite well to this point.

Donald's attempt at the 2012 green jacket started off rather shaky, to put it nicely. Narrowly avoiding a disqualification following a scorecard mishap -- not of his own doing, of course -- Donald would fail to move back up the leaderboard the next two rounds. On Sunday, Donald opened his day at a disappointing 7-over and well out of contention while tournament leaders were more than 10 shots clear of the Englishman. As of the time of this writing, however, Donald has gained some ground as he stands at 3-under for his round heading into Amen Corner.

Success for Donald has not come easy, and for that, he should be commended. As I've commented in the past, Donald seems to favor the role of the "forgotten knight", hardly in the conversation of potential major winners due to his typical lackluster performances during the season's largest tournaments. Even still, Donald seems to shine during "regular" weeks, playing well enough to capture both the PGA Tour and European Tour money list titles in 2011.

Then, of course, there is the fact that he remains the No. 1-ranked player in the world, but you certainly wouldn't know it most of the time.

But all is not lost for the quiet veteran from England. He continues to do just enough to maintain his rank and file among the world's best players, holding off more "spotlight-worthy" players like Rory McIlroy and Lee Westwood. While this week has not turned out in his favor, one cannot help but expect Donald to finally capture a major title before his time on the Tour is through.

In the meantime, he will likely continue playing at his comfort level while contently competing in the background.

You can view the live Masters leaderboard here.

For more on the 2012 Masters, check out SB Nation's dedicated golf hub and this StoryStream.

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