Luke Donald has praised Rory McIlroy for the leadership he has shown off the course while fighting for honours at the top of the sport.
McIlroy has led the charge for player rights, with his actions alongside Tiger Woods and other leading figures resulting in increased prize funds on the PGA Tour.
The PGA Tour's move to increase purses and other bonuses came as a result of the challenge from LIV Golf.
Donald tight lipped on LIV players at Ryder Cup ahead of court case
McIlroy was hugely critical of LIV earlier in the year, and has since made the call for the warring sides to find common ground to benefit the sport as a whole.
The Northern Irishman did all that while keeping his game sharp as he won the FedEx Cup, the Harry Vardon Trophy for the DP World Tour's No. 1 player and returned to the top of the world rankings.
McIlroy will be of huge importance next year to Donald who will captain Europe at the Ryder Cup in Rome.
- Smith, Scott make solid starts, Lee leads the way at Australian PGA Championship
- Tiger beats McIlroy to top spot in PGA Tour’s Player Impact Programme, scoops $15m
And there will be no fear from Donald of piling responsibility on McIlroy's shoulders.
“He just feels a responsibility," Donald said. "He has always been open and honest.
"He has always expressed how he feels, and I think he feels as the No. 1 player in the world he has a responsibility.
"He is getting many questions asked. He is one of those people who does not back off and will tell you how he feels. He has stepped up as a leader.
"It is difficult being someone at the top of the game, you are working hard on that, so to do both and to juggle that is pretty impressive."
As well as being pleased with what McIlroy has achieved away from the course, Donald has been impressed with the changes he has made to his game.
"I see so much more consistency in his game," Donald said. "Week to week he is putting himself in contention. I feel like mentally he is in a better spot and he is enjoying the game."
The one disappointment for McIlroy was his failure to end his major drought that now runs to eight years, but Donald expects him to continue to challenge for golf's biggest prizes.
"He is a helluva player," Donald said. "I am sure he is disappointed he has not won a major this year. But it would be a surprise if he did not have great opportunities again next year."
Moliwood is back - Fleetwood and Molinari named captains for Hero Cup
'It is my only goal' - Molinari sets sights on Ryder Cup spot in his native Italy
Share this article