Nick Faldo's victory at the 1996 US Masters remains the last by an Englishman, a span of 17 years and 68 tournaments during which time Donald and Lee Westwood have been ranked world number one and Northern Ireland has produced three separate major champions in Graeme McDowell, Rory McIlroy and Darren Clarke.
Donald has slipped to sixth in the rankings and has never recorded a top-10 finish in the US Open, but believes he can contend this week at Merion, a course which has not hosted a major since 1981.
"There's always more attention, more requests of your time when you are world number one and that takes management and that's tough," Donald said.
"But within myself the pressures are just the same. I want to win a major championship just as badly this year as when I was number one. It's about managing those expectations, managing those feelings and knowing what you have is good enough.
"It always crosses your mind whether it's going to happen, but you always go back to the successes you've had. I was able to get to number one and win seven times (on the European Tour) and you try to focus on that.
"You just have to be confident that you are going in the right direction. You're trying to focus on positives rather than why you have not done anything.
"It just takes one good week. My results have not been as consistent as I would like. The last couple of years I got so much out of my game and now I feel I am due for that. It just has not happened but I am excited and this week is the start of a run of big tournaments coming up."
Donald admits driving is not his strong suit and that he needs to be more accurate on US Open-style courses, but with Merion only 6,996 yards and offering plenty of scoring opportunities from 100 yards in, the Ryder Cup star has reason to be confident.
"When I am playing well I am going to be in contention no matter what course it is," added the 35-year-old, who has missed the cut in two of his last four US Open appearances.
The likes of Donald, Westwood, Justin Rose and Ian Poulter at least have an ally in defending champion Webb Simpson, who believes players who have not won a major title are unfairly criticised.
"I've said it to people a lot this year that guys who haven't won majors who are great players get a bad rap," said Simpson, who is trying to become the first player since Curtis Strange in 1989 to successfully defend his US Open title.
"The fact is there's only four of these a year, and it's so hard to have your game peak and beat the best players in the world one out of four times a year. It's so hard to put so much emphasis on four golf tournaments. So many factors have to be going well for you to compete and even get in contention on a week like this."
World number one Tiger Woods has done so better than anyone else, but Sunday will be five years to the day since the last of his 14 major wins in a play-off against Rocco Mediate at Torrey Pines.
The 37-year-old has won four times this season and could join the list of famous winners at Merion which includes Bobby Jones, Ben Hogan and Lee Trevino, but was not about to get carried away by the prospect.
"It would be nice," Woods said. "We've got a long way to go. We haven't started yet. We've got some work to do. Anyone who wins this week will certainly be a part of history, just like it is with any US Open or any USGA event.
"I just enter events to win and that's it, whether there's a lot of people following or there's nobody out there. That's why I played as a junior, all the way through to now is just to try to kick everyone's butt. That to me is the rush. That's the fun. That's the thrill.
"It's been nice to be a part of the mix for 17 years now out here and be a part of a lot of great duels and a lot of great battles. And that to me is why I prepare, why I lift all those weights and put myself through all that is to be in those type of positions."