The chance to captain Europe at the Ryder Cup in 2023 isn’t quite as tempting after the United States walloped Padraig Harrington’s side 19-9 and it looks like it might come down to Henrik Stenson or Luke Donald.
It was always expected that Lee Westwood would do Italy in two years and then hand on the mantle to Ian Poulter for the away match at Bethpage Black. But the Englishman told the Telegraph recently that he still believes that he has a chance of a record 12th appearance and, given that he is currently inside the world’s top 40, then he will have every chance of earning some big qualifying points.
“Of course it is not a decision I've taken lightly as it would be a huge honour to captain Europe and it is something I'd love to do one day," Westwood said. "But it's almost a full-time job nowadays and that is something I can't commit to while I'm in the top 50 and still competitive. The Ryder Cup is very close to my heart and I would only take on the role if I believe I could give it 100 per cent. Whoever gets the job for Rome will obviously have my full backing and I'll continue to do all I can for the Europe cause, as I've always tried to since my debut 24 years ago."
Which leaves the leading contenders Stenson and Donald, both vice-captains at Whistling Straits this year and Stenson is supposedly the leading contender. The Swede has played on five teams, winning three times, to Donald’s four, all of which were wins.
But Stenson, now 45, also thinks that he has a chance of playing again.
“Like a lot of people, I thought Lee was going to be next in line,” Stenson said. “We’ll see what happens, but I have certainly got some experience as a vice-captain and we’ll see if we need to put on the big shoes in the future. It’s still early to tell on that but it’s good to be part of the conversation. I feel like if I can get my game to where I want it to be and where it it can be, I can have another Ryder Cup in me.”
Other options include Graeme McDowell, though he will likely be the favourite for Adare Manor in 2027, or maybe a return to Thomas Bjorn who oversaw things so brilliantly in Paris in 2018.