Donald Gets Rare Opportunity Of Ryder Cup Defence

Not so long ago Luke Donald wasn't even the first-choice selection as the Ryder Cup skipper, now he will do something that no European captain has done since Bernard Gallacher in 1995.

At Bethpage Black in 2025 the Englishman will enjoy a second stint at the helm after Europe's five-point success in Rome. Donald was thought to be one of the great captains and all the players were unanimous in their support for a second term of captaincy but it remains almost unheard of to actually do it.

Since Gallacher we have had Seve Ballesteros, Mark James, Sam Torrance, Bernhard Langer, Ian Woosnam, Nick Faldo, Colin Montgomerie, Jose Maria Olazabal, Paul McGinley, Darren Clarke, Thomas Bjorn and Padraig Harrington as one-and-done captains. Seven of them Major winners, whether that matters or not, and some of the greatest minds and captains in the game.

Only Tony Jacklin has managed a win on both sides of the Atlantic and Donald is under no illusions as to the size of his task in New York in two years.

"The thought that I could potentially create some history as only the second European captain to go back-to-back winning is enticing to me," Donald said. "I've always loved those challenges and this is what motivates me and it was a big part of the decision."

The ability to win away in a Ryder Cup remains one of the toughest tasks in sport with Europe having managed it twice this century while the Americans are looking at 1993 for their last win on foreign soil. And Donald revealed that he only made up his mind to do it all over again in recent weeks.

"It was very gratifying and very humbling, lifting that trophy on the Sunday afternoon and hearing the players want me to return. I didn't want to let the guys down after they were so supportive of me trying to do it again, but it wasn't until a couple of weeks ago that we really sat down and had some chats with my family and decided that this was a great opportunity."

We're yet to find out who will be leading the American side at what promises to be the noisiest Ryder Cup in the history of the competition, particularly given how Europe dominated things so much in Italy. There have been calls for Tiger Woods though the American has played things down.

"Certainly that's part of the challenge. All Ryder Cups are loud and boisterous and New York won't be any different and maybe even more so. But I played at Bethpage a few times and the New Yorkers love their sport and they love some jostling and all that kind of that goes with it. Obviously I have 22 months to try and figure out how to get the guys in the right frame of mind to deal with that, with the crowd.

"It's the same every time you go away and New York might be a notch above that, but again, that's to be seen. I've now got to try to figure that and those were sort of the things that will certainly be swishing around in my brain over the next few weeks.

"I'd be happy to go up against anyone. If it's Tiger great, if it's anyone else great. My job now is to concentrate on my plans and getting my team and the qualification process and all that kind of stuff in place."