Donald To Take Over As Ryder Cup Captain
A year ago the likelihood of a Luke Donald Ryder Cup captaincy looked a long way off. Then it was down to a two-horse race between the Englishman and Henrik Stenson which he would lose out on.
Now, in the strangest year of golf ever, he looks set to take over the reins for Rome next year. As is the way these days The Telegraph first broke the story of the news that most of us were expecting – there was talk of a second stint for 2018 skipper Thomas Bjorn, or even Paul McGinley, as well as Paul Lawrie and Robert Karlsson but Donald looks to have won the re-run race.
The two vice-captains, Edoardo Molinari and Bjorn, that Stenson named in recent times will likely stay in their posts.
Donald's Ryder Cup pedigree is something else; he played in four matches and won all four and he acted as a vice-captain to Bjorn in France and Padraig Harrington at Whistling Straits in 2021.
What Donald's team will look like is anybody's guess with nobody knowing whether the LIV Golf crowd will be allowed to play – if they're not then Europe can wave goodbye to the services of record points scorer Sergio Garcia. Otherwise that would also be that for the likes of Lee Westwood, Ian Poulter, Graeme McDowell and Martin Kaymer while Bernd Wiesberger, who made his debut last year, and Sam Horsfield would also not feature.
In an interview with Golfweek Donald explained: "If I got this captaincy I would live up to my word and see it through. Let me put it that way, I wouldn't be doing a Henrik. I was surprised that [Stenson] would put his name forward if his plan was to go to LIV, which, you know, the rumours, and I hate to talk about rumours, but rumours are that he’d been in contact with the rival tours, whatever they were, and he was very interested.
"And I think everyone knew that, the European Tour knew that. They obviously took his word that he wasn’t going to do it. We all have to sign a clause or contract saying that we won’t have anything to do with [LIV]. I'm disappointed I guess that he would put his name forward and then go to LIV. I understand certain guys going to LIV, in certain situations in their careers and stuff, that makes sense. But obviously something big to give up.
"I've had some of my best moments in golf in the Ryder Cup. What an amazing honour it is to represent Europe in the Ryder Cup, and I would love to be a captain."
Stenson was in the post for just 127 days before being relieved of his services and then releasing a fairly odd statement which suggested that the two roles could be intertwined.
"Unfortunately my decision to play in LIV events has triggered Ryder Cup Europe to communicate that it is not possible for me to continue in my role as Ryder Cup captain,” Stenson wrote. “This is despite me making specific arrangements with LIV Golf, who has been supportive of my role as captain, to ensure I could fulfill the obligations of the captaincy. While I disagree with this decision for now it is a decision that I accept.
“I have huge respect and admiration for the Ryder Cup and those individuals behind it who I know are doing their utmost to act in the best interests of the historic event,” Stenson said. “I want to thank everyone I have worked with to date to prepare for Rome 2023. I am hugely disappointed to not be allowed to continue in my role but wish you all the best in your ongoing preparations.”
The Swede added: "It goes without saying that I remain on hand to support Ryder Cup Europe in any way I can and very much hope the opportunity to represent Team Europe in some capacity will come my way again at some point in the future."
All that's in the past now, thankfully, and we can get on with Donald being at the helm for next September.