Donald the new favourite to lead European Ryder Cup effort

Luke Donald has emerged as the new favourite to lead Europe at the 2023 Ryder Cup in Italy. Initially the hot favourite was Lee Westwood but he will pass for this time and hope that he can manage one final appearance as a player.

Henrik Stenson is another frontrunner but he is reportedly considering a hefty offer to join the Saudi-backed golf league which would take him out of the running. Whether this is true or not we'll have to wait and see but the jungle drums are beating in favour of Donald.

“He’s a good friend of mine. He has good experience playing and being a vice-captain. I’m sure that he’s a great candidate for it, and he can do a great job if he gets the nod for it. So excited to see what’s going to happen there,” said Sergio Garcia, the record points scorer in the competition.

“He might seem a little shy, a little kind of closed, but he’s a wonderful man. He’s quite funny. He’s got a good sense of humour and a big heart, so those are important things to have not only as a captain but as a person.”

The pair have always been big mates and they have shared some huge Ryder Cup moments including the spark to the comeback at Medinah. The 44-year-old played on four teams – 2004, 06, 10 and 12 – and he never lost a match. In the past two matches Donald has served as a vice-captain to Thomas Bjorn and Padraig Harrington.

Colin Montgomerie, who Donald played under at Celtic Manor, added that Donald would make a great leader.

“I think Luke will instil in them not to give the holes away. There were far too many holes given away in that last Ryder Cup and the way Luke plays and prepares would be the best we've got right now. The safe pair of hands is Luke. "

Donald was also a brilliant Walker Cup player and he was on the same team as Paul Casey, the pair made their Ryder Cup debuts together in 2004, and Casey is another big fan.

“I think he would be a fabulous European captain. What I have witnessed from him in his role as a vice-captain and in the backroom support staff has been phenomenal. As a former World No. 1, his playing career is second to none, and you don’t have a career like that without the attention to detail. He’s just got great skills both on and off the course.”

The decision is expected to be made in the coming weeks.