It is believed that Luke Donald is now the favourite to become Europe’s next Ryder Cup captain, with the 44-year-old already backed by Padraig Harrington to succeed him for the 2023 battle in Rome.
Harrington, who is part of a five-person committee to choose the next skipper, spoke to reporters at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, stating “all I can say is that Luke would be great. Behind the scenes, he does a terrific job. His management style, he’s got the experience and I’d thoroughly recommend him.”
Previously, it had been Lee Westwood who was the favourite. However, the 48-year-old ruled himself out of the captaincy back in November, saying “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 percent. 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.”
With Westwood out of the picture, it seemed to be either Donald or Henrik Stenson who would become the next captain, but, only recently, Stenson was left with a Ryder Cup captaincy dilemma, with it being reported that the Swede is set to have to choose between Ryder Cup captaincy or the reported Saudi Golf league, according to a report in The Daily Telegraph.
If this were the case, then that would leave Donald the favourite to take up the captaincy. The Englishman has played in the Ryder Cup on four occasions, most recently the 2012 ‘Miracle at Medinah’. As a player, he has never been on the losing side and also served as a vice-captain to the two most recent skippers, Thomas Bjorn in 2018 and Padraig Harrington last year.
Should Donald get chosen, he would become the fifth different Englishman to captain a Ryder Cup team in the European era and the first since Sir Nick Faldo in 2008.