Europe’s record Ryder Cup points-scorer Sergio Garcia has backed his “good friend” Luke Donald to lead the team in Rome.
Donald emerged as the frontrunner for the role last week after Lee Westwood withdrew himself from consideration, while uncertainty remains over Henrik Stenson’s plans.
He has already won the support of 2021 captain Padraig Harrington, who is part of the five-man committee tasked with selecting the next skipper and said he would “thoroughly recommend him”.
Now Garcia, who has been part of every European team bar one since 1999, has thrown his support behind Donald ahead of the decision, which could be made by the end of the month.
Describing the Englishman as a “good friend”, the 2017 Masters champion said: “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. I’m so excited to see what’s going to happen there.
“I mean, he might seem like 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 as not only as a captain but as a person.”
A four-time Ryder Cup player, Donald has never been on the losing side and was most recently part of the 2012 team which staged a remarkable comeback at the ‘Miracle at Medinah’.
He has also been vice-captain for the last two editions of the tournament.
Asked last week whether he would like to lead the team in 2023, he admitted he would “love the opportunity”.
“I haven’t spoken to anyone at the European Tour, so nothing has been confirmed, I don’t know where I stand with that, but I’ve had great experiences with the Ryder Cup,” he said.
“If I was given the opportunity I would dearly love it and be very grateful and honoured to take it up.
“I know there’s a worthy list of people who could do this job and be the next Ryder Cup captain, but it’s nice to have my name up there.”