Donald takes over as Europe’s Ryder Cup captain for Stenson

Luke Donald has been named Ryder Cup captain for Europe, taking over for Henrik Stenson after the Swede was fired to sign with the Saudi-funded LIV Golf Series.

Donald has played four Ryder Cups, all of which are European victories, and has compiled a 10–4–1 record. His last appearance as a player was in Medina in 2012, when he defeated Bubba Watson in the main singles match as Europe took the win.

Donald was vice-captain in the last two Ryder Cups and was a finalist this year as captain until the Committee for Europe sat on Stenson.

However, Stenson went back on his pledge in March to extend full support to Europe as captain for the 2023 matches in Italy. He signed with LIV Golf last week to The Daily Telegraph for nearly $50 million. And then Stenson won his LIV golf debut at Trump National Bedminster, earning $4 million and an additional $375,000 to be on the second-place team.

Donald, 44, spent 56 weeks at world No. 1 in 2011 and 2012, while vying for the top spot in the rankings alongside Rory McIlroy. He was also the first player to capture the money title on the PGA Tour and European Tour in the same year.

And now he finds a job he feared had passed out when Europe first picked Stenson.

“This is truly one of the greatest honors that can be given to a golfer, for leading a team of his teammates and being an ambassador for the entire continent,” Donald said in a statement. “I have been given this responsibility and it is a responsibility that I do not take lightly, I feel extremely fortunate.”

The Donald took over as Europe, which has dominated the Ryder Cup for the past 25 years, is at a crossroads. A young and powerful American team pulled off their biggest win of all time over Europe at the Whistling Straits last September, winning 19-9.

LIV Golf has interrupted both rounds, with players suspended for signing with rival leagues. Ryder Cup players for Europe who joined the Saudi-funded league include Lee Westwood, Ian Poulter, Sergio Garcia and Paul Casey. Again, all are in their 40s and qualifying for Europe has yet to begin.

Zack Johnson is the US captain for the next match in Italy’s Marco Simone. The Whistling Straits American team has lost Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka and Bryson DeChambeau. It’s all been at least 16 months since their last win.

Donald said Thomas Bjorn and Edoardo Molinari would remain as vice-captains.


More AP Golf: More

Leave a Comment

%d bloggers like this: