Luke Donald is confirmed as Europe’s new Ryder Cup captain, with Englishman replacing sacked Henrik Stenson following LIV scandal after he defected to Saudi-backed competition
- Former world No 1 Luke Donald has replaced Henrik Stenson as Europe’s captain
- Donald will lead Europe as they look to win back the Ryder Cup after 2021 defeat
- Stenson was deposed as captain after signing with LIV earlier this month
Luke Donald has been named Europe’s Ryder Cup captain for next year’s contest in Rome after Henrik Stenson was stripped of the role.
Stenson was appointed captain on March 15, but the Swede’s tenure lasted just 127 days before he was sacked for breaking his contract by joining the Saudi-backed LIV Golf series.
Donald, who was on the winning side in all four of his Ryder Cup appearances as a player, said: ‘I am incredibly proud to be named European Ryder Cup captain for 2023.
Luke Donald poses with the Ryder Cup trophy after being confirmed as Europe’s captain
Donald was joined by European Ryder Cup Director Guy Kinnings in Florida on Monday
‘It is truly one of the greatest honours that can be bestowed upon a golfer, to lead a team of your peers and be an ambassador for an entire continent.
‘I feel extremely privileged to have been given that responsibility and it is a responsibility I do not take lightly.
‘Some of my best experiences in golf have been in the Ryder Cup and I would not swap those for anything. It is an event like no other and I cannot wait to create more special memories in Italy next year.’
Donald’s appointment came just hours after Stenson pocketed 4.375million US dollars (£3.5million) on his LIV debut, the 46-year-old winning the individual event and finishing second in the team competition at Trump National Golf Club.
Donald will replace Henrik Stenson and lead team Europe in the 2023 Ryder Cup
That was described as ‘the greatest F/U in the history of Golf’ on Twitter by Donald Trump Jr, whose father – former US president Donald Trump – owns the course in New Jersey.
Donald was on the winning side in 2004, 2006, 2010 and 2012 and was also a vice-captain to Thomas Bjorn for the 2018 win in Paris.
The 44-year-old’s first taste of defeat in the biennial contest came in the same role under Padraig Harrington at Whistling Straits last year, when the United States stormed to a record 19-9 victory.
Five members of the European team have defected to LIV – Sergio Garcia, Lee Westwood, Paul Casey, Ian Poulter and Bernd Wiesberger – while Americans Dustin Johnson, Bryson DeChambeau and Brooks Koepka have joined the controversial breakaway.
The trio have been indefinitely suspended from the PGA Tour and are therefore, as things stand, ineligible for the Ryder Cup, while it remains unclear if the European rebels will be able to qualify.
DP World Tour members who played in the inaugural LIV Golf event were fined £100,000 and banned from competing in the Scottish Open.
However, following a hearing before Sport Resolutions (UK) days before play got under way at the Renaissance Club, Poulter, Adrian Otaegui and Justin Harding had the punishments temporarily stayed, pending determination of their substantive appeals.As far as Poulter and Westwood are concerned, that means they are still eligible and Westwood plans to play in the Tour’s flagship event, the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth, in September.
Stenson had been appointed in March, describing it as ‘beyond my wildest dreams’. But on Thursday, he gave a press conference in New Jersey ahead of his LIV debut at Donald Trump’s Bedminster course.
Henrik Stenson expressed his disappointment over being stripped of the Europe captaincy
‘I’m obviously disappointed over the situation,’ Stenson said.
‘I don’t feel like I’ve given the captaincy up. I made every arrangement possible here to be able to fulfil my captain’s duties, and I’ve had great help from LIV to be able to do that. And still, the decision was made that I was to be removed.’
Stenson conceded that money played a role in his defection but pleaded privacy when asked whether his Ryder Cup contract stipulated he could not join a rival tour. Nor did he deny that he could explore legal avenues.