European Legends Back Luke Donald For Ryder Cup Captaincy

Garcia and Montgomerie say the four-time winner is the ideal candidate to lead the European team in Rome next year

European Legends Back Luke Donald For Ryder Cup Captaincy
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The calls for Luke Donald to lead the European team in the 2023 tournament in Rome are growing, with Sergio Garcia and Colin Montgomerie offering their backing to the Englishman following earlier support from Padraig Harrington and Paul Casey.

Speaking at this week's Dubai Desert Classic, 42-year-old Spaniard Garcia, who has amassed a record-breaking 28.5 Ryder Cup points, said he thinks the 2018 and 2021 vice-captain’s experience makes him a standout candidate for the role. 

“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.”

Until recently, Swede Henrik Stenson was the favourite to succeed Padraig Harrington as captain. However, he’s apparently considering a lucrative offer to join the reported Saudi-backed golf league, which would rule him out of contention. Meanwhile, another potential candidate, Lee Westwood, declared himself out of the running last November, stating a desire to extend his playing career.

With the decision due in the coming weeks, four-time Ryder Cup winner Donald has emerged as favourite for the captaincy, and Garcia points to his friend’s personality as a significant advantage.

“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 cheerleaders for Donald don’t stop at Garcia, either. The Englishman recently said he was “humbled” by Harrington’s endorsement of him as his successor. Meanwhile, Ryder Cup legend Colin Montgomerie, who has appeared in eight tournaments, has thrown his support behind Donald, too.

Speaking to BBC Radio 5 Live, the Scotsman said: “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. "

Montgomerie’s endorsement comes hot on the heels of another veteran of the tournament, Paul Casey, also backing Donald to lead the team at the Marco Simone Golf Club.

“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 No1, 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.”

Donald himself appears keen on the role, too, stating: “If I was given the opportunity, I would dearly love it and be very grateful and honoured to take it up.

Mike Hall

Mike has over 25 years of experience in journalism, including writing on a range of sports throughout that time, such as golf, football and cricket. Now a freelance staff writer for Golf Monthly, he is dedicated to covering the game's most newsworthy stories. 

He has written hundreds of articles on the game, from features offering insights into how members of the public can play some of the world's most revered courses, to breaking news stories affecting everything from the PGA Tour and LIV Golf to developmental Tours and the amateur game. 

Mike grew up in East Yorkshire and began his career in journalism in 1997. He then moved to London in 2003 as his career flourished, and nowadays resides in New Brunswick, Canada, where he and his wife raise their young family less than a mile from his local course. 

Kevin Cook’s acclaimed 2007 biography, Tommy’s Honour, about golf’s founding father and son, remains one of his all-time favourite sports books.