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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 Slync.io 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 has 25 years of experience in journalism, including writing on sports such as golf, football and cricket. Now a freelance writer for Golf Monthly, he is dedicated to covering the sport’s most newsworthy stories. Originally from East Yorkshire, Mike now resides in Canada, where the nearest course is less than a mile from his home. It’s there where he remains confident that, one of these days, he’ll play the 17th without finding the water. 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.
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