Luke Donald Confirmed As Europe’s New Ryder Cup Captain

The Englishman has taken over from Henrik Stenson as Europe's skipper for Rome 2023

Luke Donald pictured posing for a Ryder Cup headshot
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Luke Donald has been named as the new European Ryder Cup captain for Rome 2023, replacing Henrik Stenson who was removed from the role having joined LIV Golf.

The 44-year-old former World No.1, who was on the winning team in all four Ryder Cups in which he played, becomes the first English captain since Nick Faldo in 2008.

“I am incredibly proud to be named European Ryder Cup Captain for 2023," Donald said. "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.

“I love everything the Ryder Cup embodies, from the camaraderie and companionship of being part of a team, to the history of the contest, but most of all playing for something bigger than yourself.

“Rome will be a fantastic host city, and I have always enjoyed spending time there. It is a city rich in history and hopefully we can create some of our own in 14 months’ time.”

Luke Donald celebrates at the Ryder Cup

Donald has played on four winning teams.

(Image credit: Getty Images)

The Englishman has served as vice captain in both of the last two matches, under Bjorn in Paris and under Padraig Harrington in 2021’s record defeat at Whistling Straits. He now has just over a year to prepare a team to bounce back from that disappointment, and with the LIV cloud hanging over events, that could well be a team stripped of its most experienced members. 

Donald is keeping Edoardo Molinari and Thomas Bjorn in their positions as vice captains for next September’s clash, which takes place at Marco Simone Golf & Country Club.

Bjorn, who led Europe to Ryder Cup victory in the last clash on this side of the Atlantic, in Paris in 2018, had been among the favourites to take the reins again, but along with the likes of Paul Lawrie and Robert Karlsson, he has been passed up in favour of Donald.

Stenson was stripped of Europe’s Ryder Cup captaincy as it became clear he was going to sign with LIV Golf, a decision that “hugely disappointed” the Swede, who only agreed the role in March. The former Open champion is said to have met Ryder Cup chiefs after this year’s Open at St Andrews, where they failed to persuade him to reject the overtures of the Saudi-backed series.

Donald takes the role still unaware if he’ll be able to choose LIV Golf players. While a potential European team still has most of its top players available, including the likes of Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm, Viktor Hovland, Matt Fitzpatrick and Tyrrell Hatton, any ban on LIV players would see record points scorer Sergio Garcia and joint record appearance maker Lee Westwood, as well as trusted Ryder Cup veterans like Ian Poulter and Paul Casey left on the sidelines.

Casey, who made his LIV debut alongside Stenson at the third LIV Golf Invitational at Trump National Golf Club Bedminster, said last week that he and his fellow defectors are in limbo over the Ryder Cup, with a decision set to be made over whether they can compete or not.

Donald will go up against Zach Johnson next year in Rome, where Europe will look to win the Ryder Cup back and emerge victorious at a home match for the seventh-consecutive time. 

Jeff Kimber
Jeff Kimber

Jeff graduated from Leeds University in Business Studies and Media in 1996 and did a post grad in journalism at Sheffield College in 1997. His first jobs were on Slam Dunk (basketball) and Football Monthly magazines, and he's worked for the Sunday Times, Press Association and ESPN. He has faced golfing greats Sam Torrance and Sergio Garcia, but on the poker felt rather than the golf course. Jeff's favourite course played is Sandy Lane in Barbados, which went far better than when he played Matfen Hall in Northumberland, where he crashed the buggy on the way to the 1st tee!