Luke Donald Reacts To Ryder Cup Captaincy Snub

Donald gave his thoughts after it was revealed that Henrik Stenson will take up the captaincy for 2023

Donald looks on at a press conference
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Following the announcement of Henrik Stenson's appointment as the 2023 European Ryder Cup captain, Luke Donald has given his reaction after he was previously the favourite to take over for Rome.

Speaking to Golfweek, the 44-year-old said: “I thought I had a chance this time but it wasn’t to be. I was disappointed personally that I didn’t get the nod but that doesn’t mean I can’t do it down the road. I wish Henrik all the best and support him along the way.”

The vice captains at the Ryder Cup

European Vice-Captains Henrik Stenson, Luke Donald and Robert Karlsson pose for a photograph on the first tee at Whistling Straits.

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Donald had been the favourite to take over the captaincy from Padraig Harrington, with the 2020 captain, who was part of a five-person committee to choose the next skipper, telling reporters at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship: “All I can say is that Luke would be great. Behind the scenes, he does a terrific job. His management style, he’s got the experience and I’d thoroughly recommend him.”

Now though, Donald has been snubbed for former Champion Golfer of the Year, Stenson, who will face off against the American captain, Zach Johnson, at the Marco Simone Golf and Country Club in Rome.

The Englishman, who represented Europe in four Ryder Cups and was never on the losing side as a player, was on the short list along with Scotland’s Paul Lawrie and Sweden’s Robert Karlsson. 

It was also revealed that Donald made a 30-minute presentation to the three most recent Ryder Cup captains – Darren Clarke, Thomas Bjorn and Padraig Harrington – as well as David Howell, chairman of the DP World Tour tournament committee, and DP World Tour CEO Keith Pelley.

Stenson holds the Ryder Cup

Stenson previously vice-captained at Whistling Straits

(Image credit: Getty Images)

So, what does the future hold for Donald? Well, he has served as a vice-captain to the two most recent skippers, so he could possibly endure a third term among the captaincy staff. One thing is for certain though - the love he still has for the Ryder Cup.

Despite being snubbed for the captaincy for 2023, he still holds out hope that his time will come, but is aware of the large number of names and candidates lurking, with the likes of Lee Westwood, Ian Poulter, Justin Rose, Graeme McDowell and Sergio Garcia, just to name a few.

“I thought I had a good chance this year. Hopefully, that’s not my chance gone,” stated Donald. “We have a lot of very worthy candidates, legends of the Ryder Cup, guys like Sergio, I don’t know how this whole Saudi thing is going to play out and if anyone is going to get knocked out because of that. That’s a little bit of a question mark.”

After Rome, the next Ryder Cup will be at Bethpage Black in 2025. With a rowdy New York crowd expected to be in attendance, his experience would be extremely useful on away soil. “It’s a tough crowd (at Bethpage), but I haven’t given them too much ammo during my career,” says Donald. “I think I’d be fine and would love the opportunity.”

Matt Cradock
Matt Cradock

Matt studied Sports Journalism at Southampton Solent University, graduating in 2019. Now a freelance writer for Golf Monthly and the PGA, he covers all aspects of the game, from Tour news to equipment testing and buyers’ guides. Taking up the game at the age of six, Matt currently holds a handicap of 3 and despite not having a hole in one…yet, he has had two albatrosses. His favourite player is Rory McIlroy, despite nearly being struck by his second shot at the 17th during the 2015 BMW PGA Championship.