Players Back Luke Donald To Retain Ryder Cup Captaincy

Matt Fitzpatrick and Tommy Fleetwood are among the latest players offering their support to the Team Europe Ryder Cup captain

Luke Donald with the Ryder Cup after Team Europe's win
Luke Donald has been backed to retain the Ryder Cup captaincy
(Image credit: Getty Images)

With Europe having secured the Ryder Cup at Marco Simone, attention turns to the regular DP World Tour schedule with the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship.

Taking part in the event will be three of Team Europe’s players. In the build-up to this week’s tournament, two of them, Matt Fitzpatrick and Tommy Fleetwood, were asked about the possibility of Luke Donald leading the team at Bethpage Black in 2025.

Fitzpatrick seemed particularly keen on the idea, suggesting that, rather than a captain leading once before stepping aside, a cycle of one captain in the role for a home and away match, could be an option.

He said: “Doing an away one is completely different and it’s much harder. You almost think, do you kind of do that cycle? Do you give a new captain a home one to start with, let him kind of find his feet a little bit, see how that goes, and then let him do an away one as well? And that way you’ve got some continuation of previous processes and rather than kind of just brand new every time.”

Fleetwood stressed the decision is ultimately out of the players’ hands, even if they do offer feedback on the most recent captain. He explained: “I know that there’s been plenty of talk of Luke doing it again. 

Tommy Fleetwood at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship at St Andrews

Tommy Fleetwood backs Luke Donald, but admits the decision is out of the players' hands

(Image credit: Getty Images)

"We always go through that process of what was really good, what we think -  what small changes we think we can constantly make to improve the European Team. But as far as the captaincy goes, that’s nothing to do with us as players.”

Nevertheless, Fleetwood had only good things to say about Donald. He continued: “You know, we’re very happy to play for whoever the captain is that gets selected and Luke has done a phenomenal job and I can’t speak highly enough about him.”

One player in this week's field who was not part of the Team Europe set-up, but is the DP World Tour’s Committee chairman, is David Howell. The 48-year-old said he couldn't see anything stopping Donald continuing in the role.

He said: “There’s no reason why he couldn’t. We’re going to have a different selection process this year I believe. Details to be confirmed going forward. A lot of support for Captain Fantastic at the moment and rightly so. Where we go with it as a tour won’t be down to the players’ committee.

“It will be a collaboration of a few different entities within our environment and we’ll come up with the best choice possible. Of course, we have history with Jacklin and Bernard Gallacher doing it three times in a row each. 

"We have moved away from that model to give everyone a fair crack at the whip and have their moment at the sun. Luke has enjoyed that. We’ll see where we go.”

As for when a decision could be made, he said: “I would imagine that we’ll start somewhere before Christmas. That’s the normal time frame.”

Donald's future may remain uncertain, but the latest players lending support to the idea of him staying on, following backing from the likes of Rory McIlroy and Viktor Hovland, appear to strengthen his case, while he has also had his say on continuing, and revealed he is open to the idea of retaining the role.

While nothing is likely to be decided imminently, it will be an important decision to get right, particularly as the Europeans will likely face a very different challenge in the US, with the visitors not having won in the States since one of the greatest comebacks wins in the history of the Ryder Cup, at Medinah in 2012.

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.