Ryder Cup Captain Luke Donald To Play With Ousted LIV Defector Henrik Stenson

Current European Ryder Cup captain, Luke Donald, will be paired with former captain, Henrik Stenson for round three of the Dubai Desert Classic

Donald and Stenson stare in to the distance
(Image credit: Getty Images)

After a rain delay forced a Monday finish at the Dubai Desert Classic, many fans were keen to see who would be paired with who going into the third round on Sunday, with it possible that Rory McIlroy could be playing with Patrick Reed after a tense exchange between the two resulted in Reed reportedly tossing a tee in McIlroy's direction.

Both sit at eight-under-par but, when the tee times were announced on Saturday afternoon, it was discovered that neither had been paired with one another. However, one notable tee time, 8.15 to be exact, features current European Ryder Cup captain, Luke Donald, and the man he replaced, Henrik Stenson.

Donald, Stenson and Karlsson at the Ryder Cup

Stenson, Donald and Robert Karlsson at the 2021 Ryder Cup

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Originally, Stenson was announced as the European Ryder Cup captain in March 2022 but, after he moved to the Saudi-backed LIV Golf series in July, he was subsequently stripped of the captaincy.

Following the move, Donald was announced as his replacement, with the Englishman taking Team Europe into Rome at the end of September. 

Now though, at the Dubai Desert Classic, Donald, Stenson and Tyrrell Hatton will make up the tee time at 8.15, with all three sat at two-under-par. Originally, it was unclear as to whether that number would make it to the third and fourth round but, following a few slip ups from golfers out on the course, the cut line was moved to one-under.

Norman and Stenson pose with a trophy

Stenson secured victory on his LIV Golf debut, pocketing $4 million in the process

(Image credit: Getty Images)

After moving to LIV Golf, Stenson was not seen in any DP World Tour events for the remainder of 2022, with the Swede making his return at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship last week.

Speaking on Thursday in Abu Dhabi, Stenson stated that he hadn't had anyone "step up to him personally and vent those thoughts" around leaving for LIV Golf, with the former Champion Golfer of the Year also expressing his desire to play more on the DP World Tour circuit, as he added: "I still want to play on this tour. In my mind, nothing has changed from when I started playing on multiple tours."

Matt Cradock
Staff Writer

Matt joined Golf Monthly in February 2021 covering weekend news, before also transitioning to equipment and testing. After freelancing for Golf Monthly and The PGA for 18 months, he was offered a full-time position at the company in October 2022 and continues to cover weekend news and social media, as well as help look after Golf Monthly’s many buyers’ guides and equipment reviews.

Taking up the game when he was just seven years of age, Matt made it into his county squad just a year later and continues to play the game at a high standard, with a handicap of around 2-4. To date, his best round came in 2016, where he shot a six-under-par 66 having been seven-under through nine holes. He currently plays at Witney Lakes in Oxfordshire and his favourite player is Rory McIlroy, despite nearly being struck by his second shot at the 17th during the 2015 BMW PGA Championship.

Matt’s current What’s In The Bag?

Driver: Honma TW747, 8.75°

Fairway Wood: TaylorMade Rocketballz Stage 2, 15°, 19°

Hybrid: Adams Super Hybrid, 22°

Irons: Mizuno MP54, 5-PW

Wedges: Cleveland 588 RTX 2.0 Tour Satin, 50°, 56°, 60°

Putter: Cleveland TFI 2135 Satin Cero

Ball: Titleist Pro V1x