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Luke Donald will captain Europe at next year’s Ryder Cup following the departure of Henrik Stenson.
Ryder Cup Europe, the body which governs the biennial match on this side of the Atlantic, confirmed the long-rumoured news on Monday afternoon.
It means the 44-year-old will take over from Stenson, who was dramatically stripped of the role shortly before being announced as a LIV Golf player.
“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.”
So excited and truly honoured to be named European Ryder Cup Captain, I’m really looking forward to the next 14 months & getting my team ready for Rome. pic.twitter.com/KnqaLxpfL1— Luke Donald (@LukeDonald) August 1, 2022
Donald, a veteran of four matches, was never part of a losing side as a player and was part of the 2012 team which delivered the Miracle at Medinah.
He has also served as a vice-captain on two occasions, under Thomas Bjorn in 2018 and Padraig Harrington in 2021.
He was in contention for the top job earlier this year alongside fellow veterans Paul Lawrie and Robert Karlsson before Ryder Cup Europe opted for Stenson.
Last week, when asked about reports linking him with the role, Donald pledged his “complete loyalty” to the captaincy if he was named skipper and said he “wouldn’t be doing a Henrik” by joining the LIV Series.
“Luke is a former World Number One who possesses a superb Ryder Cup record, so he undoubtedly has the credentials required to be a successful European captain,” said European Ryder Cup director Guy Kinnings.
“He is hugely respected by the players and by the wider support team at Ryder Cup Europe who have already done an immense amount of work behind the scenes to give him a strong platform for the remaining 14 months before the match gets underway.
“We have continued the tradition of moving forward with players in the role of captain who have excelled in the Ryder Cup arena; and in terms of Luke, we are combining that experience with strong leadership and a meticulous approach. On behalf of everyone at Ryder Cup Europe, we look forward to fully supporting him in the quest to reclaim the Ryder Cup next year.”
Donald also confirmed Bjorn and Edoardo Molinari, who had been named vice-captains by Stenson prior to his sacking, will remain in their posts.
“In my opinion, it was essential that Thomas and Edoardo remained part of the team,” he said.
“They were the first two calls I made once I got the nod to be captain and I’m delighted that they are fully on-board.
“Nobody needs any explanation of how important Thomas is to the Ryder Cup – one glance at the history books will show you that. He has lived and breathed European golf for the past 30 years and having his know-how behind me, not least as a winning captain, will be vital.
“Furthermore, Edoardo has blazed an impressive trail for himself in the world of stats and his knowledge in this area with the players who will be on the team, in addition to extra-special Italian element he will bring to the entire occasion, is an extra bonus for Team Europe.”
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