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Luke Donald didn’t want to disappoint his fellow Ryder Cup heroes.
The Englishman, who masterminded the dominant 16.5-11.5 victory in Rome this year, will remain European captain for the 2025 match at Bethpage Black.
In taking on the all-consuming role, he becomes Europe’s first repeat captain since Bernard Gallagher, who served in 1991, 1993 and 1995.
And Donald was already thinking about taking the “great opportunity” to lead the side again as celebrations commenced in Rome.
“Even when I was lifting the trophy on Sunday and hearing the guys shout, ‘Two more years,’ in the back of my mind, I thought, I don’t really want to let these guys down, but I still wanted some time to think about it,” he said.
“I’m very interested in trying to create some history. To be only the second Ryder Cup captain, European Ryder Cup captain, to possibly go back-to-back is something that’s very interesting to me and a great challenge and excites me.
“I love what the Ryder Cup represents. I’ve had so many amazing experiences as a Ryder Cup player and obviously as a captain, and to be given the honour to go back-to-back is very special for me.”
Donald has spent some time away reflecting on the chaos that ensued at Marco Simone, with his attention now turning to the mammoth task of winning away in boisterous New York.
He has received huge praise from the likes of Rory McIlroy for creating a winning culture in the dressing room, and that was particularly prevalent on an emotionally-charged Saturday night in Rome.
McIlroy revealed in a recent Irish Independent interview how Donald reacted to his famous car park bust-up with US caddie Jim ‘Bones’ Mackay, after being goaded by Patrick Cantlay’s bagman Joe LaCava on the 18th green.
“Luke comes in and sits down and doesn’t acknowledge anyone,” McIlroy explained. “And he looks at me and I’m thinking, ‘I could be in trouble here,’ but he goes, ‘Rory! I f****** loved that!’ And all the boys started banging the table.”
Donald, who admits his second stint as captain will be an even bigger challenge, used McIlroy’s angry flashpoint as fuel for Team Europe to press home their 10.5-5.5 advantage on Sunday.
“You know, there’s always passion that boils over,” Donald said, when asked about McIlroy’s comments.
“We have seen it many, many times in different situations, and this was no different. It’s an amazingly passionate event and these things happen. Rory, I think, realised he had probably overstepped the mark and apologised pretty quickly afterwards.
“But the fact that Rory was passionate about it just shows that he cares. And I love that, and I love the fact that we’re there to win and it’s okay to be passionate in this, in this environment.
“Obviously, we had a talk that night and we used that fuel to our advantage. Certainly it wasn’t anything that we were terribly worried about. We were in a great position, we were 10 and a half points to five and a half points up.
“We weren’t complacent at all, but we were excited about how fired up Rory was more than anything. So, nothing wrong with that, it happens in all sports, and especially a big part of the Ryder Cup.”
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