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Luke Donald has emerged as the leading contender to be Europe’s next Ryder Cup captain.

The former world No.1 is understood be the frontrunner for the role and could be appointed by the end of this month.

Donald, 44, has jumped to the top of the queue following Lee Westwood’s decision to withdraw himself from consideration and amid uncertainty over Henrik Stenson’s own intentions.

• 7 contenders to be Europe’s Ryder Cup captain

A seven-time winner on the DP World Tour, Donald has played in the Ryder Cup on four occasions, most recently the 2012 ‘Miracle at Medinah’. As a player he has never been on the losing side.

He has also served as a vice-captain to the two most recent skippers, Thomas Bjorn in 2018 and Padraig Harrington last year.

Speaking to reporters during this week’s Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, Harrington – part of a five-person committee to choose the next skipper – endorsed Donald to succeed him for the 2023 match in Rome.

“It was assumed it was going to be Lee but I can see where he is coming from,” said the Irishman. “He is playing good golf and he wants to concentrate on that.

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“His decision certainly put the cat among the pigeons though, didn’t it?

“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.”

Should he get the nod, Donald would become the fifth different Englishman to captain a Ryder Cup team in the European era and the first since Sir Nick Faldo in 2008.


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Michael McEwan is the Deputy Editor of bunkered and has been part of the team since 2004. In that time, he has interviewed almost every major figure within the sport, from Jack Nicklaus, to Rory McIlroy, to Donald Trump. The host of the multi award-winning bunkered Podcast and a member of Balfron Golfing Society, Michael is the author of three books and is the 2023 PPA Scotland 'Writer of the Year' and 'Columnist of the Year'. Dislikes white belts, yellow balls and iron headcovers. Likes being drawn out of the media ballot to play Augusta National.

Deputy Editor

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