Luke Donald has been appointed captain of Europe’s Ryder Cup team, but the position is fraught with difficulty. Let’s look at why Luke Donald is facing challenges as Europe’s Ryder Cup Captain.
Though Luke Donald is understandably pleased to have been appointed to the position, the circumstances are less than ideal. His predecessor, Henrik Stenson, was stripped of the post after accepting a $40m offer to play in the LIV Golf tournament. The Saudi Arabia-backed tournament is causing controversy through the golf world, as more and more players accept lucrative offers, and are suspended by the Ryder Cup’s organising body, the PGA.
Now 44-year-old Luke Donald has 14 months to put together a team which might overturning last year’s record 19-9 defeat by a youthful United States team at Whistling Straits. The qualifying process starts in September, but it’s unlikely that there will be a decision by then in the legal case concerning whether LIV Golf players will qualify for DP World Tour events.
Already in place are vice-captains Thomas Bjorn and Edoardo Molinari, who were put in place by Henrik Stenson during his 127-day appointment. But Luke Donald’s position must be made more difficult as he could not be sure that any other vice-captains he appoints might not take the Saudi dollar.
“We don’t have enough clarity on the situation right now,” Donald told BBC Sport. “Hopefully that will get resolved as time goes on and then I will have a better idea of how to deal with it.
“But my plan is to have 12 guys unified on the team and we will be ready to play against the Americans in Rome.”
Luke Donald is facing challenges as Europe’s Ryder Cup Captain, but has given assurances that he will not be signing on with LIV Golf, saying: “I’ve signed a contract as Henrik did and I’m giving them my word… That’s all I can do and I promise you I will be seeing this through until the end. I’ve not been approached by LIV to play on their tour but I have this amazing opportunity to be this Ryder Cup captain.
“The Ryder Cup has meant so much to me over the years, some of my best moments on the golf course have been during Ryder Cups.
“The camaraderie, the team spirit, the history behind it. Everything that the Ryder Cup represents is very special to me and I think that’s important.”
In fact Luke Donald, a former world Number 1, believes that the Ryder Cup may be able to put to rest some of the contention between the PGA and LIV Golf.
“I think the Ryder Cup is the beacon of hope,” said the Englishman, who was on the winning side in all four of his playing appearances. “We have so much rich history in the Ryder Cup, almost 100 years.
“I remember so many more moments in Ryder Cups than I do probably from my individual career, just because it matters.
“We have amazing moments like Tony Jacklin and Jack Nicklaus and ‘the concession’ (at Royal Birkdale in 1969). We had the ‘War on the Shore,’ (1991) ‘The Battle of Brookline’ (1999) and the ‘Miracle at Medinah’ (2012).
“These things resonate with people and it has history and history is important because it encourages the next generation of players to get involved in the game.
“I think the Ryder Cup is a great platform to grow this game and I’m certainly privileged to be the captain and hopeful that history continues.”
As Luke Donald makes his plans for putting a team together, the controversies in the game can’t be helping his decision-making. He says: “Obviously this is day one for me but it will be a busy next few weeks trying to figure out all those details and making sure we have a great system in place to give us the best opportunity for victory in Rome.”
“But all I can do is control what I can control and move forward from here. I can’t control what’s happened in the past.”
Luke Campbell Donald MBE (born 7th December 1977) is an English professional golfer who has been the World Number One. He plays mainly on the U.S.-based PGA Tour but is also a member of the European Tour.
Luke Donald had an outstanding year in 2011, winning several tournaments and awards. He won the PGA Tour money list and European Race to Dubai to complete a historic double, becoming the first player to win both money lists on the PGA and European Tours in the same year. He was named the PGA Player of the Year and the European Tour Golfer of the Year. He also became the first Englishman to win the PGA Tour Player of the Year award, the PGA Tour’s Vardon Trophy and the Mark H. McCormack Award for the most weeks at number one during a calendar year. He was later awarded honorary life membership of the European Tour for his achievements in 2011.
In May 2011, Donald became the number one golfer in the Official World Golf Ranking after winning the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth Club. He held the number one position for 40 weeks between May 2011 and March 2012 before Rory McIlroy briefly took over as world number one.
Whatever decisions he makes, Luke Donald is facing challenges as Europe’s Ryder Cup Captain.
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