Luke Donald has been named Europe’s Ryder Cup captain for next year’s competition in Rome after Henrik Stenson was stripped of the role. The Briton confirmed he will retain Stenson’s vice-captains Thomas Bjorn and Edoardo Molinari in his defenders
Last updated: 08/02/22 10:12 am
Paul McGinley reflects on Luke Donald’s appointment as Europe’s Ryder Cup captain and what he assesses what the former world No 1 needs to do before next year’s competition in Italy.
I don’t think there are many surprises surrounding Donald’s appointment as captain. Many felt he was a natural replacement when Henrik left.
Anyway, some have placed him in the position of successor to Henrik Stenson, based on his age record.
However, he now has the opportunity to be captain in his home country, which history has proven to be an easier version to achieve.
Stenson chose his own path. It is widely reported that he had a contract with the European Tour that prevented him from participating in the opponent’s tour.
So his press conference last week where he suggested that he wanted to stay as captain while also playing LIV events was surprising to say the least.
While Stenson hit it off with a win last week in his first event with LIV, we’ll move on quickly and Donald is currently very popular in Europe going forward. Henrik’s tenure as captain is a footnote in the larger scheme of things.
Donald already has an incredible record as a player and that will of course affect his ability to lead the team next year. The Ryder Cup captaincy is unique in that, what you achieve as a player greatly determines your chances of becoming a captain one day. It wasn’t always ideal, but it was tradition and will remain so.
However, being part of the winning teams is not always relevant, as it is often the losses and sometimes the mistakes of the other team that provide the most learning. Luke will learn a lot from his two vice-captain roles and in particular the version where he was part of a losing team, last year in Whistling Straits. When we lose by such a big margin, I’m sure there are a lot of lessons to be learned as he looks forward to his captaincy in Italy next year.
In golf, we spend most of our time losing, even as successful players, and we’re constantly in a position of analysis and analysis – along with our supporting teams. – where did we go wrong and what do we need to do to fix it. This is a valuable mental state when you become captain because it comes naturally to us golfers and begins to learn the curves, preparing us somewhat for the role. analysis-based game that the captaincy promotes.
The first job Donald will have to do is come up with qualification criteria for how he wants the team to be built. Pick counts need to be thought about, especially in tumultuous times like this in professional golf.
Once he decides on the number of picks he wants, he then moves on to the number that will qualify for the DP World Tour and the number from the world leaderboard – each captain has the power to draft the formula they want and then they file that the player committee decides whether to sanction it or not.
The Ryder cup captaincy is heavily supervised by your colleagues on the player committee as well as past captains, from start to finish. That’s why you often hear players say how honored and humbling it is to be captain – because it was the decisions of their colleagues that made them captain.
Who will play in the Ryder Cup?
There’s a lot of water flowing under the bridge between now and the Ryder Cup, but one of the questions that will be raised is the eligibility of players who have chosen to go through and play on the LIV Golf tour.
What happens next? Much of that will depend on what the court decides and whether they can continue to be a member of the DP World Tour while still playing the LIV tour, earning qualifying points and potentially becoming a Ryder player Cup or not.
A lot of these people are falling out of the world top 50 and they’re not on the PGA Tour, so it’s hard for them to get the points. A lot of these scenarios will play out and be addressed right from the golf course, so we’ll just have to wait and see and deal with it when it comes up.
However, if the lawsuit goes in the direction of the LIV players, Luke may have to consider the form of the non-golf players under normal playing conditions to see if they have the necessary qualifications and morale. for the Ryder Cup or not.
Donald may also have to look into managing and molding those players with those who have been loyal to the tour. If that were to happen, it would be challenging to say the least and would test the skills of top leaders in any industry!
I think Americans in general have always been strong favorites, but their captain Zach Johnson has made it clear that players who have attended LIV Golf will not be on his team. While that may weaken them, they will still be strong favorites. Big names like Bryson DeChambeau, Brooks Koepka, Patrick Reed and Dustin Johnson will all be out of that team and that can only be good for Europe.
We still have the backbone of a very strong team, with names like Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm and Viktor Hovland all very good at the top, but we need some young players coming in and that’s the thing. We lack more than anything in Europe at the moment.
They need to replace the outstanding contributions over the years of European players who have chosen to come to LIV Golf, the likes of Ian Poulter, Sergio Garcia, Henrik Stenson and especially Lee Westwood, all of whom are in their prime. sunset of my career and me’ I’m not sure if they’ll be on another Ryder Cup team.
We would certainly like to see three or four new young European lads blossom and develop, especially when it comes to the international arena around the majors. You need youth and that’s what we’re aiming for in Europe.
A lot of problems have been raised at the moment, but a lot needs to be addressed and managed before a ball is played in Rome next September.