LA QUINTA, Calif. – Padraig Harrington doesn’t know when the DP World Tour plans to name the 2023 European Ryder Cup captain. But he appears to have a preference.
“All I can say is that Luke [Donald] would be great. Behind the scenes, he does a terrific job. His management style … he knows,” Harrington told The Daily Mail this week. “He’s got the experience, and I’d thoroughly recommend him.”
Harrington is one of five people on the selection committee that will pick the next European captain and told The Daily Mail that when Lee Westwood removed his name from consideration to focus on competing it opened the door for Donald, who played on four winning European teams.
“I saw it when I woke up. Obviously, very humbled by [Harrington’s] comments,” Donald said Saturday at The American Express. “I would love to have the opportunity to do that. I haven’t spoken to anyone at the European Tour so nothing is confirmed. I don’t know where I stand with that.”
Donald served as a vice captain for Harrington last year at Whistling Straits and he’s previously been involved, either as a player or vice captain, with six Ryder Cups. He said along the way he’s collected plenty of notes and ideas.
“Things I thought looked good. Things that I’ve learned from other vice captains, things that would help me if I ever did get the opportunity to be a captain someday,” Donald said. “I’m a detail-oriented guy.”
Graeme McDowell, who served alongside Donald as a vice captain last year at Whistling Straits, concurred with Harrington’s assessment of Donald as a potential captain.
"He brings a lot of experience and he commands a lot of respect,” McDowell said. “He’s been in enough team rooms as a player and as a vice captain to understand what a good environment looks like. I think Luke would be fantastic. He’d be thoughtful and intelligent.”
Along with Harrington, the European selection committee includes Thomas Bjorn, Darren Clarke, DP World Tour chief executive Keith Pelley and David Howell, chairman of the European tour players committee.
Henrik Stenson has also been identified as a potential captain for next year’s Ryder Cup but various reports suggest his connection to a long-rumored breakaway tour may hurt his chances.