Luke Donald may be captaining in Rome after all.
According to a report by The Telegraph, the 44-year-old Englishman, who had been considered one of the favorites to receive the 2023 European Ryder Cup captaincy before Henrik Stenson was given the job last March, will be announced as the replacement for Stenson, who was removed from the position last week after joining LIV Golf.
Thomas Bjorn and Edoardo Molinari, who were named vice captains by Stenson, will reportedly keep their roles with next year’s team.
Donald is a four-time Ryder Cupper, last playing in 2012, and he’s served as a vice captain in each of the past two editions. So, should he indeed be named replacement captain, there shouldn’t be much of a learning curve.
In addition to Stenson, several other European Ryder Cup veterans have jumped over to the Saudi-backed rival circuit, including all-time points leader Sergio Garcia, all-time matches played leader Lee Westwood and Ian Poulter. While the DP World Tour and Ryder Cup Europe have yet to ban LIV players from the biennial matches, it’s assumed that the defectors will not be permitted to compete at Marco Simone Golf Club two Septembers from now.
Still, aside from Stenson’s removal, Team Europe may not be affected all that much. The top seven Europeans in the OWGR have shunned LIV to this point – Rory McIlroy (3), Jon Rahm (5), Viktor Hovland (9), Matt Fitzpatrick (10), Shane Lowry (24), Tommy Fleetwood (26) and Tyrrell Hatton (28). And players such as Thomas Pieters (35), Seamus Power (37), Justin Rose (51), Alex Noren (53), Adri Arnaus (61), Adrian Meronk (63) and Sepp Straka (67) are other top-70 players who could earn consideration.
Meanwhile, Paul Casey (31) and Garcia (70) are the only Europeans in the top 70 who now belong to LIV.