The task Luke Donald faces after replacing Henrik Stenson


Luke Donald has been named European Ryder Cup captain for next year’s competition in Rome after Henrik Stenson was stripped of his role.

Here, the PA News Agency breaks down the background to the appointment and the task Donald faces in trying to win back the trophy.

Why was a new captain needed?

Stenson was appointed on March 15 and said he was fully committed to a role he described as “beyond my wildest dreams.” The former Open champion also signed a deal promising not to endorse or sponsor any other tours, only to do just that by appearing at the of Saudi Arabia-backed LIV Golf Series signed. Stenson felt he could make arrangements to remain captain and play at LIV events but was stripped of his role after meeting Ryder Cup Europe officials.

Why did Donald get the nod?

The former world number one was one of the four original candidates along with Paul Lawrie and Robert Karlsson and is said to have pushed Stenson close at the time. The 44-year-old has an impeccable playing record in the Ryder Cup – he was a winner in 2004, 2006, 2010 and 2012 – and also gained experience as vice-captain to Thomas Bjorn in 2018 and Padraig Harrington last year. That he is closer in age to European players than 53-year-old Lawrie and 52-year-old Karlsson may have been a deciding factor in the decision.

Who will be in Donald’s team for Rome?

Team Europe’s Viktor Hovland with Vice-Captain Luke Donald on day two of the 43rd Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits (Anthony Behar/PA)

(PA Archive)

The likes of Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm, Viktor Hovland, Shane Lowry and US Open champion Matt Fitzpatrick appear almost certain to be on the plane to Italy, but it remains to be seen if LIV players like Stenson, Ian Poulter, Lee Westwood and Sergio Garcia can even try to qualify. DP World Tour members banned from the Scottish Open for participating in the first LIV event in June without a permit were given a temporary stay of their suspension pending a decision on their substantive appeals. Ryder Cup director Guy Kinnings anticipates qualifying will begin before the appeal is decided.

What about the opposition?

LIV’s PGA Tour players remain suspended and therefore ineligible as of today, although this could change with legal action reportedly close to filing. Dustin Johnson, Bryson DeChambeau and Brooks Koepka are the three members of the 2021 winning squad who have joined the Saudi-backed spin-off, which also includes Patrick Reed and Bubba Watson.

So is it Europe’s advantage?

Team USA celebrates with the Ryder Cup trophy after winning Whistling Straits (Anthony Behar/PA)

(PA Archive)

The United States has not won a Ryder Cup on European soil since 1993 but stormed to a record 19-9 victory in Whistling Straits last year with a team whose 12 members all ranked in the top 21 in the world. Scottie Scheffler was the man in the rankings He was 21st at the time but has since risen to world number one and won the Masters, with US captain Zach Johnson also looking at players like Collin Morikawa, Justin Thomas, Jordan Spieth, Xander Schauffele , Patrick Cantlay, Will Zalatoris and Tony Finau. The task Luke Donald faces after replacing Henrik Stenson

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