Ryder Cup 2023: Luke Donald named as Henrik Stenson’s successor to captain Team Europe in Italy | Golf News

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Donald represented Team Europe in 2004, 2006, 2010 and 2012 – all winning teams – before twice serving as a vice-captain; Englishman replaces Henrik Stenson, who was removed as captain after joining the LIV Golf Invitational Series

Last Updated: 01/08/22 3:58pm

Luke Donald will captain Team Europe in the 2023 Ryder Cup

Luke Donald will captain Team Europe in the 2023 Ryder Cup

Luke Donald has been confirmed as Henrik Stenson’s replacement to captain Europe’s 2023 Ryder Cup team in Italy.

Stenson was initially appointed Ryder Cup captain in March, only to be stripped of the role last month after electing to join several of his former Ryder Cup team-mates in signing up for the Saudi-backed LIV Golf Invitational Series.

Donald has featured in four winning Ryder Cup teams and served as a vice-captain for the last two editions of the biennial contest, with the former world No 1 now given the task of trying to regain the trophy for Europe on home soil.

“I am incredibly proud to be named European Ryder Cup captain for 2023,” Donald said. “It is truly one of the greatest honours that can be bestowed upon a golfer, to lead a team of your peers and be an ambassador for an entire continent.

“I feel extremely privileged to have been given that responsibility and it is a responsibility I do not take lightly. Some of my best experiences in golf have been in the Ryder Cup and I would not swap those for anything. It is an event like no other and I cannot wait to create more special memories in Italy next year.

Donald will be hoping to regain the trophy for Team Europe next September

Donald will be hoping to regain the trophy for Team Europe next September

“I love everything the Ryder Cup embodies, from the camaraderie and companionship of being part of a team, to the history of the contest, but most of all playing for something bigger than yourself.”

Marco Simone Golf and Country Club on the outskirts of Rome will host the event from September 29-October 1 next year, live on Sky Sports’ dedicated Ryder Cup channel, where Europe will be looking to avenge their record-breaking 19-9 loss at Whistling Straits in 2020.

Why was Stenson sacked?

Stenson was appointed Ryder Cup captain on March 15, but the Swede’s tenure lasted just 127 days before his decision to join LIV Golf meant he was removed from the role with immediate effect.

Henrik Stenson says he made every arrangement to keep his Ryder Cup captaincy, before he was stripped of it ahead of joining the LIV Golf series

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Henrik Stenson says he made every arrangement to keep his Ryder Cup captaincy, before he was stripped of it ahead of joining the LIV Golf series

Henrik Stenson says he made every arrangement to keep his Ryder Cup captaincy, before he was stripped of it ahead of joining the LIV Golf series

The 2016 Open champion had hoped to be able to continue in the position while still playing in LIV events, but a meeting with Ryder Cup Europe officials made it clear that was not acceptable.

Ryder Cup Europe said in a statement last month: “In light of decisions made by Henrik in relation to his personal circumstances, it has become clear that he will not be able to fulfil certain contractual obligations to Ryder Cup Europe that he had committed to prior to his announcement as Captain on Tuesday March 15, 2022, and it is therefore not possible for him to continue in the role of Captain.”

Padraig Harrington says he's disappointed that Henrik Stenson didn't wait until after next year's Ryder Cup to join the LIV Golf Invitational Series

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Padraig Harrington says he’s disappointed that Henrik Stenson didn’t wait until after next year’s Ryder Cup to join the LIV Golf Invitational Series

Padraig Harrington says he’s disappointed that Henrik Stenson didn’t wait until after next year’s Ryder Cup to join the LIV Golf Invitational Series

Stenson then made a light-hearted dig at his dismissal after making a winning start to his LIV Golf career in Bedminster, joking that he “played like a captain” when interviewed after his victory.

Who will be part of Donald’s backroom team?

Thomas Bjorn had already been appointed as one of Stenson’s vice-captains, having led Europe to victory in impressive fashion at Le Golf National in 2018. Edoardo Molinari was also a confirmed member of Stenson’s backroom staff, with Donald retaining both as assistants.

“In my opinion, it was essential that Thomas and Edoardo remained part of the team,” Molinari said. “They were the first two calls I made once I got the nod to be Captain and I’m delighted that they are fully on-board.

“Nobody needs any explanation of how important Thomas is to the Ryder Cup – one glance at the history books will show you that. He has lived and breathed European golf for the past 30 years and having his know-how behind me, not least as a winning Captain, will be vital.

“Furthermore, Edoardo has blazed an impressive trail for himself in the world of stats and his knowledge in this area with the players who will be on the team, in addition to extra-special Italian element he will bring to the entire occasion, is an extra bonus for Team Europe.”

Zach Johnson is the United States’ captain for their defence, succeeding Steve Stricker in the role, with the two-time major winner already confirming that American players competing in the LIV Golf series will not be eligible to represent Team USA.

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