GOLF

“If I got that captaincy, I would keep my word and I would keep my word… I wouldn’t do a Henrik.”

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DETROIT – Luke Donald received a few more messages than usual on his phone after completing his first round at the Rocket Mortgage Classic.

They weren’t to congratulate him on hitting a solid 2-under 70 at the Detroit Golf Club.

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Instead, it had to do with a report that the 44-year-old Englishman would be named to replace Henrik Stenson as European team captain at the 2023 Ryder Cup in Italy, according to the Telegraph.

“There’s nothing official to report,” Donald said. “I’ve been in talks with Guy (Ryder Cup Director Kinnings) on the European Tour. And that’s all I know at the moment. I know I have a very good chance, Thomas Bjorn and a few other guys are under consideration.

In March, when Stenson was originally cast in the role, Donald was seen as the bridesmaid.

“I thought I had a good chance this year. I hope my luck is not lost,” Donald said at the time. “We have a lot of very worthy contenders, Ryder Cup legends, guys like Sergio, I don’t know how this whole Saudi thing is going to play out and if anyone is going to get knocked out because of it. It’s a bit of a question mark. »

It turned out to be a bigger question mark than anyone thought as Stenson reversed course and joined LIV Golf, the rival tour backed by Saudi royalty and clouded in controversy for that country’s poor record. on human rights violations and other atrocities. Stenson, who makes his LIV debut this week, was fired two weeks ago. Donald said he was surprised by Stenson’s about-face.

“I certainly had some of my best moments on the golf course at the Ryder Cups. What an incredible honor to represent Europe at the Ryder Cup, and I would love to be captain. It would also be a huge honor,” Donald said. “I was surprised that he came up with his name if his plan was to go to LIV, which, you know, the rumours, and I hate to talk about rumours, but the rumors say he’s been in touch with rival tours, whoever they were, and he was very interested. And I think everybody knew that, the European Tour knew that. They obviously took him at his word that he wasn’t going to do it. We all have to sign a clause or contract saying we won’t have anything to do with (LIV) I’m disappointed I guess he would come up with his name and then go to LIV I understand some guys go to LIV , in certain situations in their careers and everything, it makes sense. But obviously something big to give up.

Donald said the concept of LIV was intriguing and everyone had a number, but he hadn’t been approached to play in the 48-man league. He had been asked to join the team of television announcers.

“I declined pretty quickly,” he said. “A small downside to my game. I know I didn’t play very well, but thank you, but no thank you.

Donald said he was told a decision on the European team captain would be announced early next week. He would be the first Englishman since Nick Faldo in 2008 to hold the non-playing position.

“If I got that captaincy, I would keep my word and I would keep my word,” he said. “Let me put it this way. I wouldn’t do a Henrik.

Donald – a four-time Ryder Cup player (2004, 2006, 2010, 2012), five-time PGA Tour winner and six-time DP World Tour winner who played college golf at Northwestern – gave a 30-minute presentation to the three past Ryder Cup captains – Darren Clarke, Thomas Bjorn and Padraig Harrington – as well as DP World Tour Tournament Committee Chairman David Howell and DP World Tour CEO Keith Pelley earlier this year. He said he didn’t have to make a second presentation. Robert Karlsson of Sweden, Paul Lawrie of Scotland and Edouardo Molinari of Italy were the other finalists in March.

Donald, a former world No. 1, has served as vice-captain at the last two Ryder Cups and has called Rome, home to host site Marco Simone Golf Club, one of his and his wife’s favorite cities.

“We’ve been several times,” he said. “Beautiful city, architecture and history of things you can go and see, it’s one of my favorite places to visit.”

Maybe end of September 2023.

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