Luke Donald, Henrik Stenson and Robert Karlsson among the potential names under consideration to captain Europe for the 2023 Ryder Cup in Rome; Padraig Harrington’s successor will be announced on Tuesday
By Ali Stafford
Last Updated: 15/03/22 9:08am
Europe will announce their next Ryder Cup captain on Tuesday, but who will succeed Padraig Harrington and lead the team in the 2023 contest?
Marco Simone Golf and Country Club in Italy will host the biennial event from September 29-October 1 next year, live on Sky Sports’ dedicated Ryder Cup channel, where Europe will be desperate to regain the trophy after their record-breaking loss at Whistling Straits.
Former world No 1 Lee Westwood was initially the favourite to take over from Harrington, having made 11 Ryder Cup appearances as a player and also serving as vice-captain to Thomas Bjorn in the 2018 victory, although the Englishman has since ruled himself out of consideration for the role.
Westwood decided to keep his attention on staying competitive at the highest level and remains in the world’s top 50, leaving the vacancy open for a different European Ryder Cup stalwart to fill.
Luke Donald has emerged as a strong contender for the role, with the former world No 1 having played in four winning Ryder Cup teams and serving as a vice-captain for the past two events.
Luke Donald said he would be interested in the Ryder Cup captaincy should the opportunity arise and says he’s ‘humbled’ by Padraig Harrington’s endorsement of him
The 44-year-old has already received an endorsement from Harrington, who said his former assistant “would be great” as a captain, with Donald “humbled” by the Irishman’s comments and open to the prospect of leading Team Europe.
“If I was given the opportunity, I would dearly love it and be very grateful and honoured to take it up,” Donald said during The American Express. “It’s something, again, I would love to do and I know there’s a worthy list of people who could do this job and be the next Ryder Cup captain.”
Another Scandinavian skipper?
Denmark’s Bjorn led Europe to victory at Le Golf National in the last home contest, with a couple of Swedish names potentially under consideration to take over Europe’s bid for a seventh successive home success.
Henrik Stenson has made five Ryder Cup appearances as a player, including during Europe’s victory at Le Golf National in 2018, before working as one of Harrington’s assistants in Wisconsin last year.
The Swede told the Scotsman last month he was ‘happy to put on the big shoes’ if asked to take the role, although the Daily Telegraph have since reported any possible involvement in the rumoured Saudi-backed golf league could hamper his chances.
“It’s good to be in the mix as a potential captain,” Stenson told Golf Digest earlier this week. “I’ll have to wait and see though. I haven’t had any discussions with those making the decision.”
Robert Karlsson is another possibility for the role, having played in two Ryder Cups and also receiving strong praise from both captains he has worked under during his two stints as vice-captain.
“Anybody involved in 2018 would have seen this as a no-brainer pick,” Harrington said when he named Karlsson as a vice-captain for the last contest. “He’s very logical, very straight, he doesn’t let the emotions get involved.”
Who else could be captain?
Graeme McDowell played in four consecutive Ryder Cups from 2008 to 2014 and has been vice-captain for the last two European sides, although the Northern Irishman has ruled himself out of the running to be captain.
“I think playing is my priority right now,” McDowell said ahead of the QBE Shootout last month. “I really don’t think I would have the time or the ability to get the captaincy 110 per cent right now.”
McDowell is favourite to captain Europe in the 2027 edition, held at Adare Manor in Ireland, while Ian Poulter and Martin Kaymer – stars of Europe’s ‘Miracle at Medinah’ victory in 2012 – are both possible future captains and have both served as vice-captains in the past for Team Europe.
Francesco Molinari will also hope to be involved at a ‘home’ Ryder Cup in Italy, five years on from becoming the first European player to win all five of their matches in the same contest.
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