Luke Donald on Europe Ryder Cup gig: ‘If I got this captaincy I would live up to my word and see it through…I wouldn’t be doing a Henrik.’

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DETROIT – Luke Donald had a few more messages than normal on his phone after he finished his opening round at the Rocket Mortgage Classic.

They weren’t to congratulate him on shooting a solid score of 2-under 70 at Detroit Golf Club.

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

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

In March, when Stenson was initially selected for the role, Donald was perceived to be the bridesmaid.

“I thought I had a good chance this year. Hopefully, that’s not my chance gone,” Donald said at the time. “We have a lot of very worthy candidates, legends of the Ryder Cup, 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 that. That’s a little bit of a question mark.”

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

“I’ve certainly had some of my best moments on the golf course in the Ryder Cups. What an amazing honor it is to represent Europe in the Ryder Cup, and I would love to be a captain. That would be a huge honor as well,” Donald said. “I was surprised that he would put his name forward if his plan was to go to LIV, which, you know, the rumors, and I hate to talk about rumors, but rumors are that he’d been in contact with the rival tours, whatever they were, and he was very interested. And I think everyone knew that, the European Tour knew that. They obviously took his word that he wasn’t going to do it. We all have to sign a clause or contract saying that we won’t have anything to do with (LIV). I’m disappointed I guess that he would put his name forward and then go to LIV. I understand certain guys going to LIV, in certain situations in their careers and stuff, that makes sense. But obviously something big to give up.”

Donald said LIV’s concept was intriguing, and that everyone has a number, but he had not been approached to play in the 48-man league. He had been asked about joining the TV announcing crew.

“Turned that down pretty quickly,” he said. “A little bit of a slight on my game. I know I haven’t played that great, but thanks but no thanks.”

Donald said he was told that a decision on Team Europe’s 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 this captaincy I would live up to my word and see it through,” he said. “Let me put it that way. I wouldn’t be doing a Henrik.”

Donald – a four-time Ryder Cup player (2004, ’06, ’10, ’12), five-time PGA Tour winner and six-time DP World Tour winner who played college golf at Northwestern – made a 30-minute presentation to the three most recent Ryder Cup captains – Darren Clarke, Thomas Bjorn and Padraig Harrington – as well as David Howell, chairman of the DP World Tour tournament committee, and DP World Tour CEO Keith Pelley earlier this year. He said he didn’t have to make a second presentation. Sweden’s Robert Karlsson, Scotland’s Paul Lawrie and Italy’s Edouardo Molinari were the other finalists in March.

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

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

Perhaps in late September 2023.