“See You In Rome!” Luke Donald’s Defiant Response If He’ll Do A Stenson.

“See you in Rome!” was Luke Donald’s defiant response to any suggestions he may face the same fate as Henrik Stenson should the Englishman be a second straight European Team captain to break his Rome contract.

Donald fended-off such a question at a Zoom conference he and Ryder Cup Director, Guy Kinnings hosted just hours after being officially confirmed as the new 2023 European captain.

“Well, I have signed a contract, and I intend to see that through”, Donald said in response to a London-based tabloid newspaperman.

“I’m giving you my word that I will be here for the next 14 months. I’m excited about this opportunity, I really am. The Ryder Cup means so much to me and I’m not going to take this lightly, so I will see new Rome”.

It was earlier in the conference when Donald made it clear he would not be drawn into the on-going controversy tearing the men’s pro game apart and also declaring, while disappointed not to be first awarded the 2023 captaincy in March, he’s honoured to be now leading Europe into battle next year in Rome.

Donald takes over the European team reins after Stenson controversially stripping of the Rome reins just 147 days after we now learn he beat Donald to the role.

The 44-year-old Donald will now lead Europe into a 44th Ryder Cup with 14 months of seemingly continued uncertainty as to whether those like Stenson, Lee Westwood, Sergio Garcia and other LIV players, will be ‘legally’ allowed to qualify but any nervousness, concern or anxiety has never been a part of the Englishman’s golfing DNA as again was evident in hosting a Zoom conference following the DP World Tour’s formal announcement of the role earlier today.

“See you in Rome!” declares Luke Donald to any suggestions he may follow outed European Ryder Cup Captain Henrik Stenson to LIV Golf

“I’m very, very excited, and it’s a huge privilege and an honour and I can’t wait to get started”, said.  “I had no second thoughts, no uncertainty though, to be honest, I was disappointed I didn’t get the nod back in March, but sometimes we’re given second chances, and I’m thoroughly looking forward to making the most of it. So, I’m very, very excited.

“And given the opportunity to be a Ryder Cup Captain is something — one of the greatest honours I can have in my golfing career. I’m extremely excited about this opportunity, and I plan to make the most of it”.

Donald went as far to liken being offered the European captaincy as a ‘Life Achievement’ award.

“I’m certainly excited about the opportunity, and when I found out I had a second chance, I grabbed at it to be honest with you”, he said. “This is something I’ve always wanted to do.  I’ve had amazing experiences in Ryder Cups, and this feels kind of like a Lifetime Achievement Award in a way; a kind of reward for everything I’ve done for The Ryder Cup and for golf, and to be a part of this is truly, truly very special”.

However, it was only three questions into the conference when Donald was asked a direct LIV Golf related question, and that was whether the Englishman believes the breakaway Europeans should be in position to be selected for Rome

“Well, obviously part of being a captain is to create a strong 12-man unified team, and I’ll be working on that over the next 14 months”, he said.

New 2023 European Ryder Cup captain Luke Donald with European Ryder Cup Director Guy Kinnings

“I’m not here really to talk about LIV and whether they will be eligible or not. That’s to be seen and kind of a hypothetical question. But certainly over the next few months, hopefully we’ll have some clarity on that situation and we can start making some decisions about that when they become more clear”,

Though it led to a question as to whether the contract Donald signed, and the only Stenson broke, does allow now LIV Golf players to be selected should the ‘goal posts’ change in coming months.

Donald deflected that question to Kinnings, sitting beside him.

“There are legal appeals ongoing, and until such time the players are entitled to play; and therefore, you know, The Ryder Cup qualification process when it does get announced, then that has to be something that Luke will be working on with us”, said Kinnings.

“Then the points will run, but I suspect they will be much as they are with The PGA of America, listing players that are mentioned but subject to eligibility. As we said, that’s all to be seen in the coming weeks, and we’ll work around whatever is needed to help Luke in the cause as he says”.

Of course, Stenson’s sacking remained a hot theme in the conference and Kinnings, who no doubt announced the news to Stenson, asked if he felt Stenson move to LIV had let down the DP World Tour.

“We’re disappointed but Henrik made his decision and we respect that”, said Kinnings.

“You know, we are now focused on the future. As I mentioned earlier, we have a great team who work hard the whole time; from the moment we finish a Ryder Cup, we are immediately looking at ways we can improve and do things better. That process has been ongoing. We are now just excited to get behind Luke. Things happen for a reason. We have now got a great captain. We will get behind him and do everything to be ready to win next year”.

OTHER MAIN POINTS OF DONALD’S PRESS CONFERENCE

Qn:  What will be the hardest part of your role as European captain?

Luke Donald – “Well, the hardest part for me will be to get these 12 guys into the team room in a very motivated, unified way — I don’t think that’s even going to be the hardest part but I’m excited about this journey and I’m really going to make the most of it.

“There’s obviously some distractions going on but there’s been lots of captaincies in Ryder Cups where there’s been issues. We saw that last year with Pádraig and Steve with COVID. We saw that with Sam Torrance and Curtis Strange had to deal with the terrorist attacks of 9/11.

“These things happen and we’ll just go through them as we get them and deal with them in the best possible way.

Qn: Aside from LIV Golf, what does Europe need to do if they are to win back the Ryder Cup in Rome?

Luke Donald – “The European Tour and The Ryder Cup Committee have a great template in place. We have had a lot of success over the years. We’ve won

seven of the last ten, nine of the last 13. So certainly last year’s defeat was very bitter. It was tough to swallow. It was the first time I was ever on a team, on a losing team, and it’s not nice.

“But sometimes failure can really motivate you, and I certainly know that the players will be motivated to win back that Cup, and I will be doing everything I can to get those guys in the right frame of mind to put us in a position.

We had some things going against us, obviously COVID, and not having the support that we usually do even at an away match. So hopefully this time will be a little bit easier in terms of having a great crowd support. I’m excited for it to be in Rome.

“The Italian fans are very passionate and yeah, again, I can’t wait to get this process started and enjoy this journey”.

Qn:  Has he spoken to the likes of Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm and Viktor Hovland?  Donald – large part of your team next year?

Luke Donald: “I’ve already received a new text messages from them. I’ll be talking to a lot of the players over the next coming days, and we’ll start forming some plans.

Qn:  What will Donald do to get to know players who could win Ryder Cup selcection that he’s never met and will he spend more time competing on the DP World Tour once the selection process starts?

Donald – “I certainly plan to be over in Europe more, more than I usually am, and meeting the guys and getting to know them better and getting to go to dinners and all that kind of stuff.

“I know a lot of the players that have played in Ryder Cups and have experience but it will be important for me to get over a little bit more and catch up with these younger guys and really get them in the right frame of mind that this could be a new opportunity for a new generation to step up and make this team. I’ll be trying to really persuade them to be stepping up their schedules and playing some good golf”.

Qn:  Of the six Ryder Cup captains Donald has played or served under, who does he most closely resemble, personality-wise, not looks.

Luke Donald: “I suppose somewhere between a Langer and a Olazábal. I think I’m a detail-oriented person. I like to figure things out in my head without blurting them out.

“José was certainly more of a quiet leader, and I think that will be kind of my stance. That’s my characteristics. Between those two, I’m guessing I’ll be on the phone to both of them and getting some ideas for my captaincy.



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