Seven-time European Tour winner Luke Donald has officially replaced Henrik Stenson as Europe’s team captain for the Ryder Cup next year after Stenson was stripped of his title last month following his decision to join the rival, Saudi-backed LIV Golf league.
Donald, who previously served as vice captain at the last two Ryder Cups, made the official announcement on Monday.
“It is truly one of the greatest honors that can be bestowed upon a golfer, to lead a team of your peers and be an ambassador for an entire continent,” he said in a statement. “I feel extremely privileged to have been given that responsibility and it is a responsibility I do not take lightly.”
The search for Donald didn’t take long.
Ryder Cup Europe announced on July 20 that following reports that Stenson had joined LIV Golf ahead of its third tournament at Trump National Golf Club in Bedminister, N.J., he would no longer serve as captain for the 2023 Ryder Cup at Marco Simone Golf and Country Club in Rome.
“In light of decisions made by Henrik in relation to his personal circumstances, it has become clear that he will not be able to fulfill 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.”
In his official announcement, Stenson argued the opposite was true.
“As many of you will have already seen, unfortunately, my decision to play in LIV events has triggered Ryder Cup Europe to communicate that it is not possible for me to continue in my role as Ryder Cup captain,” his statement read. “This is despite me making specific arrangements with LIV Golf, who have been supportive in my role as Captain, to ensure I could fulfill the obligations of the Captaincy.”
Stenson, perhaps fueled by his removal, surpassed expectations in his LIV Golf debut this past weekend, winning the tournament by two strokes over Dustin Johnson and Matthew Wolf.
His reward? A $4 million winner’s purse and an additional $375,000 for his team’s second-place finish.