Luke Donald Has Got Everything Right Before Ryder Cup
Golfshake's Derek Clements looks ahead to the 2023 Ryder Cup and assesses the performance of both captains coming into the event, Luke Donald and Zach Johnson, and comments on some of the lingering controversies that they have had to overcome.
THE build-up to this Ryder Cup has been like no other. It is all too easy to forget that Luke Donald was not supposed to be Europe’s captain - that was an honour that should have gone to Henrik Stenson.
When appointed, the Swede described it as the greatest honour of his career - not bad when you consider that he is a former Open champion. But he forfeited his right to lead the team when, like to many others, he put money first and signed for LIV Golf.
There then followed a hiatus before Donald was named as his replacement. Let’s face it, Ryder Cup Europe did not want to name a new captain and then find that he was also going to defect.
Like his American counterpart Zach Johnson, Donald has not put a foot wrong. He is just an incredibly impressive man who talks with huge intelligence.
And he wasted no time in getting Edoardo and Francesco Molinari on board as vice-captains. In truth, Donald would have preferred it had an Italian qualified for his team and at one stage it did seem that Guido Migliozzi might manage it. But he probably wanted it too badly.
Since that did not happen the next best thing was to appoint a former Open champion in Francesco and his brother Edoardo, who assists many top golfers with the statistical side of their game.
Of course, there were waves when Donald overlooked Adrian Meronk, but that is the way of the Ryder Cup. Somebody is always going to feel aggrieved at missing out, even when a captain is given six picks.
On the face of it, Donald’s selection of Ludvig Aberg looks like a no-brainer after the sensational start he has made to his professional career. And I remain convinced that the youngster will not let Europe down.
But still the whole LIV Golf things refuses to go away. If you follow X (or Twitter as most people still prefer to call it), you will be aware of @LIVGolfNation, a social media account that continues to try to stir things up.
Last week it reported that Sergio Garcia had offered to pay his outstanding £700,000 fines to the DP World Tour in an attempt to gain selection for the European Ryder Cup team and had been snubbed. You will know that to play for Europe a golfer has to be a member of the DP World Tour and Garcia and his fellow LIV golfers no longer are - at least while the powers-that-be attempt to thrash out some kind of a lasting peace deal that will keep everybody happy.
If Keith Pelley has decided that he doesn't want the Spaniard back in the fold, could anybody really blame him? Garcia has said some pretty unkind things about his home tour and the people who run it.
And apart from all that, he simply hasn’t played well enough this year to merit consideration for the team.
So @LIVGolfNation has now opted to slam what it calls the “golf establishment” for ensuring that Garcia and Phil Mickelson will never be Ryder Cup captains. I could start to provide you with a list of reasons why neither of these men should be allowed near a captain’s room, but I have intention of insulting your intelligence.
Johnson will, of course, have Brooks Koepka in his side. He nearly qualified for the US Ryder Cup team automatically, despite being a LIV Golf member who is now only able to pick up points at the majors.
And yes, you’ve guessed it, @LivGolfNation has been singing the praises of a host of players who they say should be in the US Team - Patrick Reed, Dustin Johnson, Bryson DeChambeau and Talor Gooch.
The reality is that Gooch really can count himself as being desperately unfortunate not to have caught Johnson’s eye. But you could say the same thing about Keegan Bradley, Tony Finau, Sahith Theegala and several others.
My fervent wish is that all 24 players give a good account of themselves, produce their very best form, thrill the massive galleries and that somebody produces a moment of pure magic to secure the trophy - and hopefully that will come from a European.
The Ryder Cup is unlike any other tournament in golf and the atmosphere is something that every golf fan should experience. The experts at Golfbreaks.com can help with all aspects of your Ryder Cup experience, from accommodation and ticket packages to hospitality and travel and playing some of the fantastic nearby courses.
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