Veterans Padraig Harrington and Matt Kuchar each shot a 4-under 68 on Thursday to share the early lead with MJ Daffue and Roberto Diaz in the weather-delayed first round of the Valero Texas Open.
Donald named as Europe Ryder Cup captain
England’s Luke Donald was named the European Ryder Cup captain for 2023 on Monday, replacing Sweden’s Henrik Stenson, who was stripped of his captaincy after joining the new LIV Golf Invitational Series.
Donald, who was part of four winning European teams as a player, will captain the team at Marco Simone Golf and Country Club outside Rome, from Sept. 25 to Oct. 1, 2023.
“I am incredibly proud to be named European Ryder Cup Captain for 2023,” Donald said in a statement. “It is truly one of the greatest honours that can be bestowed upon a golfer, to lead a team of your peers and be an ambassador for an entire continent. I feel extremely privileged to have been given that responsibility and it is a responsibility I do not take lightly.”
Stenson was removed as Ryder Cup captain after signing with LIV Golf on July 20. Stenson won the third LIV Golf event this past weekend at Trump National Golf Club Bedminster in New Jersey. He collected more than $4 million in prize money.
“I guess we can agree I played like a captain,” Stenson said during the LIV Golf telecast Sunday after finishing at 11-under 202.
Donald, 44, was the No. 1 player in the world for 56 weeks, beginning in May 2011. The former Northwestern star has won five times on the PGA Tour, most recently in 2012, and seven times on the European Tour.
Denmark’s Thomas Bjorn and Italy’s Edoardo Molinari will serve as Donald’s vice captains in Rome. Zach Johnson will be the American team captain.
“Some of my best experiences in golf have been in the Ryder Cup and I would not swap those for anything,” Donald said. “It is an event like no other and I cannot wait to create more special memories in Italy next year. I love everything the Ryder Cup embodies, from the camaraderie and companionship of being part of a team, to the history of the contest, but most of all playing for something bigger than yourself.”
The U.S. team won the 2021 Ryder Cup by a 19-9 score at Whistling Straits in Wisconsin. It was the largest margin of defeat in the Ryder Cup since 1967.
Several of the most notable European players who competed at Whistling Straits, including Sergio Garcia, Lee Westwood, Paul Casey and Ian Poulter, have also joined LIV Golf.
“Luke is a former World Number One who possesses a superb Ryder Cup record, so he undoubtedly has the credentials required to be a successful European Captain,” European Ryder Cup director Guy Kinnings said in a statement. “He is hugely respected by the players and by the wider support team at Ryder Cup Europe who have already done an immense amount of work behind the scenes to give him a strong platform for the remaining 14 months before the match gets underway.”