Luke Donald becomes the first back-to-back Ryder Cup captain since Bernard Gallacher after being named to lead Europe in the 2025 contest; Europe will aim for historic victory on American soil after 16.5-11.5 win in Rome
By Ali Stafford
Last Updated: 29/11/23 4:14pm
Luke Donald has admitted that the “humbling” reaction from his Team Europe players after their Ryder Cup success was a big factor in him taking up captaincy for a second time.
Donald led Europe to a brilliant 16.5-11.5 victory over Team USA in Rome earlier this year, with the Englishman now appointed captain again for the 2025 contest at Bethpage Black in New York.
Shane Lowry and Rory McIlroy were among the European stars to back him to retain the role, with chants of “two more years” during the victory presentation at Marco Simone GC, with those comments inspiring Donald to be the first repeat captain since Bernard Gallacher in the mid-1990s.
“That was hugely humbling and gratifying to hear that [chants], that I’ve done a great job for them in their eyes,” Donald told Sky Sports. “When I first took on the role it was quite daunting, whether I could do it and live up to those expectations.
“To hear that [chanting] was really heartwarming. Even at that point though, I still had needed some time to think about it. It was quite a high percentage [to do it again] but I didn’t want to rush everything.
“I didn’t really want to let them down because we create such strong bonds and hearing their praise for me was a big deciding factor in whether to do it again.
“I wanted to let everything settle down and obviously need to talk to my family because it’s a big time commitment. My wife and I talked it over and we said we’re ready to do this again.”
Donald hasn’t competed since the Ryder Cup, with the 45-year-old taking time away from the game to celebrate captaining Europe to their seventh consecutive home victory the biennial contest.
“I’ve got to admit, the partying has only just started to calm down!” Donald added. “I’ve tried to enjoy this one as much as possible, I think. I didn’t schedule any events to play in after the Ryder Cup for a reason – either to be sulking or to be celebrating – and fortunately it was for celebrating!
“It has been amazing to share some of the celebrations with friends and family and some of the players who live near me in Florida. It has just been great and I think you always want to embrace those moments, certainly as a golfer.
“Throughout my career I’ve had lots of highs and you don’t really have time to celebrate them sometimes, because you’re always on to the next thing. I made sure I could enjoy this moment as long as I could.”
Ryder Cup history ahead for Europe?
Donald has yet to confirm his backroom staff or the qualification criteria for the 2025 contest, where Europe will be chasing a first away success since the ‘Miracle at Medinah’ in 2012 and see him bid to become the first captain since Tony Jacklin to win home and away Ryder Cups.
“A big part of the reason I took this on is to create history and would only be the second ever European Ryder Cup captain to go back-to-back,” Donald explained.
“I’ve obviously done it as a player a couple of times but as a captain it’s going to be a momentous challenge. We know that New York’s going to be boisterous, it’s going to be loud and it’s going to be like any other Ryder Cup – very, very spirited.
“I think it’s going to be difficult, but I’ve never really backed away from challenges. I’ve always enjoyed that ability to try and do something that’s very difficult.
“It was the same when I tried to get to No 1 in the world as a player like me and the distance I hit the ball. Figuring out how I could overcome some of these challenges has always been a part of my DNA.
“I’m looking forward to it and I’m glad I have 22 months to work on it.”
Sky Sports will continue to be the home of the Ryder Cup, with all three days of the 2025 exclusively live. Stream the PGA Tour, DP World Tour, LPGA Tour and more with NOW.