Luke Donald reappointed European Ryder Cup captain for 2025 contest in New York

Englishman is the first captain since Bernard Gallacher to retain the captaincy

The quiet man who stands out from the crowd, Luke Donald – who proved such an influential captain in Europe’s impressive Ryder Cup win over the United States in Rome in September – will get to do it all over again, on American soil, after being reappointed for the defence of the trophy at Bethpage in New York in 2025.

Rather than allowing speculation to linger on the possibility of Donald going back-to-back, the DP World Tour has moved to strike early in confirming Donald as the first captain since Bernard Gallacher (who captained Europe on three occasions, in 1991, 1993 and 1995) to retain the captaincy.

Donald had been drafted in to replace Henrik Stenson, the original choice for Rome but forced to step down after relinquishing his European Tour membership in defecting to LIV Golf, and was universally praised by Europe’s players for how he conducted the build-up (which included an advance reconnaissance visit by his team) and for his handling of players the week itself.

One incident in Rome – that between Rory McIlroy and Patrick Cantlay’s caddie Joe La Cava, who encroached on the Northern Irishman’s putting line during the Saturday fourball session – was actually used by Donald to fire up his players for Sunday’s singles, where they ultimately closed out a 16½ to 11½ win to regain the trophy.


“These things happen at the Ryder Cup. It’s a passion event. Joe overstepped the mark and tried to reach out after the fact and apologise but we just tried to use that as fuel for Sunday. I didn’t need to say much,” recalled Donald of that incident.

Donald was encouraged by players in the aftermath of the win to consider returning as captain for the match at Bethpage in 2025 but sought first to take time out with his family before deciding.

However, Pádraig Harrington, who captained Europe at Whistling Straits in 2021, was one of those to believe the time had come for two-time appointments. Using his own experience as an example, Harrington made the point: “It’s so unpalatable to accept an away captaincy that I feel that maybe home-and-away would be a good way going forward.”

Gallacher and Tony Jacklin were each captains multiple times in the 1980s and 1990s before the principle of one-time only captaincy was adopted. Donald, though, will take on back-to-back leadership roles with the aim to retain the Ryder Cup in Bethpage. The last time Europe successively retained the trophy on US soil was at Medinah in 2012, while the last captain to lead winning teams home and away was Jacklin (in 1985 and 1987).

Donald, who is aged 45, said of his reappointment: “Great opportunities don’t come along very often in life and I’m a great believer that when they do, you need to grab them with both hands – this is one of those moments! I’ve been fortunate as a player to have had many amazing times in the Ryder Cup over the years and so to add being a winning captain to that, to form bonds with the 12 players like we did in Italy, and to get the result we did, was very special indeed.”

He added: “The Ryder Cup means so much to me, so to be captain again and have the chance to create more history by becoming only the second European captain to win back-to-back [with Jacklin] is exciting. There’s no question being a captain away from home is a tough task but I have never shied away from challenges throughout my career and it is precisely the kind of thing that motivates me.”

Philip Reid

Philip Reid

Philip Reid is Golf Correspondent of The Irish Times