Sept. 25-Oct. 1, 2023 Marco Simone Golf & Country Club, Rome, Italy

If anyone knows about the unique thrill of a Ryder Cup and the raw passion it evokes it is Luke Donald, who brings great experience and a winning ethos in his role as Captain of Team Europe.

In his four appearances as a player, the former World Number One in the Official World Golf Ranking was never on the losing side and is tasked with regaining the trophy at the Marco Simone Golf and Country Club in Rome, Italy from September 25 – October 1, 2023.

After serving as a Vice Captain in the last two editions of the event, under Thomas Bjørn at Le Golf National in 2018 and Padraig Harrington at Whistling Straights last year, Donald becomes the first English captain of Team Europe since Sir Nick Faldo at Valhalla, Kentucky in 2008.

From his debut as a player at Oakland Hills Country Club to his final appearance in his adopted hometown of Chicago at Medinah Country Club in 2014, Donald amassed 10.5 points from his 15 matches.

One of Europe’s most reliable performers, he led by example, and he will now look to harness the team spirit that has seen Europe not lose on home soil since 1993 at The Belfry.

His final chapter as a player in the Ryder Cup was at Medinah as he delivered a vital point with a 2&1 victory against Bubba Watson in the opening singles match in 2012. With Europe trailing 10-6 going into the final day, Donald put the first blue on the board during Sunday’s memorable comeback.

Donald made his introduction to the Ryder Cup eight years earlier in 2004, in another famous victory on US soil, as a Bernhard Langer-led Europe side beat their hosts 18.5-9.5 – a record margin of defeat for the USA since the competition started in 1927.

In his rookie appearance at Oakland Hills, Donald, aged 26, won 2.5 points from his four matches. He began with a half point alongside Paul McGinley in Friday morning’s fourballs, before two foursomes victories paired with Sergio Garcia helped put the visitors into a dominant 11-5 lead going into the singles, during which he was beaten by Chad Campbell.

However, he had underlined the faith put in him by Captain Langer, who had selected Donald as one of his two wild card selections.

Two years later at the K Club in Ireland, Donald once again proved a formidable force in the foursomes in the company of Garcia before he avenged his singles defeat to Campbell to play a crucial role in making it back-to-back 18.5-9.5 wins for Ian Woosnam’s Team Europe.

After Injury deprived him of playing in the 2008 contest at Valhalla, the Englishman returned to the fold as one of Colin Montgomerie’s three captain’s picks at Celtic Manor. The then World Number eight picked up three points from a possible four as his victory over Jim Furyk in the singles helped Europe to a 14.5-13.5 success after inclement weather led to the event finishing on a Monday for the first time.

His last Ryder Cup appearance as a player is widely regarded as one of the best sporting comebacks of all time and the greatest in Ryder Cup history. With José María Olazábal’s side seemingly set for defeat, trailing 10-4, with two of day two’s fourballs still on the course, Donald and Garcia beat Tiger Woods and Steve Stricker 1 up to help reduce the deficit to four points going into the final day’s action.

Donald’s point against Watson in the singles then set the tone for a tidal wave of European blue on the scoreboard as the European side pulled off the unthinkable to seal Europe’s fifth victory in the previous six contests, with Olazábal dedicating the success to his countryman Seve Ballesteros.

Two stints in Team Europe’s backroom team as a vice captain have since followed, during which Donald has experienced both victory and defeat.

The 44-year-old can now look forward to once again experiencing the compelling nature of one of sport’s greatest event as he aims to count upon his immense insight of the game as a professional over the last two decades and reclaim the Ryder Cup trophy.