Lee Westwood questions timing of Luke Donald's Ryder Cup reappointment

Lee Westwood agreed it was right for Luke Donald to be reappointed European Ryder Cup captain but the English LIV Golf pro did have one question.

Ben Smith's picture
Mon, 11 Dec 2023
Lee Westwood questions timing of Luke Donald's Ryder Cup reappointment

Lee Westwood agrees it makes 'perfect sense' for Luke Donald to remain as European Ryder Cup captain. 

But the Englishman also questioned whether the powers that be urged Donald to make a decision on the role before the outcome of the PGA, DP World Tour and PIF's framework agreement is known to prevent certain LIV players from being given the opportunity. 

Westwood made the comments in the first ever edition of the Majesticks GC podcast alongside the team's general managers James Dunkley and Ollie Banks. 

Donald confirmed he would remain as the European skipper on 29 November after he was given the choice of whether to stay on in the position after leading Europe to a four-point victory over the U.S. in September. 

The former world number one proved to be a hugely popular captain, particular with Rory McIlroy

McIlroy, 34, recently sparked fresh controversy by taking a dig at Donald's predecessor, Henrik Stenson, who was stripped off the honour after joining LIV in 2022. 

As far as McIlroy is concerned, 'the best thing' to happen to the 2023 European side was Stenson joining the breakaway. 

Westwood, known for his dry sense of humour, decided to reply to McIlroy's jibe simply by writing on X: "Nice to see the season of good will in full swing! Merry Christmas!!!"

Of the decision to reappoint Donald, Westwood told the podcast: "He was successful last time wasn't he? All the players raved about him so, you know, there's not too many obvious ones to be Ryder Cup captain. 

"A lot of them were taken out by joining LIV. They've clearly stated that if you're on LIV then you cannot be Ryder Cup captain so it makes perfect sense to me to announce Luke. It gives continuity to it.

"Like I say, the players like him, you know, he seems like he's at that place in his career where [his] playing days are tailing off and he ... it's a full-time job so, gone are the days you can play and be Ryder Cup captain."

Westwood added: "The only thing you could say with the decision is if a merger does go ahead and you suddenly have to change all of your rules and all of a sudden a lot of lads that are on LIV suddenly became available for Ryder Cup captaincy [then] you have made your decision three months too early, haven't you?"

Dunkley agreed: "Yeah, well, there's maybe another indication how they feel about our hat then."

Westwood said: "Maybe that's why they've done it." 

Westwood casts doubt on PIF merger...

Westwood also discussed the recent LIV Golf Promotions event in which three players earned spots on the breakaway tour for the 2024 campaign.  

The field was not as strong as LIV had hoped, mainly due to the fact the DP World Tour and PGA Tour threatened to sanction their members. 

Westwood said: "With that in mind, if you're going to not sanction that tournament, do we really think the merger is going to go ahead?

"It doesn't seem to me like the kind of behaviour from two tours where they're trying to hold out an olive branch."

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