News All Articles
Captain Donald happy to be back competing for first time since Ryder Cup

Captain Donald happy to be back competing for first time since Ryder Cup

Luke Donald says he continues to relish competing against some of the young stars of the game at the age of 46 as he makes his return to competitive action for the first time since captaining Team Europe to Ryder Cup success last year.

The former World Number One, who has since been announced as Europe’s first repeat Captain since Bernhard Gallacher, joins Ryder Cup stars Rory McIlroy, Tommy Fleetwood and Nicolai Højgaard in teeing it up at the Dubai Invitational.

Donald, a seven-time winner on the DP World Tour, has not played since the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth Club in September, shortly before he led Team Europe to a 16½ - 11½ victory against the United States in Rome.

Ahead of taking part in the first event of the DP World Tour’s International Swing, he said: “I turned 46 years old in December, so you feel the body doesn't work quite as well.

"But I still enjoy coming out and competing and trying my best against some of these great young players.

“It's not easy but I love competing.

The Dubai Invitational will see a 72-hole strokeplay DP World Tour tournament played concurrently with a three-day team Pro-Am, with Sunday featuring professionals only.

Having turned professional in 2001, preparation ahead of a new season has evolved as he has got older, but he is confident he will be able to put together a good performance.

“I have to be a little bit more efficient because it's just the way my body is,” he explained.

“I just can't grind out there six, seven hours a day. So, I try to be a bit more efficient with my time. But [still] do enough where I feel like I'm sharp and I'm ready to compete.

“Again, I feel like most parts of my game just need a little bit of work here and there, and the rest kind of takes care of itself.”

Donald has been coming to Dubai since his teenage years as an amateur and is glad to be back in the Emirate as Dubai Creek Resort makes its return to the DP World Tour schedule for the first time since it hosted the Hero Dubai Desert Classic in 2000.

“The course is in beautiful condition,” he added. “It’s a nice, very straightforward golf course. Not too many tricks to it. A little bit of water in play.

“I do think in the wind stays down you're going to have to make quite a few birdies. It's certainly not too long. It's not too challenging. But you know, if the wind gets up, then it will be a different story.

“But look for some lower scores, I think.”

Despite this week marking his return to competitive action, Donald has already begun thinking of how he is going to try to lead Team Europe to Ryder Cup success on the road at the 2025 Ryder Cup at Bethpage Black in New York.

Ryder Cup Team Europe 2023
Donald captained Team Europe to a 16½ - 11½ victory against the United States in the 2023 Ryder Cup at Marco Simone Golf and Country Club in Rome

“It's going to be a very different challenge and it will take some different approaches because of that,” he said.

“But I'm excited because it is going to be a lot more difficult, a lot more difficult away from home.

“But I've got plenty of time to kind of work some things out and start thinking about things.

“I'm still optimistic that I can give the guys a good opportunity to try and win away, which is not easy to do.”

Read next