News All Articles
Captain Luke Donald reveals the importance of playing events while keeping an eye on Ryder Cup hopefuls

Captain Luke Donald reveals the importance of playing events while keeping an eye on Ryder Cup hopefuls

With less than two weeks left of European Ryder Cup Qualification, Captain Luke Donald says it has been important for him to play on the DP World Tour in order to keep up communication and judge how players are truly doing.

Since the BMW PGA Championship last year – the first event of Ryder Cup Qualifying – European Captain Luke Donald has made his presence felt on the DP World Tour.

From the DS Automobiles Italian Open to events such as the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, Hero Dubai Desert Classic, Genesis Scottish Open and this week’s D+D REAL Czech Masters, Donald has made it a priority to compete among the players vying for a spot in his team at Marco Simone Golf and Country Club this September.

It has been a deliberate move by Donald, who said he has been motivated by trying to get to know players that could be on his team, but also by the chance to see how they perform on courses he can see and experience for himself.

“It's been a busy job sure, in the last year, but I've really tried to enjoy it," said Donald.

"I think just such a great honour and it's getting very close now, isn't it? So it's becoming crunch time and it's great to be here in Prague and we see a lot of the guys that are on my radar playing so well, they're playing very well now

“I've wanted to play as much as I can. I think it really helps me understand how the courses are played. I can really judge how the other players are playing because of that, rather than just being at home and looking at Shot Link and the apps to see how the players are doing. It's really important.

“Obviously as a competitor, I want to come out and play as well individually, but to be around the players, to talk with them, to keep the communication up, I think is pretty important in the role that I have.”

Admittedly a natural introvert, Donald says that the whole experience – including spending time getting to know all the players – has

“I've played four times in Ryder Cups in four very, very different captains. So I think you pick little bits that you like from each one, but for me, I'm just trying to be myself. I'm just trying to be authentic. I think that's how the players react more positively to you. You're not trying to be somebody you're not.

“So I think I've had to come out my shell a little bit and be a little bit more extrovert, more of an introvert at nature. But it's been fun. As I said, I've really, really enjoyed the journey.”

Where do the Ryder Cup hopefuls stand?

Donald narrowly missed a final-hole birdie putt to make the weekend, but spent the first two days of competition alongside Robert MacIntyre - currently occupying the final spot on the European Points List - and Alexander Björk, who holds lead after 36 holes in the Czech Republic on 13 under par.

Both players produced world class shots throughout their first two rounds, but it was Björk who made a particularly big statement in front of the Captain with less than two week's until Donald names his six Captain's picks on the 4th of September. MacIntyre did manage to get to nine under par, but a quadruple bogey on the par three 16th derailed the latter part of his round, and he will begin his weekend eight shots behind on five under.

And while MacIntyre might be holding the automatic qualifying spot at the moment, there are still 13 other players with a varying degree of chance - including Björk - who could displace him on the European Points List and the end of the two weeks.

Others, including Nicolai Hojgaard and Ludvig Aberg, are relying on a Captain's pick, and both players did their best to impress in a pairing with Vice Captain Francesco Molinari. Højgaard set the early clubhouse target on day two on 12 under, while Aberg carded a second-round 66 to sit two behind him on ten under.

Three shots behind them are the trio of Yannik Paul, Adrian Meronk and Victor Perez, all of whom have been in the Ryder Cup conversation throughout the year and have a mathematical chance of moving into that third spot at the end of this week.

And while most European Ryder Cup hopefuls are here for the weekend, one player that won't be is Shane Lowry, who posted back-to-back rounds of 71 to miss the cut by two.

Read next