As Pádraig Harrington steps down, who will step up to be the next Ryder Cup captain for the European team?
Harrington, who made his Ryder Cup debut back in 1999, captained the team at the tournament at Whistling Straits in Wisconsin last year.
Now, it’s time for him to hand over the captaincy, but no one knows who will take up the mantle just yet.
Harrington’s successor, who will lead the team at the 2023 tournament in Rome, is expected to be announced in the coming weeks.
In the meantime, we’re taking a look at a few of the current contenders.
England’s Luke Donald has expressed interest in the position, and has received an endorsement from Harrington, who has expressed his belief that his 44-year-old former assistant Donald “would be great” for the position.
The former world number one has been part of the team at four Ryder Cups between 2004 and 2012, and has finished on the winning side in everyone, making him one of Europe’s most reliable performers at the biannual tournament.
Swedish player Henrik Stenson has made no less than five appearances as part of the Ryder Cup European team, between 2006 and 2018, helping the team to take a victory in 2018 at Le Golf National.
He has also been racking up relevant experience, serving as one of Harrington’s assistants in Wisconsin in 2021.
The 45-year-old has an impressive track record, playing on both the PGA and European Tours.
Stenson is currently the only Swedish male player to have won both a major and a WGC title.
Another Swede who could possibly be a contender is Robert Karlsson, who has also played in two Ryder Cup tournaments, in 2006 and 2008, and was vice-captain of the winning team in 2018, and again in 2021.
When Harrington picked Karlsson as his second in command for the 2021 tournament, he described the choice as a “no-brainer” due to the 52-year-old’s dedication and contribution during the 2018 event.
Northern Ireland player McDowell could also be in the running, having played in four Ryder Cups and served as vice-captain for the last two European sides.
McDowell is a regular on both the PGA Tour and European Tour, and is known for winning the 2010 US Open at Pebble Beach, to end a 40-year run of bad luck for Europeans at the tournament.
However, it has been reported that McDowell is more focused on playing at this point, and would prefer to put his energy into that, rather than captaincy.
What about Lee Westwood?
While England’s Lee Westwood has been much discussed as a possible captain, and was initially the favorite to take over for the 2023 event, he has now also declared his intention to continue playing and has taken himself out of consideration for the captaincy.
The 2023 Ryder Cup will take place at the Marco Simone Golf and Country Club in Italy from September 29 to October 1.