Following their heavy defeat at Whistling Straits last year, the European Ryder Cup team have been searching for the ideal person to captain the side in 2023.
The showpiece event will take place at the Marco Simone Gold Club in Rome – with Italy hosting the tournament for the first time in its history.
Having suffered such a painful defeat at the hands of the Americans in 2021, plenty of questions have been asked about the way in which the European team are currently approaching things.
One of the key areas of concern within the side is the relative void between the ‘old guard’, who have been responsible for some of Europe’s most incredible wins in recent years and the ‘young guns’ who are coming through the ranks but perhaps don’t have the experience required at the very top level.
Subsequently, whoever is given the captain’s armband in Rome in 2023 will have to be a captain capable of working with all ages in his squad and recognising the need to pick the best player(s) available to him at the time.
2021 captain Padraig Harrington won nothing but plaudits of his approach at Whistling Straits, but his side ultimately fell short when it mattered, something they will be keen to avoid at home in 2023.
Whoever is given the role will have their work cut out somewhat, with the likes of Collin Morikawa, Dustin Johnson, Justin Thomas, and Brooks Koepka all likely to still be at the peak of their powers for the American side in September 2023.
Here are the front runners to become the European Ryder Cup captain in Italy next September:
With a whole host of testimonies from some of the biggest names in European golf, Luke Donald looks to be in the hot seat currently to lead the side in 2023.
The Englishman never managed to win a major but was the world’s number one golfer and his Ryder Cup record is second to none for Europe.
At 1.50, Donald, is the current favourite to be leading the troops in Rome, with his playing aspirations seemingly now gone and his calm and positive demeanour could have a good effect on his potentially youthful team.
Ryder Cup hero Lee Westwood has spoken previously of his aspirations to lead the European side in Italy in 2023 but with his playing game still in check, he has more than a chance of making the side as a player.
Westwood’s chance will surely come again and subsequently, he looks a significantly longer shot (according to UK bookmakers) at 4.50 odds (and with a bonus offer by bet365) to lead the side in 2023.
Swedish former world number 1 Henrik Stenson has also been vocal in his interest in becoming the European Ryder Cup captain and he has been roundly praised for the role he carried out as vice-captain under Padraig Harrington in 2021.
As one of Europe’s most successful players over the past decade, Stenson certainly has the credentials to lead the side and his experience could prove invaluable if Europe were to appoint him as captain.
Currently, the wave of popular opinion is in Donald’s favour, but Stenson cannot be ruled out at 2.75 to lead the European side at the 2023 Ryder Cup.
Fellow Swede Robert Karlsson is another name being thrown into the mix, with his knowledge of the game and experience at the top level making him an outstanding candidate.
He too assisted Harrington last time out and won plenty of plaudits, but it could be a case of the opposition being too strong and at 8.00, Karlsson is very much the outsider in the race to become European captain in 2023.