Captain Donald lays down a challenge for European youngsters

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Luke Donald - Getty Images

Luke Donald believes Europe’s up-and-coming golfers have an incredible chance to create a lasting Ryder Cup legacy starting in Rome 2023.

Donald was speaking ahead of this week’s Italian Open which is being played at next year’s host Marco Simone Golf Club.

The Englishman replaced Henrik Stenson as Captain after the Swede joined the Saudi-backed LIV Golf Series and after qualifying officially began at last week’s BMW PGA, Donald was delighted with how a number of his charges performed at Wentworth, while he’s hoping a number of young players will put their hands up for selection this week in Italy.

“I think there’s an opportunity every year for young players to come through and make the team,” Donald said. “It would be my goal and an opportunity to try and make it clear how big of an event the Ryder Cup is.

“I think my first Ryder Cup back in 2004, I understood it was a big event but once I got to play it, I didn’t really understand the enormity of it; the impact it has on golf, impact it has on encouraging a new generation of players to take up the game, to create history.

“It’s an event like nothing that we play week-in, week-out because we come together as a team and put our individual assets to the side and come together to create something that’s bigger than just ourselves. That will be my message to some of the young players who see a great opportunity to create that legacy.

“Obviously, I have got to play with a few the last few weeks. I get to play with Guido Migliozzi tomorrow [Thursday] and Adrian Meronk, another guy that just won. I’m excited to see their games but I’ll be keeping my eye on some of the younger, exciting talent to try to make this team.”

Donald’s Vice-Captain, Edoardo Molinari believes anyone showing course form this week in Rome will be looked at in a different light come selection time next year, with six Captain’s picks at Donald’s disposal for 2023.

“You know, what kind of players tend to play well off certain tees in certain conditions, and then we are just going to make our mind up after this week and decide exactly what setup we want for next year,” said Molinari.

“I think anyone playing well this week will obviously be seen under a different light in a year’s time. Obviously, still a very long way to go. Everyone will have to play very well to make the team or get a pick, but I think playing well this week would be no harm to anyone and will actually be quite good.”

With the Hojgaard twins one and two on the leaderboard at the time of writing, Team Europe could hardly have asked for a more encouraging start.

  • Full Italian Open scoring HERE

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