Ryder Cup Europe captain Luke Donald refuses to rule out Liv Golf’s player selection – and Henrik Stenson

Luke Donald has admitted he could have players from the Saudi rebel circuit in his Ryder Cup squad next year – including his sacked predecessor Henrik Stenson.

Donald, 44, was officially named Europe 2023 captain on Monday for next year’s game, replacing Stenson, who was let go last week after breaking contract by signing up for the circuit financed by Saudi Arabia.

Stenson won on his Liv Golf debut in New Jersey on Sunday, collecting £3.65m to add to his £40m signing fee. Lee Westwood and Ian Poulter said it would be a mistake if he wasn’t allowed to play his way. on Donald’s side in Rome.

After Telegraph Sport exclusively revealed last week that the former world No.1 would step up to lead the campaign to reclaim the trophy next September, Donald did not pull his punches, saying: “I will not make a Henrik” and promising, unlike Stenson, “I will keep my word”.

Yet, while repeating his unconditional allegiance – “I guarantee you I will stick to what I have agreed upon and be here for 14 months” – Donald was instead more circumspect about Stenson, saying his aim was to create the “strongest” team possible. to tackle Zach Johnson’s Americans, who will be looking to win away for the first time in 30 years.

Donald left the door open acknowledging that with an ongoing court case, it remains to be seen if this included the players who defected to Liv. Stenson has indicated he will take legal action if he is treated differently to anyone on Liv’s roster and with Ian Poulter winning an 11th judgment last month to overturn a suspension and play at the Scottish Open, this turns into a legal nightmare. at Wentworth HQ.

“Part of being captain is creating a strong, unified 12-man team, and I’ll be working on that over the next 14 months,” Donald said. “I’m not really here to talk about Liv and whether or not they’ll be eligible. I hope that we will have clarification on this situation and that we can start making decisions. There is an ongoing legal situation. But I don’t think this situation will be resolved any time soon. »

Mary I. Bruner