This feels like an early victory for Europe. Longtime U.S. Ryder Cup cheerleader Michael Jordan is confident Luke Donald’s side will win in Rome next Sunday. Jordan’s neighbor, Donald, has had dinner with the NBA icon in recent weeks. “I think the Europeans are going to win,” Donald said. “Take whatever you want from that person.
“He’s a good friend. He’s going to be very supportive of me having a great experience. “I think ultimately he wants the United States to win. ” Jordan’s faith, however, was in Europe.
Donald was too shrewd to take Jordan’s confidence as proof of a simple task. The U.S. embarrassed European golf two years ago with a 19-9 record in Wisconsin. It allows for the theory that the team now led by Zach Johnson will dominate for a decade or more.
“I don’t think about failure,” Donald insisted. “You prepare as best you can, you go out and do what you can do and hopefully the win will take care of itself. I’m a big fan of controlling the things you can control, the process and all that kind of stuff, and the results will take care of themselves. occur.
“I’ve been in this role for 14 months but it’s a two-year process. I was at Whistling Straits on Sunday night with Paul McGinley to discuss things that needed to change. “We’re very well prepared, We are fully prepared. “
It’s easy to forget that Donald was initially overlooked for this article. Henrik Stenson is the captain of the European team in 2023 before the Swedish LIV league asked for a Plan B. Donald kept his advice to himself when Stenson was appointed, instead of shouting. “It’s not my style to go that route,” he said. “I’m disappointed. That’s water under the bridge. I’ve been given a second chance and I plan to make the most of it.
“I got the call and was excited and had a ‘Wow, can I do this?’ feeling.” Am I ready? “
Donald was helped by the Ryder Cup template that served Europe well. His focus on the trade – the former world number one is a serial scorer – endeared him to the captaincy figure of Bernhard Langer. Donald made his debut under the Germans in 2004, when Europe defeated the United States in Oakland Hills.
“I often wake up in the middle of the night with a lot on my mind,” Donald said. “Do I remember this? Am I doing this right? There’s a lot to it.
“Bernhard has done a fantastic job. We all feel very comfortable, especially as a guy playing for him. I know my position, I know what I need to do. I know my role.
“Going back to my tenure as captain, it was clear that consistency was important. Communicating well, being open to feedback, and knowing that you don’t know everything. Learn from others. Those are the qualities of a captain that I’ve always tried to embody.”
Donald also exudes confidence. “We’ve got some superstars. We’ve got a core of good players, and we’ve got some young guys. The future is bright. Anything is possible for these guys. But having said that, we’re coming off the worst ever season. loss, and Team USA will be the betting favorite.
“We have a tough task ahead of us. We will never underestimate the Americans. They are very strong and have some good partnerships, winning partnerships. Their partnership win rate is 85, 90 per cent, which is It’s unheard of.
“You can go on and on about how strong they are and that shows in their world rankings. But I’m pretty confident in our team. The Monday after Whistling Straits; that’s when we got together. , and started trying to formulate a plan on how to get revenge for what happened.”
Donald’s predecessor, Pádraig Harrington, called him a “bigot”. The word made Donald, who has kept a low profile throughout his career, smile. “You have to have some ruthlessness,” he said.
“I’m a very detail-oriented person. I like to write things down. I like to think things through. I’m not the kind of person to wing it. There has to be a plan in place. There have to be steps. How are we going to get there? ?
If this all sounds exhausting, it is. “It’s stressful,” Donald admits. “But I think that’s the case with any significant leadership role. You have a lot of responsibilities. It’s a big deal. So that’s the way it should be, and that’s fine.”
The Oakland Hills stand out as a road Ryder Cup team with a win. The United States has not had the upper hand in Europe since 1993. This feels like more than a coincidence. “I thought we performed really well against teams that were at a disadvantage compared to the teams we were going to go to Rome with,” Donald said. “Obviously, the unity we can build is important.”
No matter what happens on Friday, Donald will leave nothing to chance. -guardian