- Luke Donald claims Michael Jordan thinks Europe will win Ryder Cup this week
- The two have been friends since the 1990s and live close to each other in Florida.
- DailyMail.com provides all the latest international sports news
Luke Donald and Michael Jordan may seem like an unlikely friendship, but it could be just the partnership that helps Europe’s Ryder Cup captains to victory this weekend.
Donald and Jordan were friends and neighbors in the same secluded area of Jupiter, Florida—there was a house between the golfer and Jordan. They went on vacation together. Jordan’s wife, Yvette, is friends with Donald’s other half, Diana.
They first met on a golf course in the late 1990s. Jordan is still playing but in the twilight of his career, while Donald has just hit the road to play in Rome this weekend.
Donald said it was a case of opposites attracting.
“I didn’t expect what a superstar he was. I guess I liked my quietness and my quiet pride; we played a lot of golf together, went on vacations together a lot,” Donald told The Times in 2020. Diane and I have been here for dinner many times, Michael and Yvette have been here many times, and our wives have been here many times. “Become close friends.
“I enjoyed Michael’s company, he was very smart and good at talking about anything.”
For avid fans like Jordan, everything means golf. Donald revealed how the six-time NBA champion gave him advice in 2011 on becoming the world’s number one golfer.
“I was trying desperately and feeling a little overwhelmed,” Donald said. “He told me one year he thought he had to average 32 points a game for the (Chicago) Bulls to win the NBA championship, which seemed pretty difficult. He said to me, ‘I didn’t expect 32 points a game. The one that comes to mind is eight points per quarter. That’s an achievable goal. So Luke, you have to break down the challenge into achievable goals. I did that, and it worked.
Now, that might give us an idea of how Donald will cope once the game in Rome begins. But Europe’s leaders have been confident in their preparations, even surprising the preparations from the start of the foursomes match.
“Statistically, we feel as a team we’re stronger in four-ball than four-ball. Why not start fast?” Donald, 45, said this week.
But for Britons, fighting rhetoric hasn’t always come easily. Ten years ago, Donald looked to Jordan for guidance after a rough start to the 2013 season.
“He’s good for the mind,” Donald said of Jordan, via The Daily Telegraph . “It’s great to be able to read Michael’s mind and understand what he’s thinking when he’s playing basketball. He’s always trying to play mind games and he doesn’t like losing.”
Donald and Jordan both love golf, but they also enjoy fishing together in their spare time.
Donald had shared a birthday message to Jordan on Instagram, showing the two on a boat at sea, with the caption: “Happy birthday goat.”
“He is the most competitive person I know and always finds a way to win no matter what he does. He is also one of the kindest, most genuine people I have ever met.
“He inspired millions of people, myself included, and I’m lucky to be associated with this legend. Happy birthday Jordan.”
In 2018, Donald told the European Tour’s “Life on Tour” podcast that fishing was starting to replace golf as Jordan’s main hobby.
“I think he got a little tired of golf! So we used to go fishing,” he said. “But I’ll give him 10 shots when he comes in. He knows how to play, he knows how to score. Very good short game, he can get up from nowhere.”
Jordan, for his part, is notoriously private, but the fact that he’s happy to take photos with Donald when he’s out and about shows just how comfortable they are in each other’s company.
The 60-year-old recently sold his majority stake in NBA team Charlotte Hornets for $3 billion, giving him plenty of time to play golf.
Jordan recently vacationed in Italy with his wife Yvette, but he won’t be there to watch the action this weekend. He has appeared in several other Ryder Cup events over the years.
Jordan owns his own golf course – Grove XXIII – and has a strict membership policy. In 2020, there were only 75 members, and Donald was one of them.
“For Michael, it was a personal thing, not a business thing. He told me if he could break even, that would be great,” Donald said. It’s unlike most courses in Florida, Not too many trees, giving it a rolling prairie feel. Amazing practice facilities and a very relaxed atmosphere.
Michael said he wanted a golf club without too many rules. As far as I know, no. And you won’t be hindered by four balls in front of you. “
Donald said this week that Jordan predicted he would win the Ryder Cup with Europe. If Jordan’s prediction is correct, Donald might be able to show off his victory with a trophy to his friends and a select few.