Q. You’re about to be the Ryder Cup captain for the second time, so this has been something you’ve been participating in for years now. Do you feel like you have enough energy mentally, physically to stay play at an elite level where you can win golf tournaments, or do you feel like you’ve moved into a new chapter of the career?
LUKE DONALD: I would say I’ve changed my expectation a little bit because I have this role that takes up a lot of time in the captaincy. I think as a competitor for so long, you still keep those expectations really high.
I’ve had to sort of rein those back a little bit, but in a way, sometimes lowering those helps you just kind of go and play and not have too much expectation and do fine.
I certainly have enough time to do both. I don’t think I’ll be playing quite as many tournaments this season as I did the last two seasons. I don’t think it’s necessary, plus my status on the PGA TOUR would require some invites. I’d rather play a little bit more next year leading up to New York than kind of burn through some potential invites that I might be given this year.
I want to play enough here, enough in the DP World Tour to keep an eye on some of the potential players and keep the communication and relationships going, but again, if I play 15 events this year instead of 25, that would probably be more likely.
Q. With Jon and Tyrrell being on LIV now, what have the conversations been like with the rest of the European team, and do you see them being a part of the team in Bethpage?
LUKE DONALD: Well, conversations. Again, this is my first week out. I haven’t seen too many of the guys. We still have a group WhatsApp chat, and we’re all participating in that chat that we created for Rome.
There’s nothing adverse or anything within that chat. Everyone understands each individual wants to do the best for themselves, and I don’t think anyone is judging Tyrrell or Jon’s decision.
Q. Do you see them on the team?
LUKE DONALD: Do I see them? It’s really hard for me to answer that question now. What I did so well in my captaincy last year was just control what I can control. We’re seven months out probably since qualification starts. We have all this talk about being potential deals with the PGA TOUR, with DP World Tour, with the PIF. I have no idea what’s going to happen, and for the next seven months, I don’t really need to know what’s going to happen because qualification for the Ryder Cup won’t start until then.
Q. How did you feel about Rory making it sound like it’s no big deal for those guys to be on the team?
LUKE DONALD: Well, again, Rory’s comment, he was a little inaccurate in terms of changing the rules for Jon to be a part of it because currently right now you have to be European and be a member of the DP World Tour. Jon, Tyrrell, as far as I know are still members of the European Tour and would be eligible. Nothing has changed there.
Even going back to last year, there was a couple guys playing on LIV that maintained their membership, and I kept an eye on everyone that was eligible for me to be able to pick. The guys that decided to resign their membership, yeah, at that point I couldn’t pick them, but at this moment those are the rules, and so far I’m sure Jon, I’m sure Tyrrell, they want to be a part of it, and they will hopefully adhere to whatever the rules are that allows them to play in the Ryder Cup.
Q. You already brought Edoardo back for next year. Do you envision a scenario where some of the LIV guys could be in the back room?
LUKE DONALD: It’s always a possibility. Again, I do think the vice captains that I had in place last year obviously were very much in touch with a lot of the players that were eligible. Again, the Sergios, the Lees, the Ians, those guys have a legacy and a history and part of the Ryder Cup. But again, it’s very hard to tell. A role of a vice captain is being around the players and having those relationships.
We didn’t have anyone on LIV in the 2023 Ryder Cup, so we’ll have to see whether those relationships are good enough.
Again, these are all questions that I don’t really need to make decisions on right now.
Q. How do you feel when some of your guys in the European team will pay for being in the Ryder Cup but then they go to LIV and put at risk that privilege?
LUKE DONALD: Yeah, Jon is someone who decided that was the best choice for him. A lot of guys have decided that going to LIV is the choice that they were comfortable with, and they thought it was, again, the right decision for them. I’m not here to judge that.
Sometimes there are consequences to those decisions. There’s been a lot of talks about the World Rankings and should LIV guys get it. Again, I think sometimes there are consequences to certain decisions, and I think a lot of these guys knew that going into it.
Again, I have a long way since qualification begins, seven months or so. A lot can happen with the game. It’s continuing to change. It’s continuing to evolve. We don’t know what’s going to happen over the next few months. Until I know, I’m not going to make any decisions.
Q. When you look back at 2012 at Medinah, what do you think made that team so special?
LUKE DONALD: Well, I think if you think about José María’s role as captain, he certainly talked a lot about Seve. Seve has always been kind of the legacy figure in the Ryder Cup that we kind of look up to, what it meant to him, how much he tried to inspire his teammates, how much history of the Ryder Cup was important.
Obviously with the passing of Seve a few months or I can’t remember the exact date, but a few months before that Ryder Cup, he was certainly a presence that we felt that was sort of guiding us a little bit.
It really helped, I think, on that Sunday. We didn’t have a lot of momentum the first couple days. We got a little bit of it Saturday evening. Going into Sunday, we had a positive thought that something good could happen. I’m sure Seve’s spirit and some of the conversations and stories and inspiration that José María kind of gave us inspired us to that comeback.