Try and find fault in Luke Donald’s Ryder Cup captaincy……
It’s not easy, is it!
He turned out to be a 10 out of 10 performer – the Ryder Cup equivalent of Catriona Matthew.
Even in an impressive comeback draw for Team Europe in the Solheim Cup, you could pick holes in the job Suzann Pettersen did.
With Luke, I genuinely can’t think of one misstep.
Even Scots like me might have been thinking that putting Bob MacIntyre back out for a second four ball match wasn’t wise given he had struggled in his half with Justin Rose the day before.
But he proved us wrong.
And, let’s not forget, as I wrote in last week’s column, flipping the order of the foursomes and four balls was a huge gamble.
More people were against it than for it that I could see.
But it set the tone for the week.
— Ryder Cup Europe (@RyderCupEurope) October 2, 2023
It’s a totally different job captaining home and away but it’s absolutely a no-brainer to ask Luke to have another shot.
He’ll have no input on the course set-up this time but he and his vice-captains will know exactly the type of players they need to pick to suit Beth Page.
And all the basic leadership qualities will still apply.
Luke has those in spades – inspirational and forensic is such a powerful combination.
The fact that Sergio Garcia, Lee Westwood and Ian Poulter are now outside the tent makes the Luke appointment even more likely.
There isn’t the same queue of Ryder Cup legends waiting in line.
Even if there was, though, this is the time to break that ‘one shot only’ routine.
Something big has to happen to break the cycle of home victories.
And, from a European perspective, that starts with giving the captaincy to someone who the world now knows is very, very good at it.
Full marks if you’ve kept up with the Rugby World Cup!
It does seem like it’s gone on forever and we’re not even through the group stage yet.
The organisers will have to look at the structure of the tournament because the momentum you get at an Olympics or a football World Cup just isn’t there.
I’m sure the viewing figures will be huge for Scotland v Ireland though.
It’s brutally tough that even just winning the game won’t be enough.
As a junior I played tournaments knowing that the scoreline or the number of ends it took you to win could come into play.
But it has never happened at major events. Nor would I have wanted it to!
— ITV Rugby (@ITVRugby) October 4, 2023
I don’t think Gregor Townsend will complicate things with the messages he sends out before the game.
Getting themselves into a winning position is the focus for Scotland.
Half-time is the point to adjust and starting thinking about taking bigger risks, if a bigger victory is achievable.
Then during the second half, I’d be involving the key decision-makers on the pitch like the captain and Finn Russell on strategy changes but keeping things as simple as possible for the rest.
To actually be in a position where quarter-final qualification is attainable against the number one team in the world would be an achievement in itself.