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Tiger Woods set for Ryder Cup struggles as Luke Donald and Europe make early move

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Luke Donald will captain Europe at the Ryder Cup for the second time in succession next year, with the Englishman already getting to work on his title defence

Luke Donald’s Ryder Cup preparations are in full swing for 2025, as the European captain and his assistant Edoardo Molinari took to the Bethpage Black course on Monday.

Donald is set to make history as the first Ryder Cup leader since Bernard Gallacher in 1995 to captain consecutive events, with the ex-world No. 1 returning to his role in the United States next Autumn.

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Last October, Donald led Europe to a triumphant victory on home turf, defeating their American counterparts 16.5-11.5 at Marco Simone.

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Despite his title defence being over a year away, the Englishman has already begun his Bethpage studies after playing the New York track alongside vice-captain Molinari.

In contrast, his American rivals have yet to even reveal their captain for next year’s event following a lacklustre performance in Italy.

Tiger Woods, who has participated in eight Ryder Cups throughout his career, winning 13 matches and losing 21, is widely expected to spearhead Team USA’s comeback on home soil. Following his return at last month’s Masters, Woods disclosed that he was in discussions with PGA of America chief Seth Waugh about captaining his country.

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The 15-time major champion revealed at Augusta National in April, stating: “It’s something that Seth and I are going to sit back and talk about it after this event. I said I’m going to be busy for a couple weeks, so let me focus on getting through this week and hopefully getting another jacket, and then we can sit back and talk about it next week.”

Four weeks have elapsed but an announcement regarding the captaincy remains pending, with Woods and the PGA of America maintaining their silence. Meanwhile, the expedition to Bethpage has supplemented the European team’s 2025 preparations, as Donald has already appointed two vice-captains.

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Accompanying Molinari is former Rome assistant and 2018 captain Thomas Bjorn, another one of Donald’s dependable aides. Bjorn’s reappointment was announced last month, evidencing a rich history of Ryder Cup involvement both on-course and off.

Donald expressed his excitement over Bjorn’s reappearance within the team, saying: “I am very excited to have Thomas back on the team – once I was appointed as captain again, my thoughts quickly went to who I wanted to have in the backroom staff.

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“And Thomas certainly was one of those. He means a lot to me. He’s passed on his knowledge and I’ve had a great relationship with him over the last few years.

“To have those relationships, to enjoy the people you’re spending time with along that journey is really important.”

With a focus set on the Ryder Cup, Donald and his team are setting their sights on their first victory away from home since 2012 when Jose Maria Olazabal’s side gloriously took the title during the Miracle at Medinah.

 

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