Following a record defeat at Whistling Straits two years ago, the threat of a repeat to the United States in Rome did not look unthinkable.
But now Donald’s side has three of the top four players in the world, a raft of others are hitting form at just the right time and golf’s newest upstart is Ludvig Aberg, whose captain called him a “generational talent” when announcing his wildcard picks.
Despite the obvious shift in recent months, Donald warned: “We are coming off the worst loss we’ve ever had and the Americans are going to be betting favourites. We will never underestimate the Americans. They are very strong, so our hands are full but I certainly feel pretty good.
“We’ve been trending quite nicely. They are playing well and I like our team make-up. We have some superstars, we have a lovely core of great players and then we have some youngsters with huge potential. The future is bright and kind of anything’s possible with these guys.”
Donald had been talked about as the initial favourite for the captaincy role before it was given to Stenson in a surprise twist.
That he should only get it at the second time of asking, the Briton insisted there was no bitterness despite being disappointed by the initial snub.
Of his role as skipper, he said: “I got given the second opportunity and I plan to make the most of it. When I got the call, there’s a mixture of excitement and, ‘Wow, can I do this, am I ready, can I suddenly be the captain at this age? I was 44.”