Donald will feature in this week's Tour Championship at East Lake in Atlanta before joining up with the European side at Medinah. And the former world No1 believes Olazábal is the ideal man to oversee their efforts to retain the Ryder Cup.
"He always comes to mind when you think of the Ryder Cup, from a European standpoint," Donald said. "So much passion, so much of that Spanish flair. Obviously his pairing with Seve Ballesteros was probably one of the greatest pairings in Ryder Cup history. There was just an amazing flair for getting it done – short game wizards those two were. Ollie will bring a lot of passion to this Ryder Cup. Just seeing him a couple of years ago at Celtic Manor, he came in late as an assistant captain, and really brought a lot to it and said some really good things in the team room. He knows what it's all about, he'll be very prepared."
Donald has more cause than most to eagerly anticipate a meeting with the USA at Medinah. The 34-year-old's golf scholarship was at the Chicago-based Northwestern University, with Donald retaining a strong affinity for the area. "I have a lot of history there, I've spent 15 years there, met my wife there, had four great years at college, which really set me up well for being a professional," Donald explained.
"I've travelled around so many different cities in the US, playing golf all around America, and I always come back to this place [Chicago] as my favourite city.
"It has great food, great people, a lot to do, it's a little bit like New York but a little bit more manageable, cleaner, and I think friendlier people, so I enjoy Chicago a lot. It has a lot to offer – great sports city, restaurants, fine dining, a lot of culture, great art museums – it has everything and, apart from the cold winters, it's a pretty good place.
"I played the US PGA at Medinah [in 2006], had a great PGA. I was paired with Tiger [Woods] last round on Sunday and got so much valuable experience from that. It's a course that I know I can play well around, and I'm excited about the prospect of it not just being in Chicago but Medinah, a place that I am familiar with."
More negative coverage – and current fears – have surrounded the behaviour of USA supporters when the Ryder Cup takes place on that side of the Atlantic. As the scale of the event has intensified in recent times, so too has the tendency for over-the-top antics in the galleries.
"It will be extremely raucous but I think every Ryder Cup is," said Donald, in an interview which will be screened in full on Monday night on Sky Sports News. "I've played in three Ryder Cups and I think this is the biggest city, in terms of the location, and that will make it a little bit more fun. The [USA] fans will get behind this Ryder Cup and it will make it tough for the European side as they will be cheering hard. But they're a fair crowd and hopefully they will respect both teams.
"The home team's biggest advantage is the crowd support, and if we can take that away a little bit, not just through my relationship with Chicago but also by playing well, that will be a benefit for us."
Donald's versatility is highlighted by the pairings for the 2010 Ryder Cup. At Celtic Manor he partnered Padraig Harrington, Ian Poulter and Lee Westwood at various stages of Europe's win.
"The only one I missed, through my wrist injury, was at Valhalla , and obviously it didn't turn out too well for the Euros. But I feel like I'm an easy guy to pair up with other people, and in that way it makes me a good person to be in the Ryder Cup," the Englishman added.
"I have that consistent game where I can pair up with different people with different characteristics in their games. I'm looking forward to it, I have a great record in the Ryder Cup. I love the passion that comes with it and I love representing my country and the honour behind that. I've had a great record and been on three winning teams, so hopefully that train continues.
"I've always had good team-mates and partners. I played with Sergio García [in 2006] and we were 4 and 0; we had a great relationship on and off the course and that's important in partnerships. I played with Lee Westwood and his game speaks for itself. Lee's a little bit like myself, we don't make too many mistakes, were in at the hole the whole time and that's a big advantage when it comes to Ryder Cups.
"To be able to continually put pressure on your opponent, that is what makes for a good strategy if you want to have a Ryder Cup and, individual record aside, the most important thing is to get the team victory."
guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010
image: © Keith Allison