LONDON – Europe Ryder Cup captain Luke Donald on Monday picked Major winners Justin Rose and Shane Lowry, plus rising star Ludvig Aberg, among his six wild cards for the tournament in Rome.
His other selections for the event against the United States are Tommy Fleetwood, Sepp Straka and Nicolai Hojgaard.
Austrian Straka, 30, is a two-time winner on the PGA Tour with top-10 finishes this season at the PGA Championship (T7) and The Open Championship (T2).
Dane Hojgaard, 22, is a two-time winner on the European Tour and currently No. 78 in the Official World Golf Ranking.
Poland’s Adrian Meronk, winner of the 2023 Italian Open at Marco Simone, was the most notable omission from the European roster.
The six players join automatic qualifiers Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm, Matt Fitzpatrick, Viktor Hovland, Tyrrell Hatton and Robert MacIntyre in Donald’s team, which will attempt to regain the trophy at Marco Simone Golf and Country Club from Sept 29 to Oct 1.
Former world No. 1 amateur Aberg turned pro only in June, but won the last qualifying event in Switzerland on Sunday with a final-round 64 at Crans-sur-Sierre.
The 23-year-old Swede has made the quickest transition from the amateur ranks to the Ryder Cup in history, eclipsing the previous record set by Sergio Garcia, who made his debut in September 1999 after turning professional following that April’s Masters.
“We have great depth of talent in Europe, and that is perfectly illustrated with the team we now have confirmed for Rome, which is a strong blend of players with previous Ryder Cup experience combined with exciting and talented rookies,” said Donald.
“I’m really pleased to have this team now in place and we are all looking forward to going to Rome later this month and trying to win back the Ryder Cup.”
Speaking about Aberg, the Europe skipper said: “We obviously knew what he was doing in the college scene. You look at what he did in those four years and the only comparables really were Viktor Hovland and Jon Rahm. He is that good.”
The United States have not lifted the trophy on European soil since 1993 but will arrive in Italy as favourites, with three of the 2023 Major champions, including LIV star Brooks Koepka, alongside world No. 1 Scottie Scheffler. AFP, REUTERS
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