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Europe Ryder Cup captain's picks

Meronk out, Hojgaard in… Luke Donald announces Team Europe captain’s picks for Ryder Cup

Luke Donald has selected his six captain’s picks for Team Europe. But who are they?

 

A week on from seeing Zach Johnson make his selections for Team USA, Team Europe captain Luke Donald has made his six captain’s picks for the biennial team event.

Donald had a plethora of talent to choose from for his six picks, after seeing Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm, Tyrrell Hatton, Viktor Hovland, Matt Fitzpatrick and Robert MacIntyre all make the team as automatic qualifiers.

“We had so many opportunities with certain guys playing so well,” Donald said. “It is amazing to witness that and see how much that these guys want to be a part of this team.”

There were some big questions ahead of these selections, with eight or nine names in contention ahead of the final six being chosen.

Who did Luke Donald select as his Europe Ryder Cup captain’s picks?

The six men that Team Europe captain Luke Donald selected are:

Ludvig Aberg
Tommy Fleetwood
Nicolai Hojgaard
Shane Lowry
Justin Rose
Sepp Straka

Tommy Fleetwood will make his third consecutive appearance in the Ryder Cup when he plays at Marco Simone. The Englishman was one half of that incredible partnership with Francesco Molinari in Paris, and he will be hoping for the same sort of output on home soil this time round.

He won the Nedbank Golf Challenge in November of last year, and although he is still yet to win on the PGA Tour, Fleetwood has been a consistent performer all season. He also finished inside the top ten at both the US Open and the Open Championship.

It hasn’t been the best of years for Shane Lowry but his passion and fire for Team Europe is exactly what captain Luke Donald is looking for in his 12-man squad.

Lowry’s last victory came at the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth twelve months ago but he did finish inside the top 20 in three of this season’s four major championships. He will make his second appearance in the Ryder Cup, and his first on European soil after a debut at Whistling Straits in 2021.

Justin Rose made his way back into the winners’ circle for the first time in four years in 2023. He was victorious at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am in February and followed it up with a top ten finish at the PGA Championship.

He was unable to make it through to the Tour Championship despite battling on the final day at Olympia Fields. However, Rose’s Ryder Cup experience will be vital for Team Europe in Rome. This will be his sixth appearance in the competition, and his first since Paris in 2018.

Arguably the most talked about selection for the European team over the last month has been Sweden’s Ludvig Aberg. He was the top-ranked amateur in the world in June before turning professional, and has had an astonishing rise.

Aberg won the Omega European Masters on Sunday, his first DP World Tour title in just his sixth appearance. Despite only being 23-years-old, the Swede catapulted himself into contention with his recent performances. He will be one of several debutants in the European team in Rome.

Another of those making their first Ryder Cup appearance will be Sepp Straka. The Austrian has had a breakout season across both the PGA Tour and DP World Tour, winning the John Deere Classic. He also finished inside the top ten at two majors, including a runners-up finish at the Open Championship, his best in a major to date. Straka will become just the second Austrian to feature in this competition, following Bernd Wiesberger’s debut in 2021.

The last spot in Luke Donald’s Ryder Cup team was awarded to Nicolai Hojgaard. The Dane has two DP World Tour titles already at the age of just 22, and has finished in the top six in three of his last four events. He will become the fourth Danish player to feature in the Ryder Cup, after Thomas Bjorn, Soren Hansen and Thorbjorn Olesen.

Donald’s picks meant there was no place in Europe’s team for Adrian Meronk – despite his winning at Marco Simone earlier in the year and currently holding down a top three spot in the Race to Dubai rankings.

What are your thoughts on Luke Donald’s Europe Ryder Cup captain’s picks? Can the Europeans win back the trophy? Let us know with a Tweet!

Matt Coles

Matt Coles

Mention a European country, and Matt will tell you which resorts make the National Club Golfer Top 100s: European Resorts list. He might even throw in who designed the golf course and how many rooms the hotel has got at each one…

Matt got into the game of golf from a young age, following his old man to the local golf club. He fell for the sport, and now can’t seem to go a day without thinking about how to improve his game (Thanks Dad!). Matt has been a member of Howley Hall GC in Leeds since 2020, and is just about managing to maintain a single-figure handicap. He likes to remind people that he once broke 75, but won’t tell people that it was on a shortened course during the winter.

He moved to Leeds after graduating from the University of Central Lancashire with a First Class Honours degree in Sports Journalism. Matt joined NCG after almost five years travelling the world with the Professional Squash Association, working on events in all four corners of the globe.

Matt currently plays a Cobra King LTDx driver and RadSpeed 3-wood. TaylorMade monopolise the rest of his bag, with a SIM UDI, M5 irons and both Milled Grind and HI-TOE wedges, along with a Monza Redline putter. He uses a Vice Pro Plus golf ball, because he’s a bit different…

Away from golf, Matt is a Manchester United fan, and a keen runner, having ran the Rob Burrow Leeds Marathon (his first and possibly last), in May 2023.

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