Europe captain Luke Donald has selected Tommy Fleetwood, Sepp Straka, Justin Rose, Shane Lowry, Nicolai Hojgaard and Ludvig Aberg as his wild cards for the 44th Ryder Cup in Rome.
Former world number one amateur Aberg only turned professional in June, but won the final qualifying event in Switzerland on Sunday with a final round of 64 at Crans-sur-Sierre.
The 23-year-old Swede has made the quickest transition from the amateur ranks to the Ryder Cup in the contest’s history, eclipsing the previous record set by Sergio Garcia, who made his debut in September 1999 after turning professional following April’s Masters.
The six wild cards join automatic qualifiers Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm, Matt Fitzpatrick, Viktor Hovland, Tyrrell Hatton and Robert MacIntyre in Donald’s team.
02:35 PM BST
Donald on how Aberg won him over
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.
I played with him in Detroit and was blown away by his game. He continued to impress and I challenged him to come over to Europe and play a couple (of events).
He was fifth in the Czech Masters and you know what he did yesterday. It was like a walk in the park for him and for someone that is so inexperienced it was just so, so impressive.
02:35 PM BST
How the two teams stack up
Average World Ranking
Number of majors
Number of major winners
Number of rookies
Combined number of Ryder Cup appearances
Combined number of Ryder Cup victories
02:31 PM BST
Europe’s final 12 confirmed
02:28 PM BST
Captain’s pick number six: Ludvig Aberg
Ludvig Aberg is in! What a story, he only turned pro in June. Donald has been true to his word by backing current form. Three top-20 finishes as well as a win in nine tournament starts. Four birdies in his last five holes to win at Crans on Sunday. Aberg said:
If you would have told me a couple of months ago I would be in these conversations I probably would not have believed you.
02:24 PM BST
Captain’s pick number five: Nicolai Højgaard
Former Italian Open champion Nicolai Højgaard is Donald’s fifth pick, the second rookie picked along with Straka. That course form at Marco Simone has proved mportant, and he has had three top-six finishes in his last six starts. Højgaard said:
It’s hard to put into words at the moment. When Luke phoned me yesterday I was a bit frustrated with my finish at Crans-Montana but that phone call made my night.
02:20 PM BST
Captain’s pick number four: Shane Lowry
Not a great surprise despite some indifferent form of late. Could well form a partnership with Rory McIlroy and his short game wizardry is a wonderful asset to have in match play. Lowry did win the DP World Tour’s flagship tournament at Wentworth last year. Will be his second appearance. Lowry said:
I’m not in a pub, I’m at a golf club! I’m incredibly proud, grateful and excited for Rome. The last one hurt a little bit and I’m thankful to Luke for giving me the chance to go at it again.
02:16 PM BST
Captain’s pick number three: Justin Rose
Rose will make his sixth Ryder Cup appearance. The Englishman ended a long wait for a victory at the AT&T at Pebble Beach early in the season. Rose said:
This has been a huge motivation for me. Number six makes it sound very smooth but not playing in the last one really hurt. Looking at the video of some of those amazing experiences, I want to feel that again. There’s nothing like a Ryder Cup.
02:11 PM BST
Captain’s pick number two: Sepp Straka
The Austrian is rewarded for his consistency in 2023 with a Ryder Cup debut. Straka’s season included a winner in America at the John Deere Classic and a runner-up finish at the Open. When asked about his improvement, Straka said:
The consistency in balls-striking has been so much better in the last few years, giving myself more chances on Sunday.
02:06 PM BST
Captain’s pick number one: Tommy Fleetwood
No surprises there. This will be his third Ryder Cup appearance. Fleetwood had top 10 finishes at the Open and the US Open. The latter result included a remarkable 63 at LA Country Club.
Playing a Ryder Cup is a lifelong goal for all of us, I’ve been lucky enough to play a couple. Making this one is very special. For Luke to show his faith in me, I’m really excited to get together with all my team-mates.
Donald describes Fleetwood as a “ball-striking machine”.
02:04 PM BST
Donald on the task at hand
I’ve really tried to enjoy this journey as much as possible, it’s been an amazing 13 or 14 months or so. It always comes down to the last few events, and we’ve had so many guys playing well. It came down to that last putt (at the European Masters).
You could make an argument for a lot of players. It’s a tough choice and there’s always going to be some disappointment. But I am really happy with my team of 12.
02:03 PM BST
Donald is here
The announcement is taking place in a Sky Sports studio, rather than Wentworth as has been the case in past years.
01:59 PM BST
We should be hearing from Donald very shortly
His press conference is due to get under way in a minute or two.
01:52 PM BST
How will Donald elect to set up the course?
The home captain is allowed to dictate course set up, which can prove a significant advantage. Past European captains have tended to favour narrower fairways and juicy rough, in an effort to neuter the American’s extra power off the tee. Will Donald do the same? You would expect so, even if the likes of Rahm, McIlroy and Hovland can certainly shift it.
01:42 PM BST
James Corrigan has picked his team for Rome
01:31 PM BST
Donald the player at the Ryder Cup
In a good omen for Europe’s chances in Rome, Luke Donald played in four Ryder Cups and won all four, taking 10.5 points out of a possible 15 in the process. Donald formed a very strong foursomes partnership with Sergio Garcia. The Englishman’s accuracy and killer short game were perfect for the format.
01:21 PM BST
Could the last three Italian Open winners offer a clue?
This year’s Ryder Cup venue in Rome has also hosted the last three Italian Opens. The three champions at Marco Simone have been Arian Meronk (ranked fifth on the European Points List), Robert MacIntyre (already qualified) and Nicolai Hojgaard. Meronk also finished runner-up to Hojgaard, so he clearly loves the track.
01:11 PM BST
Robert MacIntyre on the prospect of playing in his first Ryder Cup
I am so excited. It’s been a tough qualifying campaign, but I am pleased with the way I have dealt with the challenge and to have earned one of the six automatic spots.
I’ve worked hard to play in the Ryder Cup, but now it’s important that we go on and win it.
MacIntyre is an aggressive birdie-chaser, if a little prone to errancy off the tee. I suspect we will see the Scot in the fourballs where he can play his natural game.
01:01 PM BST
A reminder of Zach Johnson’s picks
They join Scottie Scheffler, Wyndham Clark, Brian Harman, Patrick Cantlay, Max Homa and Xander Schauffele in the American side. It is widely accepted that Johnson has prioritised popularity and chemistry within the teamroom over recent performances. Justin Thomas has been horribly out of nick this summer, but Johnson will hope a reprisal of his partnership with close friend Jordan Spieth can spark a revival.
12:55 PM BST
Inside the mind of Donald
Giving a player the bad news that they have not made the Ryder Cup team is a difficult job, and Donald knows all about the disappointment having been overlooked by captain Paul McGinley in 2014. As James Corrigan writes here, Donald may seem affable but has a ruthless streak which should serve him well as Europe’s skipper in Rome.
They hugged and they drank and they vowed to defend their crown 12 months later in the Algarve. Then Donald dropped Casey.
12:46 PM BST
Richard Bland is not happy with Donald’s (rumoured) picks
The Englishman, who plies his trade with LIV Golf now, wrote on Instagram that Adrian Meronk deserves a pick from Donald instead of Lowry.
Bland said: “Hearing Adrian Meronk not getting picked.
“Wins Italian Open at the Ryder Cup course. Third in DP World Tour rankings!
“Deserves a pick over an out of form Shane Lowry in my opinion.”
12:39 PM BST
Will Donald select man in form Ludvig Aberg?
Good afternoon and welcome to our live coverage of Europe’s Ryder Cup team announcement as Luke Donald names his six captain’s picks for Rome.
The question on everyone’s lips is whether Swedish youngster Ludvig Aberg will get the nod following his victory at the European Masters at Crans. The 23-year-old would be one of the most inexperienced rookies to be picked for the Ryder Cup, only turning professional in May this year. Aberg looks a stellar talent though, and has three top-20 finishes as well as a win in nine tournament starts.
Aberg ranks 60th and 58th in the European Points and World Points list respectively, so his selection could be controversial given it would come at the expense of a player who has featured more prominently in the standings throughout the qualification process. The likes of Yannik Paul or Adrian Meronk could be vulnerable. Aberg is the man in form though, and his excellent driving could be an important asset at the Marco Simone Country Club.
“I figured a win would put me in a good position (for the Ryder Cup) but honestly I’ve been doing a pretty good job of not thinking about it too much,” Aberg said after his win in Switzerland on Sunday.
Tommy Fleetwood and Shane Lowry are certainties to join Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm, Robert MacIntyre, Viktor Hovland, Tyrrell Hatton and Matt Fitzpatrick on Europe’s team. Justin Rose and Sepp Straka are also in the frame for a pick from Donald, who has considerable power to shape his team. Previous renewals of the Ryder Cup gave the team captains just two picks to add to 10 automatic starters, now Donald and USA captain Zach Johnson have six each.
Europe’s team has a stronger look than many were predicting a year ago, as they look to avoid a repeat of their 2021 drubbing at Whistling Straits. The Americans have not won a Ryder Cup on European soil since 1993 at the Belfry.