Ludvig Aberg makes team just months after turning pro

Ludvig Aberg playing at the Travelers Championship - Europe Ryder Cup team announcement live: Ludvig Aberg makes team just months after turning pro

Ludvig Aberg will make his Ryder Cup debut in Rome – AP/Frank Franklin II

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 age

Europe: 30.16
USA: 30.34

Average World Ranking

Europe: 12.92
USA: 30

Number of majors

Europe: 9
USA: 15

Number of major winners

Europe: 5
USA: 7

Number of rookies

Europe: 4
USA: 4

Combined number of Ryder Cup appearances

Europe: 21
USA: 17

Combined number of Ryder Cup victories

Europe: 10
USA: 10

02:31 PM BST

Europe’s final 12 confirmed

Rory McIlroy
Jon Rahm
Viktor Hovland
Tyrrell Hatton
Matt Fitzpatrick
Robert MacIntyre
Shane Lowry
Tommy Fleetwood
Justin Rose
Sepp Straka
Nicolai Højgaard
Ludvig Aberg

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.

Sweden's Ludvig Aberg kisses the trophy after winning the European Tour's

Sweden’s Ludvig Aberg kisses the trophy after winning the European Tour’s

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.

Shane Lowry of Ireland and team Europe reacts on the 18th green

Shane Lowry of Ireland and team Europe reacts on the 18th green

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.

Justin Rose at the 2016 Ryder Cup

Justin Rose at the 2016 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”.

Tommy Fleetwood celebrates Europe's overall victory at the 2018 Ryder Cup

Tommy Fleetwood celebrates Europe’s overall victory at the 2018 Ryder Cup

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.

Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland hits his second shot on the 2nd hole on Day Two

Rory McIlroy at the Marco Simone Golf Club – Getty Images/Stuart Franklin

01:42 PM BST

James Corrigan has picked his team for Rome

James Corrigan's final Ryder Cup team

James Corrigan’s final Ryder Cup team

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.

Luke Donald of Europe celebrates after holing out for birdie on the seventh green

Luke Donald of Europe celebrates after holing out for birdie on the seventh green

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.

Robert MacIntyre of Scotland plays his second shot on the 10th hole during Day Fou

Robert MacIntyre of Scotland plays his second shot on the 10th hole during Day Fou

01:01 PM BST

A reminder of Zach Johnson’s picks

  • Sam Burns

  • Rickie Fowler

  • Brooks Koepka

  • Collin Morikawa

  • Jordan Spieth

  • Justin Thomas

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.

Team USA's Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth

Team USA’s Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth

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.

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