Tommy Fleetwood and Shane Lowry make Luke Donald’s captain picks for the Ryder Cup as Justin Rose returns to Team Europe for the first time in five years… and Swedish prodigy Ludvig Aberg is called up just THREE months after turning pro
- Luke Donald selected three rookies in his captain’s picks
- Justin Rose returns to the team after missing out in 2021
- Team Europe and Team USA square off in Rome at the end of the month
Luke Donald will take a punt on youth at the Ryder Cup after naming the Swede Ludvig Aberg in his European team for the match with the US in Rome later this month.
The 23-year-old, who only turned professional in June and has never contested a major, was one of Donald’s six wildcards announced on Monday along with Tommy Fleetwood, Justin Rose, Shane Lowry, Sepp Straka and Nicolai Hojgaard.
They join automatic qualifiers Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm, Viktor Hovland, Tyrrell Hatton, Matt Fitzpatrick and Robert MacIntyre in the 12-strong side.
Aberg’s elevation follows an extraordinary breakthrough into the paid ranks, which culminated in him nailing the final audition by winning the Omega European Masters on Sunday in his ninth start.
If his successful pursuit of Fitzpatrick in Switzerland demonstrated his temperament, it is his technical expertise that makes him such an exciting gamble.
Tommy Fleetwood will play in his third Ryder Cup later this month in Rome
Luke Donald has selected two debutants in his six captain’s picks for the Ryder Cup
TEAM EUROPE RYDER CUP TEAM
*Denotes captain’s pick
- Rory McIlroy (Northern Ireland)
- Jon Rahm (Spain)
- Viktor Hovland (Norway)
- Tyrrell Hatton (England)
- Robert MacIntyre (Scotland)
- Matt Fiztpatrick (England)
- Tommy Fleetwood (England) *
- Justin Rose (England) *
- Shane Lowry (Republic of Ireland)*
- Ludvig Aberg (Sweden) *
- Sepp Straka (Austria) *
- Nicolaj Hojgaard (Denmark) *
The former amateur world No 1 has a tee-to-green game that matches perfectly with the tightened fairways of the Marco Simone course – a quality that has been noted multiple times by senior members of the team in the past few months.
Donald said: ‘We knew what he was doing on the college scene across four years. It compares with what Hovland and Rahm were doing. I played with him in Detroit and I was blown away. For someone so inexperienced it is so impressive.’
Aberg said: ‘It has been quite a lot these past couple of months but it is exciting. I cannot wait.
‘If you told me a couple of months ago I would be in these conversations I probably wouldn’t have believed you.’
His selection is clearly a risk, but eyebrows will be raised in European circles after the omission of Adrian Meronk.
The 30-year-old Pole, another gifted driver of the ball, had long been in Donald’s sights and his claim was strengthened by winning the Italian Open at Marco Simone in May.
However, Donald has instead gone with Hojgaard, 22, who along with Open runner-up Straka, MacIntyre and Aberg is one of four rookies in the 12.
Hojgaard, a two-time champion on the DP World Tour and former winner at Marco Simone in 2021, clinched the spot after tying for fifth in Switzerland.
Justin Rose (left) returns to Team Europe after missing out at Whistling Straits in 2021, while Shane Lowry makes his second consecutive Ryder Cup appearance
Ludvig Aberg was named in Europe’s Ryder Cup team despite turning pro only in June
Sepp Straka (left) will make his Ryder Cup debut in Rome, where he will be joined by fellow Team Europe debutant Nicolai Hojgaard (right)
Donald said: ‘He is a young superstar, the world is his oyster. We have seen already what he has accomplished at a young age. I wanted form players.’
Hojgaard said: ‘It feels amazing. It is hard to put into words at the moment.
‘When Luke called me yesterday I was a little disappointed after my finish in Switzerland but it made my night. To be on the team feels amazing.
‘I get nervous thinking about it but I cannot wait to be on the first tee.’