Luke Donald has announced his captain’s picks for this year’s Ryder Cup, with 23-year-old Ludvig Aberg making the team.
It’s been a remarkable rise for the young Swede, who was playing in collegiate tournaments as an amateur as early as May this year. Since turning pro, he’s had more finishes inside the top 25 than outside, picking up his first win in just his ninth start at the European Masters.
Donald, who referred to Aberg as a future superstar when playing with the 23-year-old earlier in the season, was left with little choice but to pick the rookie based on his form since turning pro, and with his immense ability off the tee, he could prove a huge asset in Rome as well as Ryder Cups to come.
Tommy Fleetwood and Shane Lowry missed out on qualifying automatically, but there were always set to get picks, with Fleetwood in particular playing terrific golf of late.
The Southport man has six top-10s in his last eight starts, including at The Open, the US Open, the TOUR Championship and the elevated Scottish Open.
Though he’s not the longest hitter, his all-round ability should make him a key part of Team Europe.
We all saw how much the Ryder Cup meant to Lowry in 2021 at Whistling Straits, but his form will be a slight concern to Donald, having missed two cuts in his last three events and finishing T51 in the other.
Justin Rose also earns a recall after a solid season on the PGA TOUR. His win at the Pebble Beach Pro-Am wasn’t just a one-off good week; the former US Open winner followed that up with a string of good results throughout the year with top-10s at THE PLAYERS Championship, the PGA Championship, the Canadian Open and the British Masters.
Sepp Straka’s win at the John Deere Classic followed by the T2 at The Open was enough to secure his place in Donald’s plans. Though his form after wasn’t much to write home about after, he recorded a top-10 at the PGA Championship and was T16 at the elevated Memorial Tournament.
There were no surprises in the above, but it left just one place available for seemingly two players.
Adrian Meronk has looked good for a pick all season, but the form of Nicolai Hojgaard and Straka as well the rise to prominence of Aberg left the Pole sweating over a pick.
As someone who’s excellent off the tee and makes lots of birdies, not to mention the fact he’s won at Marco Simone before, he could have been a very useful four-balls player for Europe.
It means the last man on the team is Nicolai Hojgaard. The young Norwegian hits the ball a mile off the tee – albeit not always accurately – and as a fellow former Marco Simone winner who’s showed excellent form in recent weeks, could be an asset to Donald.
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