Three Ryder Cup rookies were among the six captain’s picks announced for the European team on Monday.
Captain Luke Donald selected Shane Lowry of Ireland, and Justin Rose and Tommy Fleetwood of England along with first-timers Ludvig Aberg of Sweden, Sepp Straka of Austria and Nicolai Hojgaard of Denmark.
They will join the six automatic qualifiers for the biennial competition against the United States taking place from Sept. 30-Oct. 1 at Marco Simone Golf and Country Club outside Rome, Italy.
Donald’s picks join Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy, Spain’s Jon Rahm, Scotland’s Robert MacIntyre, Norway’s Viktor Hovland and England’s Matt Fitzpatrick and Tyrrell Hatton. MacIntyre is also new to Ryder Cup competition.
“I think it’s fine to have rookies in a Ryder Cup. My first one in 2004, you always want that chance to shine. I think 2004 we had five rookies and you know how that result ended,” said Donald, referring to Europe’s 18 1/2-9 1/2 win at Oakland Hills in Michigan. “There’s nothing wrong in having these young fresh guys going in there to battle.”
The rapidly rising Aberg, 23, turned pro in June. He carded four straight birdies late in Sunday’s final round to win the European Masters in Switzerland.
“I think he’s a generational player,” Donald said of Aberg. “He’s gonna be around a long time and he’s gonna do amazing things. If he wasn’t going to play this one, he was going to play the next eight Ryder Cups. That’s how good I think he is.”
Aberg will reportedly become the first player to compete in a Ryder Cup before playing in his first major championship.
“If you would have told me a couple of months ago that I was gonna be in these conversations I probably wouldn’t have believed you,” Aberg said. “Obviously super, super fortunate to be in this position and I can’t thank the captain and the vice-captains enough.”
Straka, 30, is a two-time winner on the PGA Tour with top-10 finishes this season at the PGA Championship (T7) and The Open Championship (T2).
Hojgaard, 22, is a two-time winner on the European Tour and currently No. 78 in the Official World Golf Ranking.
Poland’s Adrian Meronk, winner of this year’s Italian Open at Marco Simone, was the most notable omission from the European roster.
The U.S. team is the defending champion, coming off a record-setting 19-9 victory at Whistling Straits in Wisconsin in 2021.
–Field Level Media