We take a look at who features in Luke Donald’s Team Europe side at the 2023 Ryder Cup, being held at Marco Simone Golf Club in Italy this September.
The six automatic qualifiers were confirmed after the Omega European Masters, with Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm and Robert MacIntyre qualifying via the European Points List and Viktor Hovland, Tyrrell Hatton and Matt Fitzpatrick earning their spots via the World Points List.
Donald then confirmed his six wildcard selections in a special live programme at Sky Studios, where Ludvig Aberg was announced alongside Tommy Fleetwood, Nicolai Hojgaard, Shane Lowry, Justin Rose and Sepp Straka to complete Europe’s line-up.
Rory McIlroy (Northern Ireland)
Age 34. Caps 6. Majors 4
Ryder Cup record: 12-12-4
McIlroy is the standout member of the European team, both in terms of his Ryder Cup pedigree and his standing as one of golf’s modern-era greats.
The current world No 2’s wait to add to his four major wins is now into its ninth year but arguably his game has never been in better order. McIlroy has placed eighth or better in seven of the last eight major tournaments (three being top-three finishes), with the only exception being his failure to make the cut at this year’s Masters.
And McIlroy will be desperate to wrestle the Ryder Cup back into European hands after returning his worst performance in the 19-9 hammering at the hands of the US two years ago in which he won only his final-day singles match and lost his other three ties.
Jon Rahm (Spain)
Age 28. Caps 2. Majors 2
Ryder Cup record: 4-3-1
Much will be expected again of the world No 3, Europe’s top performer with three wins and a halved match from his five ties two years ago – despite the carnage taking place around him as the US ran out record winners.
Rahm became a two-time major champion this year, adding a Green Jacket to his US Open triumph from 2021 as he won at Augusta National, and that’s despite four-putting for a double-bogey six to start his tournament.
Further successes have been elusive since, though the much-loved Spaniard did finish strongly at both the US Open to finish tied-10th and at The Open, where a stunning third-round 63 helped him ultimately finish in a share of second.
Viktor Hovland (Norway)
Age 25. Caps 1. Majors 0
Ryder Cup record: 0-3-2
Hovland has firmly cemented himself among golf’s emerging stars over the past 18 months. And though a first major success still eludes him, the Norwegian walked away with over £14 million for winning the Tour Championship at the end of August and topping the FedExCup standings.
The Norwegian has threatened at the majors on more than one occasion, most notably when sharing the lead after three days of the 2022 Open Championship and after day one of this year’s Masters, though his challenge at both tournaments ultimately faded.
In terms of his Ryder Cup pedigree, Hovland and Rahm were the only players entrusted to play a full five matches in Europe’s 2021 defeat, though the former – making his debut – found the going much tougher, failing to register a single victory. Surely better will follow this time out.
Tyrrell Hatton (England)
Age 31. Caps 2. Majors 0
Ryder Cup record: 2-4-1
It has been a while since Hatton mounted a true challenge at the top end of the leaderboard in a major, but he did finish as runner-up to Scottie Scheffler at the unofficial ‘fifth major’, The Players’ Championship, earlier this year.
That was just one of a staggering 17 top-10 finishes for the popular Englishman on tour over the past two years, a mark of the remarkable consistency that has secured him his Ryder Cup spot in Italy.
Hatton has played twice before, winning a fourball contest in both Europe’s triumph in France, 2018, and in defeat two years ago.
Matt Fitzpatrick (England)
Age 29. Caps 2. Majors 1
Ryder Cup record: 0-5-0
Look away now Fitzpatrick fans, for the 29-year-old’s Ryder Cup record thus far makes for grim reading – five matches over two appearances, five defeats.
Those two caps for Fitzpatrick both came in heavy defeats on US soil, whereas he now gets the opportunity to play in front of European fans for the first time – and now with the experience of a major championship win under his belt.
Of slight concern to Fitzpatrick will be that his form has deserted him at points since his stunning US Open success at Brookline in 2022, though a tied-third finish at Crans-sur-Sierre which clinched his Ryder Cup berth via the World Points List – negating the need for a wildcard pick – hopefully points to his best game returning.
Robert MacIntyre (Scotland)
Age 27. Caps 0. Majors 0
Ryder Cup record: N/A
A Ryder Cup rookie, MacIntyre clinched his place on the team with a tied-55th finish at the European Masters in Switzerland last week to hold onto third place on the European Points List.
The 27-year-old won the Italian Open in September of last year and has followed that up with eight top-10 finishes since, including coming second to Rory McIlroy by just one stroke at his home championship, the Scottish Open, earlier this summer.
Ludvig Aberg (Sweden)
Age 23. Caps 0. Majors 0.
Ryder Cup record: N/A
The new kid on the block. Ludvig Aberg only turned professional in June, but enters his first Ryder Cup as one of the hottest properties in European golf.
The Swede dazzled at the John Deere Classic earlier this summer with rounds of 68, 64, 71 and a stunning 63 to finish tied-fourth, before recently tying for 14th after two rounds of 66 and a final-round 67 at the Wyndham Championship.
His 0.903 average off the tee would place him among the very best in the world, along with his impressive tee-to-green average of 0.801.
Nicolai Hojgaard (Denmark)
Age 22. Caps 0. Majors 0.
Ryder Cup record: 0-0-0
Hojgaard gets his Ryder Cup nod in the wake of an tidy summer that last month saw him finish tied-14th at the Wyndham Championship after shooting four sub-70 rounds, including a 67 to close the weekend.
The Dane notably starred at the Genesis Scottish Open to finished tied for sixth after carding a sublime 63 on day two.
He is coming off a tied-fifth place finish at the European Masters as well as a third-placed finish at the Czech Masters, during both of which he shot under 70 throughout the week.
Tommy Fleetwood (England)
Age 32. Caps 2. Majors 0
Ryder Cup record: 4-2-2
Fan favourite Tommy Fleetwood has recorded nine top-10 finishes over the past season, finishing runner-up at the Canadian Open back in June.
His pursuit of a maiden major continues to get closer to reward, and he was in contention at The Open at Royal Liverpool in July after an opening 66 before fading over the final three rounds.
He followed up by finishing tied-third at the FedEx St Jude Championship and more recently carded a third-round 65 and final-round 66 to place tied for sixth at the Tour Championship. The 32-year-old is back for his third Ryder Cup appearance, with dreams of waking up beside that coveted trophy as he famously did in 2018.
Sepp Straka (Austria)
Age 30. Caps 0. Majors 0.
Ryder Cup record: 0-0-0
Austrian Sepp Straka is primed for his Ryder Cup debut at the age of 30 after an impressive campaign that saw him record five top-10 and nine top-25 finishes.
Having started the year second at the Sanderson Farms Championship, he went on to place tied-fifth at the Honda Classic as well as tied-seventh at the PGA Championship.
His highlight arrived at the John Deere Classic where he emerged victorious after a spectacular final-round 62.
Straka followed up by tying for second at The Open. He ranks 16th on the PGA Tour in approach to the green.
Age 43. Caps 5. Majors 1
Ryder Cup record: 13-8-2
It is a welcome return to Ryder Cup action for Justin Rose following the heartbreak of missing out on a place in the beaten European team in 2021.
He is now due to make his sixth appearance at the event, entering with a 13-8-2 record against the US. Rose has five top-10 finishes to his name this season, the highlight being victory at Pebble Beach in February following a final-round 66.
He has since tied for sixth at The Players Championship and tied for ninth at the PGA Championship, before missing the cut at the US Open, Scottish Open and The Open.
Shane Lowry (Ireland)
Age 36. Caps 1. Majors 0
Ryder Cup record: 1-2-0
Former Open champion Shane Lowry earns his second Ryder Cup call-up having been part of the European team that was beaten in Wisconsin last time out.
He has nine top-25 finishes to his name this season, including his tied-fifth finish at the Honda Classic at the beginning of the year.
Lowry enjoyed a strong outing at the Travelers Championship where he finished tied-19th after a final-round 64, before placing tied for 12th at the Scottish Open after middle rounds of 64 and 65. He is ranked 21st in tee-to-green value, while sitting eighth in total driving on Tour.
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