Riath’s 12 predicted Ryder Cup picks

new balance


Luke Donald was already a known admirer of the Swedish golf prodigy Ludvig Aberg. After an impressive few days in Switzerland, it might now be the case that Europe’s Ryder Cup captain finds him irresistible.

Such are the prodigious gifts of the 23-year-old, who won the Omega European Masters on Sunday, it would ring as a substantial surprise if he is not among the six wildcards that Donald will name on Monday afternoon.

To categorise the scale of Aberg’s climb to this point, it must be remembered he only turned professional in June and his successful hunt of Matt Fitzpatrick at Crans-sur-Sierre came in his ninth tournament in the paid ranks.

On paper he is merely ranked as No 200 in the world, so picking such an inexperienced player for the match in Rome this month remains a huge gamble, but it would be heavily offset by an exceptional tee-to-green game that is perfectly suited to the narrowed fairways of the Marco Simone battleground. 

Those technical qualities have been lauded since his time as the world’s No 1 amateur, but it is perhaps his demonstration of a cool temperament that shone brightest in Switzerland.

It is the players behind Matt Fitzpatrick garnering the most interest in Luke Donald's (pictured) Ryder Cup team ahead of Monday's announcement

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It is the players behind Matt Fitzpatrick garnering the most interest in Luke Donald’s (pictured) Ryder Cup team ahead of Monday’s announcement

Ludvig Aberg sits in a tie for second at the Omega European Masters going into final round

Ludvig Aberg sits in a tie for second at the Omega European Masters going into final round

PREDICTED 12

  • Rory McIlroy
  • Jon Rahm
  • Viktor Hovland
  • Tyrrell Hatton
  • Matt Fitzpatrick
  • Bob MacIntyre

Picks:

  • Tommy Fleetwood
  • Justin Rose
  • Shane Lowry
  • Sepp Straka
  • Adrian Meronk
  • Ludvig Aberg

Entering the final round two strokes behind Fitzpatrick, and knowing the weight of discussion around his Cup credentials, he opened with a bogey before catching alight in a stunning, six-under-par loop of 64, including four straight birdies from the 14th. If the Cup requires an ability to withstand pressure, he ticked a large box in his winning surge to 19 under.

‘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,’ he said.

‘It would mean the world obviously. I think as a young golfer growing up in Sweden and in Europe those are the events you want to be a part of and if I ever get the chance to be a part of that I’m going to be over the moon. It would be really cool.’

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Fitzpatrick, who bogeyed three of his final four holes in a 69 to tie for third, sealed his automatic qualification for Donald’s team via one of three spots designated for points accrued worldwide. 

His selection was guaranteed irrespective of what happened in Switzerland, but he has now formally joined Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm, Viktor Hovland and Tyrrell Hatton on the team. Bob MacIntyre, who was 55th at Crans-sur-Sierre, has also qualified for his first Cup appearance through the European points list.

‘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,’ said the Scot, who won on the Italian Open at Marco Simone in 2022.

Aberg poses with the trophy of the European Masters Golf Tournament DP World Tour

Aberg poses with the trophy of the European Masters Golf Tournament DP World Tour

Aberg plays his second shot on the 15th hole during Day Two in Crans-Montana, Switzerland

Aberg plays his second shot on the 15th hole during Day Two in Crans-Montana, Switzerland

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Matt Fitzpatrick leads the the final qualifying event in Switzerland for the Ryder Cup at Omega European Masters

Matt Fitzpatrick leads the the final qualifying event in Switzerland for the Ryder Cup at Omega European Masters

The race for a spot in Luke Donald's 12-man lineup for next month's Ryder Cup in Italy is in the home stretch. The final two automatic places will be determined at the European Masters

The race for a spot in Luke Donald’s 12-man lineup for next month’s Ryder Cup in Italy is in the home stretch. The final two automatic places will be determined at the European Masters

‘I’ve worked hard to play in the Ryder Cup, but now it’s important that we go on and win it.’

With the six automatic qualifiers known, it falls on Donald to name his picks. Tommy Fleetwood, Justin Rose and Shane Lowry are widely considered locks for the team, as is Austria’s Sepp Straka, who was runner up at The Open.

That leaves two spots from Adrian Meronk, Aberg, the Danish twins Nicolai and Rasmus Hojgaard, Yannik Paul, Victor Perez and Seamus Power, among a wider assortment of regular DP World Tour contenders.  

While Aberg is on the ascendancy and seemingly heading for a pick, it is understood that Donald is particularly conflicted over Meronk despite his two wins this season. 

new balance



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