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The 2023 renewal of the Ryder Cup, which is one of the most anticipated and unique events in all of golf, is now less than a week away. 24 of the best players on the planet will soon descend on Italy’s Marco Simone Golf and Country Club, 12 from the United States, and 12 from Europe. It’s time to take a look at how the European team shapes up ahead of this huge event. Who made the cut? Who missed out? Let’s find out.
Luke Donald leading the charge
Captaining the European team this time around is veteran golfer and former world number one Luke Donald, who is no stranger to representing Team Europe at the Ryder Cup. The five-time PGA Tour winner, who also won seven times on the European Tour, played in four Ryder Cup and it’s fair to say that he brings lots of winning experience having been on the winning time every time that he featured in this competition, most recently in 2012, when the ‘Miracle of Medinah’ occurred, as Team Europe came from behind to win in dramatic fashion.
Joining Luke Donald as vice captains are Thomas Bjorn, who not only played in (and won) three Ryder Cups, but captained Team Europe to success back in 2018, Nicolas Colsaerts, who was on the winning team as a player back in 2012, as well as the Molinari brothers, both of whom have previously played in and won the Ryder Cup. The final vice captain is two-time major winner José María Olazábal, who is no stranger to Ryder Cup success having won this competition four times as a player and once as a captain in 2012.
Who missed out on a spot in Europe’s Ryder Cup team?
It’s probably fair to say that there are some quite obvious holes in this Europe. For a start, Ian Poulter, who for several years has been a player synonymous with the Ryder Cup, is not in the team, thanks in no small part to his involvement in LIV Golf. There are no LIV Golf players in the European Team, which also means that there’s no Sergio Garcia, while Lee Westwood and Bernd Wiesberger are also out, though it’s likely that such players would’ve missed out even if they hadn’t jumped ship and gone to LIV.
Who’s in the team?
Let’s start with the newbies, of which there are four. That’s right, four golfers will get their first taste of Ryder Cup action in Italy, which means that Luke Donald has selected one more rookie than US captain Zach Johnson. Sepp Straka, who thanks to several fine performances this season, is now ranked 22nd in the world is one of those rookies, as is Robert MacIntyre, who is currently ranked 55th in the world. Joining that pair is Ludvig Aberg, who are just 23 has recently broken into the top 100 players in the world after following up an excellent fourth-place finish at the Czech Masters by winning the Omega European Masters in Switzerland.
Supplementing the four rookies are not only some of the best players in the world, but some incredibly experienced Ryder Cup shoulders. Nobody playing this year has more Ryder Cup experience than Rory McIlroy and Justin Rose, who between them have played in 11 Ryder Cups, winning a combined total of 25 points. Having not one but two players of that level should really help the Europeans.
A third Scandinavian in the team is Norway’s Viktor Hovland, who put his inclusion beyond any doubt when following up his win at the FedEx St. Jude Championship with a win at the BMW Championship. The world number four has been in fantastic form in recent times and is likely to be a big player here. Much the same can be said for world number three Jon Rahm. The two-time major winner comes into this Ryder Cup off the back of a very solid fourth at the BMW PGA Championship and will now be looking to play his part in Rome.
Team Europe in full
Below is the full line-up for the European team ahead of the 2023 Ryder Cup:
Ludvig Aberg (Ryder Cup rookie)
Matt Fitzpatrick (Ryder Cup record of 0-5-0)
Tommy Fleetwood (Ryder Cup record of 4-2-2)
Tyrell Hatton (Ryder Cup record of 2-4-1)
Nicolai Hojgaard (Ryder Cup rookie)
Viktor Hovland (Ryder Cup record of 0-3-2)
Shane Lowry (Ryder Cup record of 1-1-1)
Robert MacIntyre (Ryder Cup rookie)
Rory McIlroy (Ryder Cup record of 12-12-4)
Jon Rahm (Ryder Cup record of 4-3-1)
Justin Rose (Ryder Cup record of 13-8-2)
Sepp Straka (Ryder Cup rookie)
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