Ryder Cup 2023: Team Europe picks revealed as Ludvig Aberg and Nicolai Hojgaard among Luke Donald's selections
It follows the trio being named as picks by European captain Luke Donald along with three more experienced players in Tommy Fleetwood, Justin Rose and Shane Lowry. The sextet will join forces at Marco Simone Golf Club on the outskirts of the Italian capital with automatic qualifiers MacIntyre, Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm, Viktor Hovland, Tyrrell Hatton and Matthew Fitzpatrick. “It’s a mix of great talent, some experience and some rookies – I couldn’t be more happy,” said Donald of the 12 players who will face an American side being captained by Zach Johnson.
Straka, who finished joint-second behind American Brian Harman in the 151st Open at Royal Liverpool in July, will become just the second Austrian to compete in the biennial event after Bernd Wiesberger, who was on the 2021 team at Whistling Straits. “He flew from Maui (in Hawaii) to Abu Dhabi for the Hero Cup,” said Donald of the inaugural staging of that event earlier in the year. “He lapped up the team environment and, with two top tens in the last three majors, I couldn’t leave him out.”
Hojgaard only played in the Hero Cup after his twin, Rasmus, was forced to pull out of the Continent of Europe team due to injury but grabbed his chance with both hands by producing the best statistics of all those involved in the Ryder Cup warm up. “He’s a young superstar,” said Donald of the Dane. “The world is his oyster as what he’s achieved so far is just the beginning for him. We wanted some in-form players and what he did the last two weeks (recording top-five finishes in the final two qualifying events) was special.”
In just his ninth event as a professional, Aberg landed a spectacular maiden DP World Tour win in the second of those tournaments, the Omega European Masters in Switzerland on Sunday, clinching his pick in the process. “We obviously knew what he was doing on the college scene,” said Donald of Aberg being the world No 1 before he joined the paid ranks in June. “I played with him in Detroit (in a PGA Tour event) and was blown away by his game. I challenged him to come over and play in some DP World events and, on Sunday (as he closed with a stunning 64 to land a two-shot success in the Alps), it was like a walk in the park for him and so impressive for someone so inexperienced.”
Fleetwood, who will be making a third appearance, was a certainty after being pipped for an automatic spot by Fitzpatrick off a World Points list, while Rose was helped in securing his sixth Ryder Cup gig by a win on the PGA Tour at Pebble Beach earlier this year. Having been out of form lately, Lowry is probably the player who can feel most fortunate to have been picked, especially as Pole Adrian Meronk had a strong case after playing some great golf in the past 12 months, including a win in the Italian Open on the Ryder Cup course.
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