The Ryder Cup captain’s picks are in. But what team is favourite when they head to Marco Simone in Rome at the end of the month?
TEAM USA: Scottie Scheffler, Wyndham Clark, Brian Harman, Xander Schauffele, Max Homa, Patrick Cantlay, Collin Morikawa, Brooks Koepka, Rickie Fowler, Jordan Speith, Justin Thomas and Sam Burns.
TEAM EUROPE: Rory McIlroy, John Rahm, Viktor Hovland, Matt Fitzpatrick, Tyrell Hatton, Robert MacIntyre, Tommy Fleetwood, Justin Rose, Shane Lowry, Sepp Straka, Nicolai Hojgaard and Ludvig Aberg.
The biggest news from the Americans came when Johnson announced Justin Thomas as one of his captain’s picks. This comes on the back of a disappointing season for the Kentucky native. Notably, he missed the cut in 3 of the 4 Major Championships and only four Top-10 finishes throughout the season.Embed from Getty Images
Speaking to Golf Monthly, Zach Johnson said: “He has without question been the heart and soul of Team USA, Ryder Cups, our emotional leader I would say.
“He just leads by example. His passion for the Ryder Cup is very evident. In my mind, he was born for this, and there is – you just don’t leave JT at home.”
Zach Johnson also included the current Matchplay champion Sam Burns, who makes his debut at the Ryder Cup.
The inclusion of these two players comes at the expense of Bryson DeChambeau, Cam Young, Tony Finau, Keegan Bradley, and Dustin Johnson.
All of whom the US golfing world was making extremely valid cases for their inclusion. There is no doubt Johnson and DeChambeau’s LIV ties clearly complicated things for Johnson. He decided to go with JT and Burns as opposed to the two of them.
Europe’s captain Luke Donald had his own selection headache for his two final captain picks.
It always looked certain that four of Donald’s picks would be Tommy Fleetwood, Justin Rose, Shane Lowry, and Sepp Straka. The problem, however, much like Zach Johnson’s lay in the final two picks.
With two spots left open for the likes of Nicolai Hojgaard, Rasmus Hojgaard, Adrian Meronk, and the young rookie Ludvig Aberg it was impossible to predict what Donald would do.
Would Donald put his faith in someone not only young in age but also in his career? Having only turned professional in June of this year. The young Aberg has shown himself to be one of the top young talents on the DP World Tour. After just his sixth start the 23-year-old joined the winner’s circle this weekend at the Omega European Masters.
In the end, the Englishman went with Hojgaard and Aberg. The young Swede’s win at the weekend, seemingly pushed him ahead of Adrian Meronk, who in his own right has had an extremely impressive season on tour.
Luke Donald was said to be “very happy” with the 6 captain’s picks for the European Team. He will be looking to continue a trend of European wins on home soil. Exacting revenge for the 19-9 humiliation at Whistling Straits in 2021.
No American team has won on European soil since 1993, and when you think of the players that the US have had consistently throughout that time it actually beggars belief.
Speaking about this to The Guardian, Donald said, “I do think they are favourites. Certainly judging by the result from the last Ryder Cup. It was not close.
“They have a lot of those guys coming back. They are strong. They have great partnerships that have been tried and tested. But at the same time; we are underdogs, and we will be betting underdogs, I have full faith in my team and I feel like we have a great opportunity to win.
“I’m confident we have 12 fearless golfers who are on a mission to write their own history in the game and their legacy. Certainly, I couldn’t be happier with the 12 I have but just to disregard the Americans would be foolish. They are going to be very, very strong.”
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