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Paul McGinley: What to expect from Team Europe and debutant Ludvig Åberg at the Ryder Cup in Rome

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Paul McGinley

Golf Columnist

Team Europe look to regain trophy after record-breaking defeat to Team USA in 2021; Luke Donald named Ludvig Åberg among his six captain’s picks despite him only being a professional since June; Watch live from September 29-October 1 on Sky Sports Golf

Last Updated: 11/09/23 10:51am


Team Europe captain Luke Donald's 12-man Ryder Cup team is complete - meet the golfers looking to win back the trophy.

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Team Europe captain Luke Donald’s 12-man Ryder Cup team is complete – meet the golfers looking to win back the trophy.

Team Europe captain Luke Donald’s 12-man Ryder Cup team is complete – meet the golfers looking to win back the trophy.

Former Ryder Cup-winning captain Paul McGinley takes a closer look at Luke Donald’s six picks and examines how Team Europe is shaping up ahead of this year’s contest in Rome.

I think Luke Donald was in a situation at the end of the day where he couldn’t have made a wrong decision with who he named as his captain’s picks.

If he had picked Adrian Meronk then there wouldn’t be much criticism over that, as you could easily say he deserved a place. I feel sorry for him in many respects as this guy would have made the last two or three teams based on form, so is incredibly unlucky.

Team Europe captain Luke Donald explains his Ryder Cup selections and how he plans to win back the famous trophy.

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Team Europe captain Luke Donald explains his Ryder Cup selections and how he plans to win back the famous trophy.

Team Europe captain Luke Donald explains his Ryder Cup selections and how he plans to win back the famous trophy.

Victor Perez is someone who easily would be in the race to be in, while Yannik Paul from Germany just missed out on the qualifiers but has had a strong year. We have a lot of young talent coming through on the DP World Tour and it’s a good job, with the changing of the guard going on.

We have four rookies on the team, which is quite a lot. How they’re blended into the team with the experienced players is going to be important. There’s a big job at hand but we’re much better equipped now than we would have been this time last year.

Luke Donald revealed his six captain's picks in a live show at Sky Studios on Monday

Luke Donald revealed his six captain’s picks in a live show at Sky Studios on Monday

Aberg came through so fast and so quickly that he almost forced Donald’s hand where he had to pick him. As Luke himself has said, a lot of the guys are in form. It’s a strong European team, but remember we’re coming off a record loss two years ago so it’s a steep hill we’re climbing.

I think it’s too early to put too much pressure on Åberg , as it’s one thing being able to hit a golf ball and another thing being able to play under pressure. He proved that over the weekend and a lot of credit must go to him for that.

Team Europe captain Luke Donald reveals why Ludvig Aberg was selected as one of his six picks to complete his Ryder Cup line up.

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Team Europe captain Luke Donald reveals why Ludvig Aberg was selected as one of his six picks to complete his Ryder Cup line up.

Team Europe captain Luke Donald reveals why Ludvig Aberg was selected as one of his six picks to complete his Ryder Cup line up.

We’re still learning from him and remember he’s probably the 12th man in the team here, so don’t expect him to play five matches. He’ll probably play two or even three matches. He’ll be an important cog in the wheel, but he won’t be the most important cog for Donald.

We had Thomas Pieters a few years ago going off to play in America as a rookie and play as well as he did, so you never know how he is going to ignite. That’s all to be seen and revealed so far.

New era for European golf?

It has been recognised for a few years now that there would be a changing of the guard, as a strong era of players who have stood for Europe slowly move into their forties and slowly depart the scene.

Hear from the six players that Ryder Cup Team Europe captain Luke Donald has selected as his captain's picks to play against the USA in Rome later this  month.

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Hear from the six players that Ryder Cup Team Europe captain Luke Donald has selected as his captain’s picks to play against the USA in Rome later this month.

Hear from the six players that Ryder Cup Team Europe captain Luke Donald has selected as his captain’s picks to play against the USA in Rome later this month.

We realise that after the record defeat two years ago there would be a changing of the guard and it’s so great to see so many of the guys stepping up. So many of these players didn’t just fall over the line, they played great to get themselves in a position to qualify.

It’s a team of 12 players and we’re giving ourselves a good chance but let’s not overestimate as they’re up against a strong American team. We’re coming off a record loss and we’re putting the pieces back together again, albeit with new names.

A closer look at the man who will captain team Europe at this year's Ryder Cup - Luke Donald.

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A closer look at the man who will captain team Europe at this year’s Ryder Cup – Luke Donald.

A closer look at the man who will captain team Europe at this year’s Ryder Cup – Luke Donald.

Edoardo Molinari is one of the vice-captains, is very strong with his stats and has done an incredible job behind the scenes in statistics. Statistics and analytics will drive a lot of pairings but it’s important that Luke gets that balance between using that with his own instincts.

I helped them out at the Hero Cup back in January and was hugely impressed with what he is doing and how they are following players. They are following trends and what he is trying to do is like putting a jigsaw together.

They’re picking players that are suited to this particular ‘exam’ that we’re going to face in Italy in a month’s time. Sometimes you lose the heart and soul of the captain because you use the data too much, so it’s important to get that blend right.

We’re against it, the bookies aren’t making us favourites. We’re coming off a huge loss, the biggest loss any team has encountered. So should we get within one or two points of the American team at the end of the day and just happen to fall below the line, that is to a large extent success.

I am not going to dismiss the quality of this team by any means. We’re up against it, there’s no doubt, but I am not going to discount that we could come up the rails because we have done that many, many times before. It’s in our DNA.

Watch the Ryder Cup this month exclusively live Sky Sports. Live coverage of the opening day begins on Friday September 29 from 6am on Sky Sports Golf. Stream the PGA Tour, Ryder Cup and more for £26 a month for 12 months with NOW.

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