Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Ryder Cup: Ludvig Åberg to debut for Team Europe after being named as captain’s pick by Luke Donald

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Ludvig Åberg will make his Ryder Cup debut for Team Europe, less than four months into his professional career, after being named as one of Luke Donald’s six captain’s picks.

The six automatic qualifiers were confirmed after Sunday’s Omega European Masters, with Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm and Robert MacIntyre qualifying via the European Points List and Viktor Hovland, Tyrrell Hatton and Matt Fitzpatrick earning their spots via the World Points List.

Donald then confirmed his six wildcard selections in a special live programme at Sky Studios on Monday, where Åberg was announced alongside Tommy Fleetwood, Nicolai Hojgaard, Shane Lowry, Justin Rose and Sepp Straka to complete Europe’s line-up.

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Europe’s Ryder Cup team was finalised on Monday

Aberg will be one of four rookies in Donald’s team at Marco Simone Golf Club from September 29-October 1, live on Sky Sports, where Europe will be looking to regain the trophy after a record-breaking defeat to Team USA in 2021.

The Swede, who only joined the paid ranks in June after an impressive amateur career, strengthened his hopes when he marked his ninth event as a professional with an impressive two-shot victory and maiden DP World Tour title in Switzerland on Sunday.

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Highlights from the fourth round of the Omega European Masters at the Golf-Club Crans-sur-Sierre in Switzerland

Åberg carded a final-round 64 at Crans-sur-Sierre to finish two strokes clear of Alexander Bjork, with the win lifting him inside the world’s top 100 and making a big enough statement to earn him a surprise appearance for Team Europe.

Fleetwood returns for a third consecutive appearance after narrowly missing out on automatic qualification via the World Points List, with the Englishman winning four points for Europe in their 2018 victory at Le Golf National.

MEMPHIS, TN - AUGUST 12: Tommy Fleetwood watches his tee shot on No. 18 during the third round of the FedEx St. Jude Championship, August 12, 2023 at TPC Southward in Memphis, Tennessee. (Photo by Matthew Maxey/Icon Sportswire) (Icon Sportswire via AP Images)
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Tommy Fleetwood has posted top-25 finishes in 10 of his last 12 worldwide starts

Lowry is included despite only registering one worldwide top 10 since his victory at the BMW PGA Championship last September, although did post three top-20 finishes in major his year, while Rose returns to the European line-up after missing out on a captain’s pick in the 2021 contest.

Hojgaard makes his maiden appearance after top-five finishes in his last two DP World Tour starts, with the Dane a former winner of the DS Automobiles Italian Open – held at the same venue as the Ryder Cup – in 2021.

Nicolai Hojgaard in action at the Hero Cup at Abu Dhabi Golf Club, in January 2023
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Nicolai Hojgaard featured in the Hero Cup for Continental Europe earlier this season

Straka won the John Deere Classic and finished runner-up at The Open in July, with the Austrian handed a Ryder Cup debut after an impressive season on the PGA Tour, while Adrian Meronk narrowly missed out despite winning the Italian Open earlier this season.

Donald: Åberg a ‘generational player’

Åberg will make the quickest transition from the amateur game to the Ryder Cup in the event’s history, eclipsing Sergio Garcia’s record in 1999, with Donald excited by the Swede’s potential.

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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.

“Ludvig is a generational player, he’ll be around a long time and done amazing things,” Donald told Sky Sports. “If he didn’t make this one he’d be around for the next eight Ryder Cups, that’s how good I think he is.

“He’s such a cool cucumber, goes about his business so easily, has a great way about him and hits some of the most amazing shots. If you look at stats this year, he’d be the No 1 driver in the world ahead of McIlroy and Scheffler – that’s pretty high standards.”

Speaking about Åberg, Donald added: “We obviously knew what he was doing in the college scene. You look at what he did in those four years and the only comparables really were Viktor Hovland and Jon Rahm. He is that good.

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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.

“I played with him in Detroit and was blown away by his game. He continued to impress and I challenged him to come over to Europe and play a couple (of events). He was fifth (tied fourth) in the Czech Masters and you know what he did yesterday. It was like a walk in the park for him and for someone that is so inexperienced it was just so, so impressive.”

What about Team USA?

World No 1 Scottie Scheffler topped the USA Ryder Cup rankings ahead of Wyndham Clark and Brian Harman, the two most recent major winners, while Patrick Cantlay, Max Homa and Xander Schauffele completed the automatic qualifiers.

Ryder Cup Team USA
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Team USA will be looking to win back-to-back Ryder Cups and claim a first victory on European soil since 1993

Zach Johnson then named his six captain’s picks on August 29, with Sam Burns, Rickie Fowler, Brooks Koepka, Collin Morikawa, Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas completing their line-up.

Sky Sports will have round-the-clock coverage from the Ryder Cup, with live programming for seven consecutive days from Italy and a host of extra action available throughout the week.

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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