The European Ryder Cup Team has not lost on home soil in 30 years. The team intent on keeping that streak alive is now formalized.
Ludvig Aberg, Tommy Fleetwood, Nicolai Hojgaard, Shane Lowry, Justin Rose and Sepp Straka were revealed as the team’s six captain’s picks to round out the 12-man roster. They join the six automatic qualifiers – Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm, Robert MacIntyre, Viktor Hovland, Tyrrell Hatton and Matt Fitzpatrick – who officially qualified following the Omega European Masters on Sunday. Luke Donald announced the captain’s picks Monday.
"I'm extremely happy with the 12 strong we have, Donald said. "We are in great position."
The picks are a mix of youth and experience, headlined by the addition of Aberg. After finishing No. 1 in the PGA TOUR University rankings this spring to immediately earn his PGA TOUR card, the 23-year-old rookie quickly asserted himself as a professional. His win at the DP World Tour’s Omega European Masters on Sunday capped what was already an impressive summer. Aberg carded back-to-back top 25s to begin his pro career on TOUR, then finished T4 at the John Deere Classic. He ranks first in Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee since joining the TOUR, besting some of the best drivers on TOUR like McIlroy and Rahm. The win in Switzerland showed the full potential of Aberg’s tantalizing talent that Donald couldn’t keep off the European Team. Aberg’s rise is without many parallels, at least as it pertains to the Ryder Cup. He will be the first player to play in the Ryder Cup without having played in a major championship, per Justin Ray of Twenty First Group.
"We obviously knew what he was doing in the college season," Donald said. "You look at what he did those four years and the only comparables really were Viktor Hovland and Jon Rahm in the last 20 years. It's that good what he was doing."
Donald said he challenged Aberg to come play in Europe to lock his spot. He finished fifth two weeks ago, and then won on Sunday.
The additions of Fleetwood, Lowry and Rose, along with an already seasoned group of automatic qualifiers, provide him plenty of experience to help him prepare.
Unlike the U.S. Team, which pulls its automatic qualifiers from one ranking, the European Team’s automatic qualifiers are determined from two rankings: the European Points List and the World Points List.
The top three from the European Points List qualify first, followed by the top three, not otherwise qualified, from the World Points List. McIlroy, Rahm and MacIntyre qualified off the European Points List. Hovland, Hatton and Fitzpatrick qualified off the World Points List.
Read more about the team members at pgatour.com.