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Less than 100 days to Italy: Updated look at the potential European 2023 Ryder Cup team

Mark your calendars, golf fans. The Ryder Cup is less than 100 days away.

That’s right, in just about three months the United States will look to not just defend its Cup title against the Europeans, but also win for the first time on foreign soil in 30 years.

Twelve of the best players from the U.S. will take on Europe’s 12 best at Marco Simone Golf and Country Club in Rome, Italy, for the 2023 Ryder Cup, Sept. 29–Oct. 1, and the teams are starting to take shape.

Qualification for Team Europe began at the 2022 BMW PGA Championship and ends Sept. 3, 2023, three weeks before the Ryder Cup. Six players will automatically qualify, three from a European Points List and three from a World Points List. Captain Luke Donald will then announce his six captain’s picks. DP World Tour CEO Keith Pelley said LIV Golf players can still represent Team Europe, but qualification may be difficult.

Here’s an updated look at what the European team may look like less than 100 days out from Italy.

MORE: Updated look at Team USA

Jon Rahm

Does this even need an explanation? Rahm leads both points lists, he’s ranked No. 2 in the world and has four wins on the season, including his second major at the Masters. Rahm is 4-3-1 in two previous appearances and Donald may lean on him to help set the tone for what may be a young, inexperienced team.

Rory McIlroy

McIlroy is the heartbeat of this team. Currently second on both points lists behind Rahm, McIlroy (12-12-4 in six appearances for the Europeans) has a win and two runner-up finishes this year, most recently at the U.S. Open. McIlroy’s word also carries some weight, and he’s been adamant about two things: LIV players not being on the team and rookies getting a shot. But more on that later. Back to the current automatic qualifiers.

Yannik Paul

Say hey, Yannik Paul.

The German won for the first time on the DP World Tour last year at the Mallorca Golf Open and finds himself third on the European points list thanks to three top-five finishes this season in Europe. He’ll need to stay in form to hold off the handful of veterans chasing him down for automatic selection, but given his form this year, he’s done enough to at the very least be considered for a captain’s pick.

2023 PGA Championship
Yannik Paul of Germany plays his shot from the ninth tee during a practice round prior to the 2023 PGA Championship at Oak Hill Country Club on May 15, 2023 in Rochester, New York. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Viktor Hovland

The next three players come from the World points list, and first up is Hovland, who went an unflattering 0-3-2 in his anticipated Ryder Cup debut in 2021. Over the last two years the Oklahoma State product has gained some immense professional experience that will do him well in Italy. This season on the PGA Tour the Norwegian has a win and a runner-up with seven top-10 finishes.

Viktor Hovland of Norway and team Europe celebrates during Saturday Afternoon Fourball Matches of the 43rd Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits on September 25, 2021 in Kohler, Wisconsin. (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)
Viktor Hovland of Norway and team Europe celebrates during Saturday Afternoon Fourball Matches of the 43rd Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits on September 25, 2021 in Kohler, Wisconsin. (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)

Tyrrell Hatton

Everyone’s favorite Angry Golfer is in some serious form these days. Now fourth on the World list, in 16 PGA Tour starts Hatton has a runner-up at the Players Championship and 10 top-25 finishes, with six in the top 10. In two past appearances he’s got a 2-4-1 record in the event. He also finished eighth at the 2022 Italian Open at Marco Simone.

Ryder Cup
Tyrrell Hatton reacts to his putt on the 18th green during day one foursome matches for the 43rd Ryder Cup golf competition at Whistling Straits. (Photo: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports)

Matt Fitzpatrick

The 2022 U.S. Open champion comes in at fifth on the World list and has a guaranteed spot, whether by pick or automatic qualification. Yes, he’s a winless 0-5-0 in two previous appearances for Team Europe, but Fitzpatrick is a completely different player now. He’s added some crazy speed and knows how to handle the pressure of the sport’s biggest moments. The 29-year-old Englishman will feature on this team for the foreseeable future.

Oh yeah, he also finished runner-up at the 2022 Italian Open at Marco Simone after losing a playoff to Robert MacIntyre.

Ryder Cup
Matthew Fitzpatrick of England and team Europe lines up a putt during Friday Morning Foursome Matches of the 43rd Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits on September 24, 2021 in Kohler, Wisconsin. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

Tommy Fleetwood

Fleetwood came oh so close to that elusive first PGA Tour win a couple weeks back at the RBC Canadian Open and has five top 10s to his name so far this season. He’s 4-2-2 in two previous appearances and on the edge of automatic qualification. Save a spot for Fleetwood (who also finished T-2 at the 2021 Italian Open at Marco Simone) on the flight.

Shane Lowry

Lowry went 1-2-0 in his Ryder Cup debut in 2021, and while he won’t be a veteran in appearances, the 2019 Open champion will be a player some of the younger guys will look up to due to his stature in the game and in Europe. Like Fleetwood, Lowry is on the outside looking in and would need a captain’s pick, but he’s also got a few months to make a move.

Ryder Cup 2021
Ryder Cup 2021

Justin Rose

Rose won for the first time since 2019 earlier this year at Pebble Beach and has been in the mix of late on Tour, with five top-10 finishes. The veteran has five appearances to his name with a strong 13-8-2 record. A little senior leadership and experience would do the Euros well.

Justin Rose
Justin Rose

Final three spots

Barring some material change in the rankings, a player’s form or health, let’s assume the previous nine names will be involved for Team Europe. That means Donald and Co. can get creative with their final three picks.

A year out from the event it seemed like Robert MacIntyre would be a guarantee given his 2022 Italian Open win at Marco Simone and support from McIlroy. He was third on both points lists but has since fallen to 18th on the World list and 17th on the European list.

As the first Ryder Cup to be held in Italy, an Italian has to be on this team, right? If they want some youthful energy, Donald can go with 26-year-old Guido Migliozzi, with whom he played at the 2022 Italian Open at Marco Simone, where Migliozzi finished T-34. Or maybe the Moliwood pairing comes back with Francesco Molinari (5-4-2 in his Ryder Cup history), whose brother Edoardo will serve as a vice-captain. Maybe both Italians get picked and we see a veteran/rookie pairing.

Speaking of brothers, what about the Hojgaard twins, Rasmus and Nicolai? Both have already won multiple times on the DP World Tour at just 22 years old and would make for a fun pairing, not to mention their strong course history. Nicolai won the Italian Open at Marco Simone in 2021, finished T-5 in 2023 and T-27 in 2022, whereas Rasmus finished T-18 in 2021, T-27 in 2022 and T-47 in 2023.

Other players who may have something to say over the next three months are Sepp Straka, Seamus Power, Victor Perez and Adrian Meronk.

As for LIV players, are any in good enough form to be considered for a pick? Not quite. Euro team members in 2021 who have joined the Saudi-backed circuit are Bernd Wiesberger and Paul Casey, and they won’t be in Italy. Veterans Ian Poulter, Sergio Garcia and Lee Westwood all resigned their DP World Tour membership, so they’re out of the question, too.

Donald and his vice captains will have plenty of options to fill out their squad, but will it be enough to contend with the projected American team?

Story originally appeared on GolfWeek