Ludvig Aberg has been selected to become the most inexperienced player in Ryder Cup history just four months after leaving college to turn professional.
The 23-year-old Swede was one of six wildcard picks named by Luke Donald on Monday, the day after he celebrated his maiden professional title by beating his team-mate Matt Fitzpatrick to the European Masters.
Fitzpatrick qualified automatically by finishing in a tie for third place, as did Scotland’s Robert Macintyre whose level-par final round was good enough for a tie for 55th place and secured enough points to hold off Yannik Paul, Adrian Meronk, Victor Perez, Rasmus Hojgaard and Adrian Otaegui on the European list.
When are the Ryder Cup teams announced?
Both teams have now been named.
Who is on Team Europe?
Along with his appointed vice-captains Francesco Molinari, Edoardo Molinari, José María Olazábal, Thomas Bjorn and Nicolas Colsaerts, Donald has made some big calls with his wildcards.
The spine of his team had already been locked in through automatic qualification: Rory McIlroy, John Rahm, Tyrrell Hatton, Viktor Hovland, Matt Fitzpatrick and Robert Macintyre were already confirmed for Team Europe before Monday’s announcement, where they were augmented by two Englishmen, an Irishman, an Austrian, a Swede and a Dane.
Rory McIlroy (Northern Ireland)
Jon Rahm (Spain)
Robert MacIntyre (Scotland)
Viktor Hovland (Norway)
Tyrrell Hatton (England)
Matt Fitzpatrick (England)
Tommy Fleetwood (England)
Sepp Straka (Austria)
Justin Rose (England)
Shane Lowry (Ireland)
Nicolai Hojgaard (Denmark)
Ludvig Aberg (Sweden)
Why Aberg is name on everyone’s lips
Luke Donald had been warned heading into the weekend not to gamble on Aberg given his lack of appearances on the DP World Tour, with all but two of his nine tournaments since turning professional coming on the PGA Tour. Eddie Pepperell, the two-time Tour winner, feared his selection would risk upsetting the regulars who will miss out after a long season trying to make the cut – though he did concede his unlikely victory in Switzerland would make the Scandinavian harder to ignore.
The decision to include Aberg also means Donald omitted Adrian Meronk who won the Italian Open on the Ryder Cup course at Marco Simone in May and finished fifth on the European points table.
Who is on Team USA?
Five-time major winner Jordan Spieth, Collin Morikawa, Sam Burns and Rickie Fowler complete the US captain’s six picks to join automatic qualifiers Scottie Scheffler, Open Champion Brian Harman, US Open winner Wyndham Clark, Max Homa, Patrick Cantlay and Xander Schuaffele.
Thomas failed to qualify for the FedEx Cup play-offs and admitted it had been “humiliating and embarrassing” to card a second round of 81 in the US Open in June.
The two-time major winner also carded an opening 82 in the Open at Royal Liverpool, but has still been selected by Johnson ahead of the likes of Keegan Bradley and Cameron Young.
Why are Sergio Garcia, Lee Westwood and other LIV golfers not playing in the Ryder Cup?
Players must be members of the DP World Tour in order to represent Europe in the Ryder Cup, something Garcia, Westwood and others gave up earlier this year.
The likes of Garcia, Westwood and Ian Poulter were fined up to £100,000 and given a three-event ban as punishment for breaking away from the Tour.
These sanctions were subject to a legal challenge from the players, but when the punishments were upheld Europe’s LIV players decided to hand in their cards.
Why has Brooks Koepka been selected?
The key distinction with the US team is that Ryder Cup eligibility is not linked to the PGA Tour but to membership of the PGA of America.
All of American’s LIV players remain members of the PGA of America, if not the PGA Tour. Koepka won the US PGA Championship at Oak Hill in May and finished second at the Masters, although that was not enough to qualify for the team automatically. Johnson decided that form was strong enough to warrant a captain’s pick.
What is Luke Donald saying?
Europe captain Luke Donald admitted he had been “blown away” by the ability of Ludvig Aberg after handing the rising star one of his six wild cards for the 44th Ryder Cup in Rome.
Aberg, a former world No1 amateur, turned professional only in June, but won the final qualifying event in Switzerland on Sunday with a final round of 64 at Crans-sur-Sierre.
Speaking about the 23-year-old, Donald said: “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.
“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 is Zach Johnson saying?
Team USA will attempt to win on European soil for the first time since 1993 and Johnson concluded Thomas’s experience was key to him overlooking his current form and picking him.
“Justin Thomas is one of the talented golfers on the PGA Tour in my opinion. He has been without question the heart and soul of Team USA. He has been our emotional leader, he just leads by example.
“Overall he has a fantastic Ryder Cup record. In my mind he was born for this and in my mind you just don’t leave JT at home.”
Koepka, who lifted the PGA Championship this year, is the only golfer on the LIV circuit to be selected with Bryson DeChambeau, Talor Gooch and Dustin Johnson being overlooked by Johnson.
“He is built for the biggest stages and there is no bigger stage in world golf than the Ryder Cup,” said Johnson about picking Koepka.. “His buddies want him on the team and he is very versatile, guys want to play with him and I am excited to have him with us at Marco Simone.”