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The stage is set. A week after Zach Johnson made his six captain’s picks for the U.S. Ryder Cup team, European captain Luke Donald followed suit on Monday morning to round out his 12-man squad ahead of this year’s event at Marco Simone in Rome, Italy.
The European team’s automatic qualifiers are as follows: Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm, Viktor Hovland, Matthew Fitzpatrick, Tyrrell Hatton, and Robert MacIntyre. It’s an incredibly strong group of six that should make for some epic battles with the American top six later this month.
Donald announced Tommy Fleetwood as his first captain’s pick on Monday followed by Sepp Straka, Justin Rose, Shane Lowry, Nicolai Hojgaard, and Ludvig Aberg. Adrian Meronk and Yannik Paul are the two European players who seemed to have a legitimate shot at receiving a captain’s pick, but Aberg’s win at the Omega Masters over the weekend certainly threw a wrinkle into the equation.
Team Europe features four players – Straka, Aberg, Hojgaard, and MacIntrye – who will be making their Ryder Cup debuts later this month. The American squad has three Ryder Cup rookies with Brian Harman, Wyndham Clark, and Sam Burns set to make their debuts in Rome.
From top to bottom, there is no denying that the American team is stronger – at least on paper – but Ryder Cups aren’t won on paper. The U.S. also has a ginormous monkey on its back heading into Italy as the Americans have not won a Ryder Cup since 1993.
The U.S. dominated the Europeans in 2021 by a count of 19-9 at Whistling Straits.
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