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Ryder Cup 2023: Ludvig Aberg to make debut as Nicolai Hojgaard also gets nod in Luke Donald’s captain’s picks

Ryder Cup 2023: Ludvig Aberg to make debut as Nicolai Hojgaard also gets nod in Luke Donald’s captain’s picks

Ludvig Aberg will make his Ryder Cup debut after he was confirmed as one of Luke Donald’s six captain’s picks.

The 23-year-old only turned professional in June, having been a hugely successful amateur, and becomes the first player in Ryder Cup history to play in the competition before appearing in a major championship.

Aberg is one of three rookies in Donald’s selections for Rome, along with Sepp Straka and Nicolai Hojgaard, with the other three wildcard picks going as expected to Justin Rose, Shane Lowry and Tommy Fleetwood.

That means there is no space on the team for Adrian Meronk, despite the Pole having three DP World Tour wins over the last 14 months, including one at the Marco Simone Golf and Country Club where the Ryder Cup will be held. He sits third in the Race to Dubai standings, behind only Rory McIlroy and Jon Rahm.

The good form of Aberg, who won the European Masters in Switzerland on Sunday, and Hojgaard, who has finished in the top five in his last two starts, means Meronk misses out.

“I have faith in Ludvig, I think he’ll be a generational player,” Donald said when explaining his picks.

“He’s going to be around a long time and do amazing things. If he wasn’t going to play this one, he was going to play the next eight. That’s how good I think he is.”

“He hits some of the most amazing shots. If you look at his statistics this year he would be the number one driver in the world ahead of Rory McIlroy and Scottie Scheffler and those are pretty high standards for someone just coming out of college.”

The captain’s picks join the six players who had already booked their place in Rome through either the European points pist or the world points list.

Matt Fitzpatrick and Robert MacIntyre secured the final two automatic qualification spots with their performances at the European Masters, while McIlroy, Rahm, Viktor Hovland and Tyrrell Hatton has already confirmed their spots.

The Ryder Cup takes place between September 29 and October 1, with the Europeans looking to win back the trophy after a record defeat at Whistling Straits two years ago.

Team USA captain Zach Johnson announced his six picks a week ago, after Brian Harman, Wyndham Clark, Max Homa, Scottie Scheffler, Xander Schauffele and Patrick Cantlay had already qualified.

Justin Thomas was one of those selected, despite the 30-year-old missing the cut at three of the four majors this year and failing to qualify for the end-of-season playoffs on the PGA Tour.

Brooks Koepka will be the only LIV golfer across the players on both teams, while Johnson also picked Sam Burns, Rickie Fowler, Collin Morikawa and Jordan Spieth.