Captain Donald Hints At New-Look Europe Team

When a Ryder Cup captain suggests that his team might have a different look to it than in previous years then you can pretty much take him at his word. The run-up to the matches is generally a collection of words that actually say very little but Luke Donald has already been quite open, relatively speaking, on how his European team will appear.

It still remains up in the air whether the LIV Golf crowd will be eligible to even play in the matches in Rome but Donald explained on the Five Clubs podcast that this might be a watershed team in terms of a lack of familiar faces.

At Whistling Straits Lee Westwood, Sergio Garcia, Ian Poulter, Paul Casey and Bernd Wiesberger were all part of Padraig Harrington’s side with the first four of those names all in the over-40 bracket and now looking like they’ve played their last matches.

"You can get a little bit of an idea from the Hero Cup that’s coming up," Donald said. “First of all it’s a great opportunity to get some younger guys into the team room, playing together and seeing how they bond. This is an important step to bring a matchplay event back to the European schedule.

"There are some great young players. I’m very excited about some of the core players who have started playing well again but there’s a new generation of players who are hungry to make that Ryder Cup."

Continental Europe: Francesco Molinari (c), Thomas Detry, Rasmus Hojgaard, Adrian Meronk, Guido Migliozzi, Alex Noren, Victor Perez, Thomas Pieters, Sepp Straka, TBC

Great Britain and Ireland: Tommy Fleetwood (c), Ewen Ferguson, Tyrrell Hatton, Shane Lowry, Robert MacIntyre, Seamus Power, Callum Shinkwin, Jordan Smith, Matt Wallace, TBC

With one player still to be named the Hero Cup teams look like this and Donald hinted that Europe will likely follow the American route of going with some youngsters.

"The US team have had a shift where they have gone with younger players with less scar tissue; guys that seem to get on very well. Europe is starting to go through a similar shift," he said. "A lot of the guys who have been stalwarts are coming towards the end of their careers. I’m not saying they don’t have opportunities to make further Ryder Cups but it’s becoming less and less likely so we need some of these younger guys to step up and fill some of those holes.”

The backbone of Europe’s team looks very solid as things stand with what looks like seven certainties for next year. They will be Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm, Matt Fitzpatrick, Tyrrell Hatton, Shane Lowry, Tommy Fleetwood and Viktor Hovland which leaves space for five more.