2023 Ryder Cup: European Captain’s Picks Preview

2023 Ryder Cup, Rome, European Captain Luke Donald, U.S. Captain Zach Johnson,(Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
2023 Ryder Cup, Rome, European Captain Luke Donald, U.S. Captain Zach Johnson,(Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images) /

With the FedEx Cup Playoffs upon us and the 2023 Ryder Cup just around the corner, the time for players to make a push to be on the Ryder Cup team is now.

For the European side, Captain Luke Donald will have his eye on a group of potential team members to see how they perform during the playoffs and whether their current form warrants one of the six captain’s picks afforded to each side.

Qualification for the European team is through the European Points list and the World Points list with the top three players from each earning an automatic spot in Rome. As it stands, those players are Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm, and Robert MacIntyre through the European Points list; and Viktor Hovland, Tyrrell Hatton, and Tommy Fleetwood through the World Points list. Everyone except for MacIntyre has Ryder Cup experience.

That’s a good start for Donald who will need that team experience to succeed, as the Europeans are coming off a drubbing at the hands of the Americans, 19-9, in 2021 at Whistling Straits in Wisconsin.

As we look ahead to late September, here is what these hopeful European Ryder Cup players need to do to lock up their spot in Rome.

Matt Fitzpatrick

Fitzpatrick is just outside the automatic qualifier spots on the World Points list. He’s a two-time Ryder Cup veteran and a major champion now, having shown himself as a fierce and reliable competitor. Plus, Marco Simone should set up well for Fitzpatrick’s accuracy and putting prowess.

He’s all but guaranteed a spot in Rome, but a few high finishes in the FedEx Cup Playoff events will cement it.

Sepp Straka

An unfamiliar name to begin the season, Straka has appeared on the first page of many leaderboards this season, most notably following up his win at the John Deere Classic with a T2 at The Open Championship two weeks later.

Straka is 15th in the FedEx Cup standings and will be eager for another T5 finish in a playoff event to remove any doubt from Captain Donald’s mind about selecting the Austrian.

Ryder Cup, Rome, 2023 Ryder Cup, European Ryder Cup Team, Luke Donald, Matt Fitzpatrick, Justin Rose, Shane Lowry
Adrian Meronk, 2023 Betfred British Masters, (Photo by Kate McShane/Getty Images) /

European Ryder Cup hopeful – Adrian Meronk

Meronk roared onto the scene in 2022 with wins at the Horizon Irish Open and ISPS Handa Australian Open, making him the first Polish player to win a DP World Tour event. He won again this June at the DS Automobiles Italian Open, but some inconsistent play has plagued him for much of 2023.

Meronk is not eligible for the FedEx Cup Playoffs and isn’t currently listed in the field for the DP World Tour’s ISPS HANDA World Invitational in two weeks, meaning he won’t have an opportunity to impress Captain Donald, while other Euros in the playoffs will have that chance.

If Meronk doesn’t add a DP World Tour event between now and the Ryder Cup (and perform well in it), he may just miss out on becoming the first Polish player to play in a Ryder Cup.

Shane Lowry

Lowry was a beacon of consistency in 2022, but his 2023 campaign has been anything but. In fact, his highest finish of the season came back in February when he finished T5 at The Honda Classic. He made his Ryder Cup debut in 2021 at Whistling Straits and was one of the few bright spots for the European side with his unbridled enthusiasm and grind-it-out mentality.

Despite his rocky play this season, that enthusiasm and grit is exactly what this European team will need to contend with the Americans in September. And that is exactly why Captain Donald will choose Lowry.

Justin Rose

Justin Rose has been a member of five Ryder Cup teams, including three winning squads, and has earned 14 points in his Ryder Cup career. That alone warrants consideration. Bake in a win at Pebble Beach in February and Top-10 finishes at THE PLAYERS Championship and the PGA Championship and we can see how Rose flourishes in big-time events.

Rose sits 33rd in the FedEx Cup playoffs and may need to earn his way to The Tour Championship (Top 30) to solidify his spot on the team. Still, Captain Donald has been in the trenches fighting Ryder Cup battles with Rose for the better part of two decades and he’ll be eager to find a spot on the team for the Englishman.

dark. Next. U.S. Open Champ secures Ryder Cup spot

Other European players to keep an eye on include Rasmus Højgaard, Yannik Paul, Victor Perez, and recent winner and PGA Tour rookie, Vincent Norrman.

The 2023 Ryder Cup will be held September 29 – October 1 at Marco Simone Golf & Country Club in Rome.