12 Potential Ryder Cup Rookies For Rome 2023

Team USA and Europe have plenty of players who could make their Ryder Cup debuts in Rome later this year

12 potential Ryder Cup rookies
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With 100 days to go the run-up to the Ryder Cup has well and truly begun, with now players starting to establish themselves in the points standings and as possible captains picks, but who will likely make their debuts in Rome?

Both European captain Luke Donald and Team USA skipper Zach Johnson have plenty of freedom in their teams, with just six players qualifying on each team leaving them with six wildcards each to select.

LIV Golf is making a big impact in different ways, with Team Europe stalwarts like Sergio Garcia, Ian Poulter and Lee Westwood out of the picture but Brooks Koepka looks like an automatic qualifier for the US while the likes of Dustin Johnson, Phil Mickelson and Bryson DeChambeau are all eligible for selection. The US will be missing current World No.11, Will Zalatoris, though, who is sidelined after back surgery.

Who will be the rookies making their big Ryder Cup debuts though? Based on the current world rankings, we take a look at six contenders for Team USA and Europe...

Possible Team USA Ryder Cup rookies

Wyndham Clark

Wyndham Clark with the trophy after his US Open win

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It’s not always as simple as win a Major, get in the Ryder Cup team, but if there was any doubt then the way Clark won the US Open means even if he somehow doesn’t qualify Johnson will hand him a pick. He was cool, calm and collected under the most intense pressure, and having never even made the cut at the US Open before. 

Holding off Rory McIlroy down the stretch, he showed clear thinking and a wonderful short game when it really mattered. His putting was magnificent and that’s always crucial in Ryder Cups.

Max Homa

Max Homa talks to the media in the build-up to the 2023 US Open

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He’s still got those Major question marks after drawing another blank on home turf at the US Open, but he’s won six times on the PGA Tour and has got all kinds of game that make him a walk-on to this USA team surely?

Homa was impressive in last year’s Presidents Cup with a perfect 4-0-0 record which will take him a long way, and he’d also be great guy to have around the team room.

Sam Burns

Getty Sam Burns Valspar

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Burns is not the first name on everyone’s lips, but he has been a top 10 player in the world with five PGA Tour wins under his belt – with his latest being the most crucial with it coming in the WGC-Match Play.

His one Presidents Cup appearance didn’t go to plan, but beating Patrick Cantlay, Scottie Scheffler and Cameron Young in the gruelling Match Play in Texas will stand him in good stead.

Cameron Young

Cameron Young with the PGA Tour Rookie of the Year award

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Speaking of Cameron Young, he was the overwhelming winner of the PGA Tour Rookie of the Year award last year where he produced some stellar performances despite not banking a win. He saved his best for the Majors with a runner-up spot at the Open at St Andrews and a T3 at the PGA Championship last year, followed by a T7 at the 2023 Masters.

He won 1.5 points at the Presidents Cup and making the Match Play final in Austin will make Johnson comfortable with selecting him as a pick if he chooses.

Kurt Kitayama

Kurt Kitayama takes a shot during the 2023 Zurich Classic of New Orleans

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A two-time DP World Tour winner, Kitayama’s crowning glory was his maiden PGA Tour success at the Arnold Palmer Invitational this year when he recovered from a final-round triple bogey to make a late birdie and win by one at Bay Hill from Harris English and Rory McIlroy.

That took guts and, along with a quarter-final at the Match Play and T4 at the PGA Championship, will be used to back-up his case for inclusion.

Sahith Theegala

Sahith Theegala takes a shot during the 2022 Sanderson Farms Championship

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The former college standout could be a bit of a wildcard selection but he’s a hugely popular figure with a dashing game and some decent results even this early in his career – including a top 10 finish on his Masters debut this year.

He led the PGA Tour in birdies last season thanks to his attacking game and he’d certainly bring some entertainment value to the Ryder Cup if selected.

Possible Team Europe Ryder Cup rookies

Sepp Straka

Sepp Straka after holing a birdie in the fourth round of the 2022 Honda Classic

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Aiming to follow Bernd Wiesberger as just the second Austrian to play in the Ryder Cup, Straka is the first from his country to win on the PGA Tour after claiming the 2022 Honda Classic.

He was up there challenging at the PGA Championship when finishing T7 so has some big event experience under his belt, which could stand him in good stead if he’s part of Donald’s team.

Seamus Power

barbasol championship

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Also a regular on the PGA Tour, Irishman Power has two wins on the US circuit with the last coming at the start of the wraparound season in October. He showed brilliant consistency with six straight top 15 finishes, including two top fives and big performances in Phoenix and Riviera. 

He’s had no joy in the Majors yet but a top 20 at Quail Hollow showed he does have big-game mentality – but he’ll need a few more eye-catching displays to get the nod against the likes of Straka.

Victor Perez

Victor Perez with the trophy after winning the 2022 KLM Open

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The Edinburgh-based Frenchman is vying with Yannick Paul and Adrian Meronk for the third qualifying spot on the European points list, and has some good form in two Italian Open appearances on the Ryder Cup course to back-up his claims if he needs a pick.

Winning in Abu Dhabi gave his year a huge boost to start with, but he'll need a couple more big displays to force Donald's hand.

Yannik Paul

Yannik Paul fist pumps after holing his putt

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Yannik Paul is looking to become the third German to play in the Ryder Cup and is the man in possession of a qualifying spot after a win in Mallorca last October followed by some consistent performances including two runners-up spots and a third.

Given the quality around him and the veteran players on the world points list you’d think Paul probably needs to qualify automatically to make it to Rome.

Pablo Larrazabal

Pablo Larrazabal takes a shot at the 2022 MyGolfLife Open

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The Spanish have a proud tradition in the Ryder Cup and Donald may aim to partner Jon Rahm up with compatriot Larrazabal, who would be making his debut aged 40 if he can get into the team.

He’s not in the qualifying spots, but with two tournament wins this year, taking his DP World Tour total to nine, and cracking the top 50 in the world for the first time he’s certainly got some decent credentials.

Adrian Meronk

Meronk bites his glove as he stares on into the distance

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The first Polish player to qualify for the Open and first to win on the DP World Tour, Meronk got inside the top 50 in the world and having the latest of his three wins (all national opens) coming at the same Marco Simone course staging the Ryder Cup must be a huge asset for him in Donald’s thinking.

Paul Higham

Paul Higham is a sports journalist with over 20 years of experience in covering most major sporting events for both Sky Sports and BBC Sport. He is currently freelance and covers the golf majors on the BBC Sport website.  Highlights over the years include covering that epic Monday finish in the Ryder Cup at Celtic Manor and watching Rory McIlroy produce one of the most dominant Major wins at the 2011 US Open at Congressional. He also writes betting previews and still feels strangely proud of backing Danny Willett when he won the Masters in 2016 - Willett also praised his putting stroke during a media event before the Open at Hoylake. Favourite interviews he's conducted have been with McIlroy, Paul McGinley, Thomas Bjorn, Rickie Fowler and the enigma that is Victor Dubuisson. A big fan of watching any golf from any tour, sadly he spends more time writing about golf than playing these days with two young children, and as a big fair weather golfer claims playing in shorts is worth at least five shots. Being from Liverpool he loves the likes of Hoylake, Birkdale and the stretch of tracks along England's Golf Coast, but would say his favourite courses played are Kingsbarns and Portrush.