Thank you for signing up to Golf Monthly. You will receive a verification email shortly.
There was a problem. Please refresh the page and try again.
After months of speculation, Luke Donald has named his six wildcards for the Ryder Cup to complete his 12-player team for highly anticipated match against the US at Marco Simone.
Once the controversial issue over whether LIV Golf players would make his team was largely settled with the resignations of several contenders from the DP World Tour, attention turned to others, with the likes of Adrian Meronk and Seamus Power apparently in contention.
In the end, a mix of fresh faces and experience made up Donald’s wildcards, with Tommy Fleetwood, Shane Lowry and Justin Rose chosen alongside newcomers Sepp Straka, Nicolai Hojgaard and Ludvig Aberg.
Considering how many others were in contention for one of Luke Donald’s wildcards, it’s not surprising that opinions on his selections are varied, with many taking to X (formerly Twitter) to air their views.
Meronk secured the Italian Open title at the venue for the match in May, and his absence is the most contentious, with some, including Golf Monthly's Paul Higham, Michael Weston and Nick Bonfield, plus Sky Sports commentator Richard Kaufman, questioning the decision to leave him out while acknowledging the 12 heading to Italy still looks like a strong team.
Meronk the big casualty but you can't really argue with that 12 for the Ryer Cup... pic.twitter.com/tDjGRo13HQSeptember 4, 2023
Gutted for Adrian Meronk. It’s a strong team but I think he really deserved a spot.September 4, 2023
Tough break for Adrian Meronk, but I really like the look of that team. I really fancy our chancesSeptember 4, 2023
We can all debate whether Meronk should have gotten the call and he made a strong case. But that's a 12 that will have an excellent chance of winning back the cup. https://t.co/zAwX7d47jvSeptember 4, 2023
It’s not just the Italian Open where Meronk has excelled recently. He also won the Irish Open in July last year and the Australian Open last December, and that’s something others, including popular golf account Flushing It, Sky Sports presenter Jamie Weir and DP World Tour pros Ross Fisher and Scott Hend, were keen to point out.
Adrian Meronk won the Australian, Irish and Italian Opens, has 5 other top 10s, is 3rd on the Race to Dubai and has won at the host venue, yet he hasn’t received a captains pick for the Ryder Cup in Rome. Regardless of your opinion, it’s been an incredible breakout season for… pic.twitter.com/j0XYuYqLJMSeptember 4, 2023
Feel desperately sorry for Adrian Meronk. Three big wins in 16 months, including around Marco Simone, hits it long and straight. Must have been the tightest of calls. The unfortunate 13th man.September 4, 2023
Don't get me wrong it's a super strong team and excited to watch but really feel for Meronk. Won round Italy and has won in OZ, great driver, ball striker 🤷🏻♂️. Very unlucky but no doubt he'll play RCSeptember 4, 2023
Interesting picks from Donald there... Was a tough job to do for sure... Got to feel for Meronk, has Won Tournaments all around the World and misses out... This is Team Golf, picks are made to form a side, someone always misses out. @RyderCupEurope #JustSayn #GoflLife #ItsOn ⛳️🏌🏻♂️September 4, 2023
While Meronk misses out on his maiden Ryder Cup appearance, Dane Nicolai Hojgaard gets the chance to show what he can do in the match for the first time. However, some people were perplexed that he made the team at the expense of the in-form Pole. One was journalist Evin Priest, who described the decision as "nuts":
I think picking Hojgaard over Meronk is nuts. Three victories in Europe including the Italian Open at the Ryder Cup course? Scratching my head.September 4, 2023
Golf account No Laying Up wasn't quite as direct, but also questioned the decision to choose Hojgaard over Meronk, writing: "I don't envy Luke Donald for this final decision. Nicolai vs. Meronk is a close call by the numbers, and it's hard from a PR perspective to pass on the guy that won on this course earlier this year. But what an incredible endorsement of the 22 year old Nicolai Hojgaard."
I don't envy Luke Donald for this final decision. Nicolai vs. Meronk is a close call by the numbers, and it's hard from a PR perspective to pass on the guy that won on this course earlier this year. But what an incredible endorsement of the 22 year old Nicolai Hojgaard.September 4, 2023
Meanwhile, another player given the nod by Donald, 2019 Open champion Shane Lowry, is not a universally popular choice given his underwhelming recent form which has failed to yield a top-10 finish since February’s Honda Classic.
Golf journalist John Huggan wrote: "Much as I love the way Shane Lowry plays golf…am a huge fan…not sure I can work out how he is in the Ryder cup team ahead of Adrian Meronk. Over and over, Donald said he was looking for guys 'in form.' So something clearly changed. Shane hasn’t had a top-ten anywhere since Feb."
Much as I love the way Shane Lowry plays golf…am a huge fan…not sure I can work out how he is in the Ryder cup team ahead of Adrian Meronk. Over and over, Donald said he was looking for guys “in form.” So something clearly changed. Shane hasn’t had a top-ten anywhere since Feb.September 4, 2023
Aberg is another who will make his maiden appearance, and journalist Justin Ray pointed out an incredible Major stat on the Swede following his wildcard pick.
Ludvig Aberg will be the first player in history to play in a Ryder Cup before playing in his first major championship. https://t.co/t8FGrYh7FJSeptember 4, 2023
Not everyone shared the view that Team Europe is looking strong, either, with stats guru Lou Stagner writing: “The European team is VERY weak” and suggesting Team USA are near certainties to win its first Ryder Cup in Europe for three decades.
The European Ryder Cup team is VERY weak. USA is a LOCK. TAKE IT TO THE BANK. 😉 pic.twitter.com/CXVYL26mcISeptember 4, 2023
Away from discussion on the merits of the team and who should – and shouldn’t – be in it, popular Official World Golf Ranking analyst Nosferatu pointed out the youthful make-up of the team compared to 2021 with the team having an average age of five years younger while maintaining a similar average world ranking.
Team @RyderCupEurope 2023 🇪🇺Average age: 30.5 Average #OWGR: ~30Previous #RyderCup #TeamEurope (2021):Average age: 35.1 Average #OWGR: ~29.9Same rank, but 5 years younger!#GoEurope 💪🇪🇺🏆September 4, 2023
With the match still several weeks away, debate over whether Donald has made the right calls likely has plenty of room to run. Of course, all will be forgotten if the 12 who represent Team Europe ultimately complete the task of securing its first Ryder Cup title since the 2018 match at Le Golf National in France.
Get the Golf Monthly Newsletter
Tips on how to play better, latest equipment reviews, interviews with the biggest names and more.
Mike has over 25 years of experience in journalism, including writing on a range of sports throughout that time, such as golf, football and cricket. Now a freelance staff writer for Golf Monthly, he is dedicated to covering the game's most newsworthy stories.
He has written hundreds of articles on the game, from features offering insights into how members of the public can play some of the world's most revered courses, to breaking news stories affecting everything from the PGA Tour and LIV Golf to developmental Tours and the amateur game.
Mike grew up in East Yorkshire and began his career in journalism in 1997. He then moved to London in 2003 as his career flourished, and nowadays resides in New Brunswick, Canada, where he and his wife raise their young family less than a mile from his local course.
Kevin Cook’s acclaimed 2007 biography, Tommy’s Honour, about golf’s founding father and son, remains one of his all-time favourite sports books.
'It Cleanses Me' - DJ Khaled Reveals How Golf Has Changed His Life
The American DJ has caught the golf bug in a big way
By Michael Weston Published
Charley Hull At '80%' In Solheim Cup Practice After Injury Scare
Charley Hull admits she has been limited in practice due to a neck injury but insisted she'll be ready to go for Friday's Solheim Cup start
By Paul Higham Published
12 Highest Ranked Players Missing The Solheim Cup This Week
Both teams are stacked with top players for the biennial match at Finca Cortesin, but some big names are missing out
By Mike Hall Published
'I Don’t Know What’s Going On' - Major Winner Calls Out PGA Tour's FedEx Cup Fall
Jimmy Walker gave an outspoken response when asked about the move to change the FedEx Cup qualifying numbers from 125 to 70
By Matt Cradock Published
Robert MacIntyre Heckled By Spectator At BMW PGA Championship
The Scot was the latest player to be targeted by a fan as professional golf continues to grapple with the rise of sports betting
By Ben Fleming Published
Justin Thomas In Contention At Fortinet Championship Ahead Of Ryder Cup
The American sits four back of the lead heading into the weekend in a timely return to form ahead of the Ryder Cup in two weeks
By Ben Fleming Published
All 12 European Ryder Cup Members Make Cut At BMW PGA Championship
Ludvig Aberg leads the way at Wentworth as all twelve members of Team Europe made the cut following the end of round two
By Ben Fleming Published
BMW PGA Championship Tee Times 2023 - Fourth Round
Ludvig Aberg will try to beat off competition from Ryder Cup team-mates to win his second pro tournament in three weeks
By James Nursey Published
Golf Foundation Launches Initiative To Help Mental Wellbeing In Schools
Unleash Your Drive aims to introduce golf at any school in Great Britain and Ireland to help children of all backgrounds
By Mike Hall Published
Justin Thomas Describes ‘Brutal’ Wait For US Ryder Cup Wildcard
The two-time PGA Champion has explained he was far from sure he had done enough to make the US Ryder Cup team
By Mike Hall Published