Europe's Ryder Cup captain Luke Donald has hinted that the likes of Lee Westwood, Ian Poulter, Sergio Garcia and Paul Casey will not be appearing for Team Europe again.
It's nailed on that Europe will be headlined by Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm, Viktor Hovland and Matt Fitzpatrick - with all four not featuring in the GB&I vs Europe match in Abu Dhabi next month - and the rest of the team will likely come from the Hero Cup.
That means that Westwood, Poulter, Garcia, Casey, McDowell and Kaymer, and even younger LIV Europeans like Sam Horsfield and Laurie Canter, will probably not be teeing it up against Team USA at Marco Simone Golf and Country Club next September.
"You can get a little bit of an idea from the Hero Cup that’s coming up," Donald told the 5 Clubs Podcast (opens in new tab) on how his team might look.
"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."
Donald seemed to confirm that he is hoping to go down a younger route for Rome, with LIV Golf and the DP World Tour, the organisers of Team Europe, currently embroiled in court cases amid golf's new civil war.
"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.”
Tyrrell Hatton, Shane Lowry and GB&I playing captain Tommy Fleetwood are also likely nailed on to feature for Team Europe next year, meaning there could be just five spots left for the younger rookies and returning Ryder Cuppers.
Players like Adrian Meronk, Robert MacIntyre, Seamus Power, Matt Wallace, Jordan Smith, Victor Perez, Nicolai and Rasmus Hojgaard, Sepp Straka, Guido Migliozzi and Thomas Detry will all be in contention to make their debuts if they have strong showings next year. Returning Ryder Cuppers like Thomas Pieters, Alex Noren and Europe's Hero Cup playing captain Francesco Molinari will also fancy their chances too.
Either way, it seems that the race to make Team Europe will be very competitive next year - and the likelihood of LIV Golf players featuring continues to dwindle.
World No.1 Rory McIlroy will be the figurehead of the side and he has been very vocal in his criticism of LIV and the players who left for the Greg Norman-fronted tour.
“I have said it once, I've said it a hundred times, I don't think any of those guys should be on the Ryder Cup team," the Northern Irishman said of LIV Golf players ahead of September's Italian Open.
"I think we were in need of a rebuild, anyway. We did well with the same guys for a very long time but again as I just said, everything comes to an end at some point. I think Whistling Straits is a good sort of demarcation, I guess."
HERO CUP TEAMS
- Francesco MOLINARI (C)
- Thomas DETRY
- Rasmus HØJGAARD
- Adrian MERONK
- Guido MIGLIOZZI
- Alex NOREN
- Victor PEREZ
- Thomas PIETERS
- Sepp STRAKA
- Player TBC
GREAT BRITAIN AND IRELAND
- Tommy FLEETWOOD (C)
- Ewen FERGUSON
- Tyrrell HATTON
- Shane LOWRY
- Robert MACINTYRE
- Séamus POWER
- Callum SHINKWIN
- Jordan SMITH
- Matt WALLACE
- Player TBC
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Elliott Heath is our Senior Staff Writer and has been with Golf Monthly since early 2016 after graduating with a degree in Sports Journalism. He manages the Golf Monthly news, features, courses and travel sections as well as our large Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages. Elliott has interviewed some huge names in the golf world including Sergio Garcia, Thomas Bjorn, Bernd Wiesberger and Scotty Cameron as well as a number of professionals on the DP World and PGA Tours. He covered the 2022 Masters from Augusta National as well as four Open Championships on-site including the 150th at St Andrews. He has played 35 of our Top 100 golf courses, with his favourites being both Sunningdales, Woodhall Spa, Old Head and Turnberry. He has been obsessed with the sport since the age of 8 and currently plays at West Byfleet Golf Club in Surrey, where his handicap index floats anywhere between 2-6. His golfing highlights are making albatross on the 9th hole on the Hotchkin Course at Woodhall Spa, shooting an under-par round, playing in the Aramco Team Series on the Ladies European Tour and making his one and only hole-in-one at the age of 15 - a long time ago now!
Elliott is currently playing:
Driver: Titleist TSR4
3 wood: TaylorMade SIM2 Max
Hybrid: TaylorMade SIM Max
Irons: Mizuno MP5 4-PW
Wedges: Cleveland RTX ZipCore 50, 54, 58
Putter: Odyssey White Hot OG #5
Ball: Titleist Pro V1x
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