Inicio Blogs David Durán How far has Luke Donald ‘made’ his six choices?
Ryder Cup 2023

How far has Luke Donald ‘made’ his six choices?

Luke Donald. © Golffile | Pedro Salado
Luke Donald. © Golffile | Pedro Salado

There are two tournaments left of the DP World Tour, Czech Republic and Switzerland, in which the final composition of the European Ryder team is at stake. In these, and certainly also in the PGA Tour Championship that starts tomorrow, the candidates who have not yet sealed their presence will have to score the necessary points or convince the captain, Luke Donald, for his six choices.

Let’s focus precisely on those six choices. Donald has not yet closed that list, but he has obviously already outlined the main lines of it.

Let’s go in parts and start with the simplest one, which is that of those players who have dropped out of the fight to enter the team and ‘facilitate’ Donald’s discards. In this group, the names of Seamus Power, Alex Noren and Thomas Detry stand out. None of them have been fine in recent months or even move in the hottest area of the ranking lists, and despite this they will not play in the Czech Republic or Switzerland, nor are they in the Tour Championship, the final of the PGA Tour. White and in bottle. Neither has Aaron Rai wanted to exhaust his options on this side of the Atlantic.

There are two names that at this stage already seem fixed in Donald’s six choices. Namely: Matt Fizpatrick and Sepp Straka. Fitzpatrick and Straka could well this week oust Hatton or Fleetwood from the world list, depending on what happens in the Tour Championship, where all four are playing, but it doesn’t matter, they are interchangeable names: all four will be in the team. Straka is one of the relative surprises of the last minute, because he was one of those players who, let’s say, was going to be demanded more than others when it came to counting for the choices, but his current great moment leaves little room for doubt and he was already in the Hero Cup, where he did very interesting things.

There are two other names that we could almost also include among the six chosen: Shane Lowry and Justin Rose.

Rose has accumulated enough merits and Donald would be delighted to give a place to a player of his experience and category. As for Shane Lowry… The truth is that the Irishman has not met all expectations, since it was expected of him to earn a place on his own. But he is playing this week in the Czech Republic, attending Donald’s ‘mandate’, who has asked all the candidates to be there, and it gives the feeling that this gesture will be enough. It cannot be said that Lowry is now a safe value on the field, but the European staff is confident that this player will know how to take the bull by the horns when the time comes.

As the absence of Rose or Lowry would truly be a surprise, there would actually be two real choices open, always also pending what happens with the third place in the European classification, currently held by Robert Macyntire. For these last two choices, some indications can be given, beyond the position that each one now occupies in the different lists.

There are some players who start these two weeks with more ground gained, for different aspects. I mean that if they do well in the Czech Republic and Switzerland, without needing to win, they will be in the final shortlist. In this group we mainly include the Hojgaard brothers, Pablo Larrazábal and Thorbjorn Olesen. Also Adrian Meronk. And, perhaps, Victor Perez, despite his grey performance in recent times; but the Frenchman gained a lot of credit in the Hero Cup both inside and outside the ropes.

There are other players who have to do something more, or directly ‘steal’ MacIntyre’s place in the European list. Here we would include Yannick Paul, Adrián Otaegui, Jorge Campillo or Antoine Rozner.

A last name, that of Francesco Molinari. Both Donald and the Italian practically take for granted that his current level of play is not enough to go to the Ryder and that is why his appointment as vice-captain was decided… But if there is someone who could break all the plans, it is Molinari, as long as he dazzled this week in the Czech Republic.

David Durán’s Blog