Ryder Cup

Ryder Cup Player Guide: Profiles of Team Europe

Golfers Scottie Scheffler and Jon Rahm
Can Scottie Scheffler lead the Americans to glory? Or will Jon Rahm and Europe regain the Cup?

Who thrives on home soil? Who struggles on the road? Who is dynamite in fourballs or foursomes? Before striking your bets read Matt Cooper's guide to the Europan team hoping to wrest the Ryder Cup back from US hands at Marco Simone Golf Club.

  • Matt Cooper profiles the European team lining up in Rome

  • Includes full match record

  • Betfair Sportsbook Top European Points Scorer


Luke Donald - captain

Record: 4 appearances (Won 10, Lost 4, Halved 1)

The Englishman had a fine Ryder Cup record as a player and seems likely to bring similar qualities to his leadership: nothing loud, nothing brash. On the other hand, a quiet steeliness, a thoughtful nature and many multi-disciplinary influences. The home team has won 10 of the last 12 Ryder Cups - is that encouraging or intimidating?

Rory McIlroy

Record: 6 appearances (Won 12, Lost 12, Halved 4)

rory mcilroy ryder cup.jpg

It seems extraordinary that the Northern Irishman is yet to top score for Europe but might he need a more straightforward leadership role on Fridays and Saturdays? As in, send him out first. Because he 4-for-4 when opening a foursome or fourball session, but has only 6.5 points from his other 18 matches played with a partner. On his own he has three wins, two losses and a half (and in career match play singles is 40-19-4).

Angle? Further to the point above, in the opening session of the match his only win was when first out and he's lost in the last four opening salvos. Conclusion? Don't let him twiddle his thumbs on Friday morning.

Jon Rahm

Record: 2 appearances (Won 4, Lost 3, Halved 1)

Two days into his 2018 debut the Spaniard was yet to score a point but it's worth noting that both his fourball matches reached the 17th green. He then defeated Tiger Woods in the singles, let fly a fist pump that bruised the clouds and top scored in the defeat that followed two years ago. Europe will expect much but also may not want to ask too much: the only match he lost at Whistling Straits was his fifth of the week.

Angle? He went 3-for-3 with Sergio Garcia last time out and Spanish duos comfortably outscore all other one-nation Euro combinations. Finding a replacement will be key for unlocking the gladiator within.

Robert MacIntyre

Record: debut

After claiming third place in the European points list the Scotsman told the press that on his drive back from the Open he'd decided to put his shinty stick away until the autumn because he couldn't face the idea of getting injured when a debut was in his sights. Good news for Europe, bad news for the first man to mark him post-Rome. There are some who quibble about the 27-year-old's win ratio on tour but he has the capacity to make birdies and play sensational shots, never more apparent than when a brilliant second to McIlroy in the Scottish Open in July.

Angle? He carded a 64 to win the Italian Open at Marco Simone 12 months ago.

Viktor Hovland

Record: 1 appearance (Won 0, Lost 3, Halved 2)

viktor hovland ryder cup.jpg

Don't over-think his debut. A lot was asked of him and a lot will be again, but he's a much better golfer now. It's a process that began with three consecutive major championship challenges, concluding with a painful near-miss in May's PGA Championship. He responded well, however, winning the Memorial Tournament in June and adding back-to-back wins at season's end to land the FexExCup. He didn't play especially well at Marco Simone last year (T34) but it's almost certainly another factor not to fret about.

Angle? He's never played better, he's never had a more solid all-round game, an improvement on 2021 seems likely.

Tyrrell Hatton

Record: 2 appearances (Won 2, Lost 4, Halved 1)

It's over two and a half years since the Englishman last tasted victory but he has been close. In fact, he's landed 15 top six finishes in that stretch, no less than six of them second places, including at Wentworth. He'll want to shore up his Cup record however because he's yet to find his A game in his two appearances.

Angle? He was defeated 3&2 by Patrick Reed in the 2018 singles and 4&3 three years later by Justin Thomas. Should it also be a concern that when taking on other Ryder Cup players (European and US) in the World Match Play he has reaped only two wins and a half from six matches?

Matt Fitzpatrick

Record: 2 appearances (Won 0, Lost 5, Halved 0)

Surely - surely! - the Englishman will improve on his Cup record? Funnily enough, the dire log book has the whiff of deja vu about it. Why so? Well, ahead of last year's PGA Championship he'd landed just one major championship top 10 in 27 attempts whereupon his finished fifth and a month later claimed the US Open. He'll also be hoping for some final day fun because in both singles sessions he's played in so far he was out last and the Cup was more or less decided before he'd even reached the turn.

Angle? All three of his matches in 2021 reached the 17th hinting that the record could easily be different.

Tommy Fleetwood

Record: 2 appearances (Won 4, Lost 2, Halved 2)

tommy fleetwood ryder cup 2018.jpg

Ten years ago the ever-popular Englishman played the Seve Trophy and landed just one point in four matches but ever since has thrived in team competition. He went 3-for-3 in the 2018 EurAsia Trophy, 4-for-5 in that year's Ryder Cup and 3-for-4 in January's Hero Cup. True, he only reaped a point from three matches two years ago but that included two halves and a match that reached the 17th. He's in significantly better form now.

Angle? He was captain of the Great Britain and Ireland team in January's Hero Cup and thrived in the role - Europe will hope for more of the same.

Shane Lowry

Record: 1 appearance (Won 1, Lost 2, Halved 0)

His selection was deemed controversial by many, a consequence of a qualification period that began with victory in last year's BMW PGA Championship and fizzled out. Was it quite as bad as many believed? Maybe not. For example, he ticked off three top 20s in 2023's major championships. It's also the case that Donald wanted a Cup veteran and he was clearly the best of such options with an A-game we know is major championship-winning level.

Angle? There are reasons to be concerned about his match play record. In all tournaments he's won nine, lost 20 and halved three singles matches, and in January's Hero Cup he lost all four matches.

Ludvig Åberg

Record: debut

It's been a funny Ryder Cup campaign for Sweden, one in which the country contrived to lose a captain (Henrik Stenson) and find a superstar (Åberg). Well, captain Donald thinks so - he was wowed by his driving and talked of him possessing an X factor that was reminiscent of Rory McIlroy. Savvy Europeans first heard of him when he won twice on the third tier three years ago, the US college scene really rated him, he impressed on his early forays onto the PGA Tour this summer and confirmed his wildcard with a stunning win in the Swiss Alps.

Angle? Trust the buzz.

Justin Rose

Record: 5 appearances (Won 13, Lost 8, Halved 2)

justin rose 2021 ryder cup.jpg

In terms of percentage of points won, Rose (at 61%) is inferior only to Fleetwood (63%) in this European side - and he's played three times as many matches. His fourball and singles record is 50% which reveals that his strength lies with the alternate shot format: he's won seven, lost two and halved the other. As a veteran we can assume he might be well-used in the foursomes again. He was top scorer for Europe at Gleneagles in 2014 and also stood strong in Paris. In all, his home record is 5-1-1.

Angle? Keep his strength in mind - he's a good man to tally with.

Sepp Straka

Record: debut

Any suggestion back in 2021 that the Austrian would take part in this Ryder Cup might have been viewed with scorn by many. But he won the Honda Classic in early 2022, was twice defeated in play-offs later that year, claimed seventh in the PGA Championship, won the John Deere Classic with a sensational final round of 62, shared second in the Open and has been sixth ranked low-scorer in the last two Tour Championships. It's a very decent resume.

Angle? He was 1-for-6 in the WGC Dell Match Play and 2-for-4 in the Hero Cup (but did win his last two matches after recovering from a 36-hour journey here).

Nicolai Højgaard

Record: debut

In early January his brother Rasmus was not just deemed to be more likely to make a Cup debut, he was actually in the Hero Cup while Nicolai wasn't. However, injury to Rasmus saw the twins swap roles at the latter and it's stayed that way ever since. Nicolai paired up with Francesco Molinari in Abu Dhabi to win two and a half of three points and then defeated Seamus Power in the singles. He was second on the PGA Tour's Corales Championship in March and five top 25s in his six starts before wildcard selection sealed the deal.

Angle? He won the Italian Open at Marco Simone in 2021 and was fifth this year.

Read Matt's Team USA profiles here

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