The entire European squad led by Luke Donald went to Marco Simone Golf Club on Monday for a pre-Ryder Cup team practice session, before all 12 players compete in the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth; Watch both events live this month on Sky Sports Golf
Written by Ali Stafford in Wentworth
Last updated: 09/13/23 at 4:44 pm
Rory McIlroy claims he has been moved to the front of Ludvig Åberg’s “wagon” after being beaten by the rising star in Team Europe’s trip to Rome ahead of the Ryder Cup.
Åberg was selected as one of six captain’s choices by Luke Donald for the biennial competition, Live from September 29 to October 1 on Sky Sportsas the Swede won the Omega European Masters title in just his ninth start as a professional.
The entire European Ryder Cup team joined Donald and his deputies on a group trip to Marco Simone Golf Club on Monday, before all 12 players travel to the UK to play in the DP World Tour’s BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth.
All of Europe’s Ryder Cup stars compete in the BMW PGA Championship, the flagship event on the DP World Tour calendar, with extended coverage live on Sky Sports Golf.
Åberg revealed in his pre-tournament press conference that he teamed up with Viktor Hovland to secure a 3&2 best-ball win over Tommy Fleetwood and Rory McIlroy, leading praise for the Swede’s potential influence in the European national team.
“Maybe I overtook them [expectations]“Everyone talks about what a great golf driver he is,” McIlroy admitted of Aberg. Hitting the ball is incredible. I was really impressed with his wedge play and how he can control his trajectory with shorter clubs. “I was on the bandwagon before, but definitely in the lead now.”
Team Europe captain Luke Donald reveals why he selected Ludwig Aberg as one of his six selections to complete his Ryder Cup squad.
Åberg, who will play alongside Hovland and McIlroy in the first two rounds of his debut at the BMW PGA Championship, was delighted to have the opportunity to play for the Northern Irishman for the first time.
“for him [McIlroy’s] “The resume speaks for itself and what he has done and what he has done for the game is unbelievable,” Oberg said. “Seeing him live was so cool. I’m sure he’ll do well.” [in the Ryder Cup].
Who else played together?
Shane Lowry came out in a four-ball with Justin Rose, Robert McIntyre and Sepp Straka on Monday, with Lowry and Straka paired together again over the first two days at Wentworth.
Shane Lowry hits back at critics who questioned his selection as captain for this year’s Ryder Cup and tells the juniors taking part to enjoy it and be themselves.
Jon Rahm enjoyed a training run alongside Tyrell Hutton, playing together in all four Friday balls during the 2021 competition, with Matt Fitzpatrick and Nicolai Hoggard completing that group.
Rahm will be out with Hoggard and Hatton again in the first two rounds of the BMW PGA Championship, while Fitzpatrick has been placed in an all-British group with Rose and McIntyre.
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How hard is Marco Simone GC?
The course conditions in Rome were discussed extensively ahead of the BMW PGA Championship, and McIlroy was among those impressed by the layout but wary of the challenges Marco Simone GC could present to players.
“Just in terms of track condition, I don’t know if I’ve ever seen better fairways,” McIlroy said. “I think the fairways are very clean to drive on, the greens are in great shape, everything. It’s been a hot summer out there and the course is in great shape.”
Team Europe captain Luke Donald explains his Ryder Cup picks and how he plans to reclaim the famous trophy.
McIlroy also highlighted the importance of accuracy off the tee, telling reporters: “If you miss the fairways you’re going to have a hard time getting to the green. I think there are some holes, there are a few short putts where if you hit a driver off the tee and you miss the fairways, you should succession.
“There are a couple of longer holes that maybe the rough isn’t quite as intense and you can at least get it like a seven or eight iron and advance it a little bit down the fairway.”
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Rahm echoed McIlroy’s comments, adding: “It’s a penalty. It’s tough. You have to put the ball in the fairway. It’s not the longest golf course, is it, so it’ll make you think a little bit if they keep it that way.” “
Perfect place to play a match?
Viktor Hovland is among the European players who have previously played in the Ryder Cup field during the DS Automobiles Italian Open, although he admits he relishes the chance to handle the planning in a match-play format.
“I still don’t think it’s a great event for stroke play, or a golf course, but for match play, I think it’s going to be very exciting because there’s a good mix of holes that are easy to make birdies and you can make eagles.
“There are also some very difficult holes where if you make a par, you can win the hole. So, I think that makes the Ryder Cup really good, because you won’t see a lot of par holes.”
The 12-man Ryder Cup squad has been completed led by Team Europe captain Luke Donald – meet the golfers looking to take home the trophy.
“I feel like there’s going to be a lot of action and I think that’s going to make the Ryder Cup exciting. The shots required are also very difficult. You have to get off the tee or you’ll miss and they’re very difficult.
“Some of the pin positions also allow the iron shots to get really close if you hit a good shot, and if you miss it, you’re going to have a really tough up and down. I just think there’s a lot that can happen, and nothing’s over until it’s over.”
Watch the BMW PGA Championship all week live on Sky Sports. Live coverage begins on Thursday with highlights from 8.30am before full coverage from midday on Sky Sports Golf.
Live coverage of the opening day of the Ryder Cup begins on Friday 29 September from 6am on Sky Sports Golf, while live programming begins on Monday 25 September. Stream the PGA Tour, DP Tour, Ryder Cup and more with NOW.