Rory McIlroy on Luke Donald's controversial Ryder Cup pick? "A no-brainer"

Rory McIlroy says when he first saw Ludvig Aberg play golf he thought it was a 'no-brainer' the young Swede should be selected for the 2023 Ryder Cup.

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Wed, 6 Sep 2023
Rory McIlroy on Luke Donald's controversial Ryder Cup pick? "A no-brainer"

Rory McIlroy says when he first saw Ludvig Aberg play in person he thought it was a 'no-brainer' to select the young Swede for the Ryder Cup. 

European captain Luke Donald named his six captain's picks for the 2023 showdown on 4 September. 

Alongside Tommy Fleetwood, Shane Lowry, Justin Rose, Sepp Straka and Nicolai Hojgaard, Donald decided to roll the dice with 23-year-old Aberg. 

McIlroy, Jon Rahm, Viktor Hovland, Tyrrell Hatton, Matthew Fitzpatrick and Robert MacIntyre were the six players who qualified automatically.

Aberg only turned professional in June 2023 and played his maiden PGA Tour event at the Canadian Open. 

In July, he posted a top-10 finish at the John Deere Classic and most recently grabbed his first win on the DP World Tour at the Omega European Masters. 

His maiden win was off the back of a top-10 finish at the Czech Masters.

He has also never played in a major championship but that is not a problem for McIlroy

The Northern Irishman told BBC Sport the Swede - who was described by Donald as a 'generational talent' - has one of his favourite golf swings in the world. 

McIlroy also stated that at the beginning of the year he believed Europe were going to have a difficult time in the 29 September to 1 October contest at the Marco Simone Golf & Country Club. 

But now his view has changed. 

"I thought we were going to have a really tough time but the closer we've got to the cup, the more I'm liking what the team has become," McIlroy said before the Irish Open. 

Of Aberg, McIlroy said:

"There were a few of us who were saying that it was a no-brainer but people hadn't seen him play in Europe and then he comes over and finishes fourth and wins in Switzerland.
"The people over here who maybe were a little bit sceptical about it all realised what the hype was all about. He's probably got one of my favourite swings in the world."

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Europe will be without their record points scorer Sergio Garcia in a few weeks' time. 

Garcia resigned his DP World Tour membership amid the disruption of LIV Golf and was ineligible for selection. 

Ian Poulter and Lee Westwood will also not be involved. 

McIlroy, who has now made up with Garcia after the duo fell out over the rival league, said it was always going to be a transitional period for Europe. 

He continued:

"There was going to be a lot of rookies on the team with a few of those older guys making some decisions that didn't allow them to be a part of it any more.
"Someone like Ludvig, Nicolai Hojgaard and Bob MacIntyre - I think it's great to have them on the team because it injects a fresh, youthful exuberance into the whole dynamic of the week which is really cool.
"I think we've got a great chance. There's a really good mix of experience and youth in there. I think we're in a really good spot heading to Rome."

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