"Why on earth has Donald left Meronk out the Ryder Cup team?" | Roberts Rants

GolfMagic Editor Andy Roberts believes Luke Donald should have picked Adrian Meronk over Nicolai Hojgaard in the Ryder Cup team. 

"Does Donald not care for DP World Tour after bypassing Meronk?" | Roberts Rants
"Does Donald not care for DP World Tour after bypassing Meronk?" | Roberts…

"It will be the crime of the century if Adrian Meronk is not in Luke Donald's European Ryder Cup team." The words of Sky Sports Golf commentator Mark Roe as the giant Pole finished with back-to-back birdies to finish T13 at the Omega European Masters on Sunday afternoon.

After plenty of rumour late Sunday night that Meronk was going to be omitted, that "crime" played out as Donald reeled off his six captain's picks on Monday afternoon.

Donald chose Tommy Fleetwood, Justin Rose, Shane Lowry, Sepp Straka, Ludvig Aberg and Nicolai Hojgaard as his six captain's picks for Team Europe.

They join Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm, Viktor Hovland, Tyrrell Hatton, Matt Fitzpatrick and Bob MacIntyre in the team.

No Meronk?!

What on earth is Donald thinking?! 

Donald's hugely controversial decision to leave Meronk on the sidelines has caused mayhem on social media, and rightly so as it's an absolute shocker of a call. 

I think it's the biggest F-you to the DP World Tour imaginable given Donald has left out one of its top performers in recent months.

Does Donald simply not care about the former European Tour circuit any more? 

Former US Ryder Cup captain Paul Goydos also played the same "crime" card as Roe. 

PGA Tour winner and former US Ryder Cup player Hunter Mahan also hit out Meronk's omission. "Makes zero sense," he tweeted.

It really is a case of where do you start when it comes to the many reasons why Meronk should be on the plane to Rome.

Let me list them all for you... 

Meronk, 30, currently ranks third in the DP World Tour's Race to Dubai standings behind illustrious company in McIlroy and Rahm. 

The giant Pole, who narrowly finished outside the automatics in fifth on the European Points List, also ranks first in strokes-gained off the tee on the DP World Tour, as well second in the strokes-gained total and fifth in the scoring average.

If that wasn't enough to build a strong case for him, arguably the biggest reason of all for Meronk to be in the 2023 European Ryder Cup team is that he won the Italian Open earlier this season at Marco Simone, the venue of this month's Ryder Cup.

That marked a third DP World Tour title for Meronk in the space of 10 months following victories at two other huge tournaments, the 2022 Irish Open and 2022 Australian Open.

Meronk is an incredibly strong driver of the ball, testament to his No.1 ranking in the strokes-gained off the tee category on the DP World Tour, and that area of the game will be vital to master Marco Simone, just as he did en route to his one-stroke win earlier in May. 

It's a baffling decision to leave him out, solely for that strength alone. 

Sky Sports Golf's Jamie Spence texted me this afternoon to say: "I am absolutely devastated for Adrian, he's played so well this season. It's such a shame for him and I know he will be hugely devastated to miss out. He should 100% be in the team and it's just hugely disappointing in all honesty."

I also caught up with six-time DP World Tour winner Joost Luiten, who told me he was "surprised" Meronk was not picked. 

He also had some interesting words on the pick of Lowry

Now fair play to Sweden's Aberg. Last month I considered he was far too inexperienced and had not shown enough in his limited starts as a professional to warrant a European Ryder Cup debut.

But the 23-year-old's incredible back-nine surge to win the Omega European Masters on Sunday proved me and many other doubters wrong, so I applaud him for that and certainly wish him the best in the team.

Aberg could now pose a huge threat to the Americans, especially now he has got his confidence up with a maiden win so early in his professional career. 

I also have absolutely no issues over the picks of Fleetwood, Rose, Lowry and Straka.

Yes, Lowry can possibly count himself lucky given his latest form on the PGA Tour and DP World Tour is a little sketchy, but he's a former Open champion and we all know he can step up on the big stage.

He also has a great relationship with a number of players in the team such as McIlroy, Fleetwood and Hatton.

You could argue Lowry is a similar pick to the one of Thomas on Team USA in that sense. 

Straka has been superb this season with another PGA Tour victory and a top-15 finish in the FedEx Cup standings, while English duo Fleetwood and Rose are absolute no brainers in this team given their experience and form. 

My biggest issue though is why two-time winner Hojgaard has been favoured by Donald over three-time winner Meronk? 

Now I am certainly a fan of Hojgaard's game, don't get me wrong. He is a star of the future at the age of 22 years old. But at the same time, he is winless on the DP World Tour since February 2022 and that with all due respect was a fairly weak event in Ras Al Khaimah. 

In my eyes, Meronk had shown more than enough to prove he deserved a place in the European Ryder Cup team, and if I had to have picked him over anyone else in the team (at least today) then it would have been Hojgaard. Last month, I would have said Aberg, but not after Sunday's performance. 

Yes, Hojgaard finished T5 on the Ryder Cup course at the Italian Open earlier this year, but Meronk won it.

Surely that must count for something?! 

Meronk, as I've already touched upon, ranks third behind McIlroy and Rahm on the DP World Tour's Race to Dubai standings while Hojgaard is looking on from 15th

Hojgaard is also ranked 78th in the Official World Golf Rankings as opposed to Meronk, who is 51st

I honestly can't get my head round it.

Has Donald been more swayed by the Dane's season form on the PGA Tour? 

Hojgaard finished second to Matt Wallace at the Corales Puntacana Championship earlier this season, and he also went on to finish T6 in the co-sanctioned Scottish Open and T14 at the Wyndham Championship. 

Don't get me wrong those are impressive results for someone still finding his feet, and he has played in a number of PGA Tour events now, but it's not as if he has won anything over there yet? He is even winless on the DP World Tour for 18 months. 

Meronk is a three-time winner around the world since July 2022, and that to me is vastly superior to what Hojgaard has shown. 

Yes, Hojgaard has thrown in two top-five finishes in the last two weeks and fair play to him, but to favour him over Meronk because of that is very poor in my opinion. 

Maybe Donald simply picked Hojgaard as a result of him beating Meronk by two strokes at Crans-sur-Sierre last week? 

I would hope not, but you never know? 

Or maybe, just maybe, a certain Danish vice-captain Thomas Bjorn has got in Donald's ear?! That honestly would not surprise me. 

Meronk, who was bidding to become the first ever Pole to make the European Ryder Cup team, finished T13 at the Omega European Masters on Sunday. 

He was in a share of the lead towards the end of second round, only to finish bogey-double after unfortunately losing his golf ball in a tree down the left side of 18. 

If you take that crazy break out of play and he finds his golf ball and goes on to make a par, Meronk finishes on the exact same score as Hojgaard at 15-under par and in T5. 

I personally would have preferred to have let both Nicolai and his twin Rasmus Hojgaard loose on the Americans next time in 2025. 

I would be shocked if both Danes aren't in the Ryder Cup team in two years' time.

But Meronk deserved his shot this month and it is appalling he has not been given it. 

To his credit, he had two words for the Ryder Cup Europe team on Twitter: 

Here's a look at how a number of golf fans and golf media have reacted to Meronk missing out on the Ryder Cup team: 

Anyway, rant over, but I'm not happy about it and neither is Sky Sports Golf's Mark Roe.

Rumour has it Mark is writing a letter of complaint to Team Europe as we speak. 

Let's just hope he remembers to sign it. 

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