Europe are 11/8 underdogs in bwin’s Ryder Cup 2023 odds following news of captain Luke Donald’s six wild card picks for Rome.
Donald has selected Tommy Fleetwood, Sepp Straka, Justin Rose, Shane Lowry, Nicolai Hojgaard and Ludvig Aberg.
They join automatic qualifiers Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm, Matt Fitzpatrick, Viktor Hovland, Tyrrell Hatton and Robert MacIntyre in attempting to regain the trophy from September 29 to October 1.
After losing so heavily at Whistling Straits two years ago, the number of European wild cards was increased from three to give the captain more flexibility to pick players in form in the final couple of months.
Former world number one amateur Aberg only turned professional in June, but won the final qualifying event in Switzerland on Sunday with a final round of 64 at Crans-sur-Sierre.
The 23-year-old Swede has made the quickest transition from the amateur ranks to the Ryder Cup in the contest’s history, eclipsing the previous record set by Sergio Garcia, who made his debut in September 1999 after turning professional following April’s Masters.
Aberg told Sky Sports: “If you told me I’d be involved in these conversations, I probably wouldn’t have believed you.”
Donald added: “We obviously knew what he was doing in the college scene. You look at what he did in those four years and the only comparables really were Viktor Hovland and Jon Rahm. He is that good.
“I played with him in Detroit and was blown away by his game. He continued to impress and I challenged him to come over to Europe and play a couple (of events).
“He was fifth in the Czech Masters and you know what he did yesterday. It was like a walk in the park for him and for someone that is so inexperienced it was just so, so impressive.”
Justin Thomas, Brooks Koepka, Jordan Spieth, Collin Morikawa, Sam Burns and Rickie Fowler have been called up for the 44th renewal of golf’s biggest team event.
Thomas failed to qualify for the FedEx Cup play-offs and admitted it had been “humiliating and embarrassing” to card a second round of 81 in the US Open in June.
The two-time major winner also shot an opening 82 in the Open at Royal Liverpool, but has still been selected by Johnson ahead of the likes of Keegan Bradley and Cameron Young.
The wild cards join automatic qualifiers Scottie Scheffler, Wyndham Clark, Brian Harman, Patrick Cantlay, Max Homa and Xander Schauffele on Johnson’s team, which will attempt to win on European soil for the first time since 1993.
“Justin Thomas is one of the most talented players on the PGA Tour in my opinion,” Johnson said. “He has been, without question, the heart and soul of US Ryder Cup teams, our emotional leader.
“Overall (he has) a fantastic Ryder Cup record. His passion for the Ryder Cup is very evident. In my mind he is born for this and you just don’t leave JT at home.”
Koepka, who is the only LIV Golf League player to make the team, slipped out of the automatic qualifying places in the final event, having finished second in the Masters and won the US PGA Championship at Oak Hill.
“A five-time major champion, he is built in my mind for the biggest of stages and there’s no bigger stage than the Ryder Cup,” Johnson said.
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