It appears Team Europe’s captain, Luke Donald, took a page out of Johnson’s playbook.
On Monday, Donald named his captain’s picks, with one glaring omission; Adrian Meronk.
Donald selected Tommy Fleetwood, Sepp Straka, Nicolai Hojgaard, Shane Lowry, Ludvig Aberg and Justin Rose.
Fleetwood, Straka and Rose were all but locks for the team. But an argument can easily be made for Meronk over Hojgaard, Lowry or Aberg.
Adrian Meronk won the Australian, Irish and Italian Opens, has 5 other top 10s, is 3rd on the Race to Dubai and has won at the host venue, yet he hasn’t received a captains pick for the Ryder Cup in Rome. Regardless of your opinion, it’s been an incredible breakout season for… pic.twitter.com/j0XYuYqLJM
Meronk is having an undeniable breakout over the last year or so.
He won the Irish Open last July, won the Australian Open in December, and most importantly captured the Italian Open in May this year. That happens to be the course venue for this year’s Ryder Cup. Safe to say, he likes that track.
He also has five other top-10s, finished fifth in European Ryder Cup standings, and is currently third in the DP World Tour rankings behind only Rory McIlroy and Jon Rahm.
Yet, will be left sitting at home watching the biennial event.
“I wanted a balance of youth and experience with my picks,” said Donald at Monday’s announcement. “We’ll have a plan of action for success. We have some great talents and some experience in the 12. It’s a great make-up. I couldn’t be more happy.”
In recent months, Donald had spoken to the pre-requisite of top form entering this tournament.
That is something 23-year-old phenom Ludvig Aberg has in spades. He is fresh off his first win as a professional at the European Masters this past weekend. He turned pro in June and has regularly been a top-25 player on the PGA Tour.
Hojgaard also has a solid track record of success, particularly in Rome. He also previously won the Italian Open at Marco Simone and collected a T5 there this year. But his overall resume isn’t quite as impressive.
Meanwhile, Lowry has struggled for quite some time. The 2019 Open Champion missed the cut at this year’s Open and missed the FedEx Cup Playoffs entirely. Most recently, the Irishman missed the cut at the Czech Masters as well.
He has just one top-10 this year at the Honda Classic back in February.
But Donald is not concerned with his recent poor form.
“I don’t have any worries about Shane,” said Donald. “He’s a big-time player who steps up in the moments. We saw that two years ago at Whistling Straits. He has great passion for the Ryder Cup.”
Donald’s picks will join Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm, Viktor Hovland, Tyrrell Hatton, Robert Macintyre and Matt Fitzpatrick in Rome. They look to take back the Cup after Team USA handled them quite easily at Whistling Straits.
Do you think Donald made the right selections? Let us know in the comments below.
Kendall Capps is the Senior Editor/Editorial Manager of SB Nation’s Playing Through. You can follow our content further at @_PlayingThrough on all major social platforms.