It wouldn’t be a Ryder Cup without all the debate about the captains’ picks.
Given Luke Donald was allowed to make six for Team Europe, there was a bigger responsibility than ever before on his shoulders.
Donald enjoyed a fantastic career as a meticulous, Bernhard Langer-type, player who couldn’t rely upon raw power like a lot of his peers.
So you can be guaranteed that he was on top of every possible detail and statistic that was available.
If you were close but didn’t get in, like Adrian Meronk, you’re going to be devastated.
But I can see why Donald opted to go with Shane Lowry and Justin Rose to add a bit more experience to his group.
Neither is at their peak but you can’t underestimate how important those two big characters will be in the locker room and as fourball and foursome partners.
The selection of Ludvig Aberg is so exciting.
I was lucky enough to be invited by Omega to play in the pro-am of the European Masters last week.
What a stunning course Crans-sur-Sierre is – it might even have better mountain views than Pitlochry, which is a big compliment coming from me!
The pictures say it all!🏔️
Incredible few days @omegaEUmasters in Switzerland! 🇨🇭🏌️♀️
— Eve Muirhead OBE (@evemuirhead) August 31, 2023
Switzerland was always one of my favourite destinations for curling and now the same can be said for golf.
Aberg was the player everybody was talking about on the Wednesday – there was a real buzz around what he had done to that point and might do in the four days to come.
To keep his cool and close out the win as he did under huge pressure, just a few months after turning pro, was an incredible achievement.
And he was maybe the easiest pick of them all, which is saying something.
Like I said, experience is important.
But it’s not as important as form.
Hard place to find your form
Occasionally you see a player rediscover his game at a Ryder Cup but it’s not the norm.
I do wonder whether the qualification timeframe could get shortened even further in the future.
Starting in September 2022 feels a bit early if you want to maximise your chances of the players being in-form.
The turn of the year might be a bit better.
It’s very hard to get selection criteria bang-on.
In curling, Canada left it incredibly late for the last Olympics and have now decided they’ll do things earlier next time.
As far as the Ryder Cup is concerned, after all the LIV Golf controversies, we’ve got two very strong teams and I’m expecting one of the closest battles for years.
I never used to mind getting the supposed toughest game first at a World Championships or Olympics.
But a round-robin in curling is a bit different to a group of death like Scotland’s in the rugby World Cup.
It might have actually been better to get South Africa last, in the hope they had already won all their games and qualified for the knock-outs by that point.
— Scottish Rugby (@Scotlandteam) September 7, 2023
The big thing for the Scots will be to make sure it’s a close match.
You want to feel like you’ve got a foothold in the tournament even if there are no points on the table.
I think they’re going to need to be that to get out of this group!