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Ryder Cup captain Luke Donald issued a rallying cry to Europe’s young players, calling on them to “fill the holes” in his team.
In an appearance on the Five Clubs show with Gary Williams, Donald hinted his side could look very different to European teams of recent Ryder Cups.
While he was not drawn on the prospect of players who have joined LIV Golf featuring on his team next September, the former world No.1 said he will lean heavily on the “new generation”, several of whom will feature at the Hero Cup warm-up event in January.
And he is keen to follow the example of the US team, whose much-changed side delivered a record-breaking win at Whistling Straits in 2021.
“You can get a little bit of an idea from the Hero Cup that’s coming up,” Donald said when asked about the makeup of his team.
“First of all it’s a great opportunity to get some younger guys into the team room, playing together and seeing how they bond.
“This is an important step to bring a matchplay event back to the European schedule.
“There are some great young players. I’m very excited about some of the core players who have started playing well again but there’s a new generation of players who are hungry to make that Ryder Cup.
“The US team have had a shift where they have gone with younger players with less scar tissue; guys that seem to get on very well. Europe is starting to go through a similar shift. A lot of the guys who have been stalwarts are coming towards the end of their careers.
“I’m not saying they don’t have opportunities to make further Ryder Cups, but it’s becoming less and less likely so we need some of these younger guys to step up and fill some of those holes.”
Donald also claimed world No.1 Rory McIlroy is yet to hit his best form in the Ryder Cup, and said the 33-year-old is sometimes guilty of taking on too much responsibility.
“Rory sometimes tries to take on too much, and as captain my role is to try and get the most out of him so I’ll be looking to get him back to winning ways in the Ryder Cup,” he added.
“He cares about it and it means a lot to him, but he would be the first to say he’s disappointed with the way he’s played. He played okay in 2018, but for his standard I don’t think he’s played up to what he would consider his good golf and winning as many points as he should, so one of the things I’m thinking about is how we get the best out of Rory.”
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