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Luke Donald admits his Ryder Cup selection dilemma is giving him sleepless nights as the showdown near Rome looms.
The race for the European team is nearing its conclusion, with a number of Donald’s hopefuls bidding to impress at this week’s D+D Real Czech Masters.
Donald and three of his vice-captains will take a closer look at the contenders in Prague in the penultimate Ryder Cup qualifying event before the window shuts at the Omega European Masters in Switzerland.
Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm and Viktor Hovland have all qualified, while Tyrrell Hatton and Tommy Fleetwood are currently set to make the team via the World Points standings.
But Donald’s focus is firmly on the Ryder Cup bubble as he gears up to play alongside Robert MacIntyre, the incumbent of the final automatic berth on the European Points List, in the first two rounds in the Czech capital.
The four-time Ryder Cup player’s mind is in overdrive as he gets closer to naming his six captain’s picks on September 4.
“I’m not sure if it was the jet-lag last night or lots of things building up, but I was up for a couple of hours in the middle of the night,” Donald revealed.
“Lots of things whirring through my head – who I should be talking to, next steps, all that sort of stuff.
“It’s becoming more and more as the week gets closer. A lot to digest, I’m trying to take it day by day, but it’s an important week. I’m excited to be very close to finalising those 12 guys.”
Shane Lowry, Justin Rose, and Matt Fitzpatrick are all expected to wear blue-and-gold at Marco Simone, but three wildcard spots are still very much up for grabs, while MacIntyre is narrowly clinging onto his final qualifying position.
Vice-captain Edoardo Molinari has been grouped with Yannik Paul and Rasmus Hojgaard at the Albatross Golf Resort, while his brother Francesco, who was last week named as Donald’s fifth assistant, has been drawn with Nicolai Hojgaard and Ludvig Aberg.
Nicolas Colsaerts, meanwhile, will play alongside Belgian compatriot Adrien Dumont de Chassart and Spanish hopeful Pablo Larrazabal.
“All to play for, I’d say, and these guys should be chomping at the bit to show up and have some good weeks,” Donald added. “The guys on the bubble statistically have the best chance and a strong performance here will go a long way.
“Everyone in their right mind should have playing a Ryder Cup as a goal of theirs. People who have played never want to miss one once they’ve been a part of it. Rookies want to understand how special the event is.
“A lot of guys who should be playing are playing this week and I’m excited to see how the week unfolds.”
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