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Europe will attempt to regain the Ryder Cup from the United States at Marco Simone Golf and Country Club from September 29-October 1.
Here are five talking points ahead of the biennial contest, which the USA won by a record 19-9 margin in 2021.
Will home advantage prove crucial once more?
Seven of the last eight contests have been won by the home side, the exception being the ‘Miracle at Medinah’ in 2012 where Europe recovered from 10-4 down to pull off a remarkable victory.
Nine of the US team made a recent scouting trip to Marco Simone as they bid to secure a first win on European soil since 1993, but many of the European side have contested the Italian Open at the venue over the last three years, with Robert MacIntyre (2022) and Nicolai Hojgaard (2021) winning the title.
Can wild cards justify their picks?
Both captains opted to have six wild cards at their disposal and there was inevitably controversy as Zach Johnson selected an out-of-form Justin Thomas and Luke Donald left out Adrian Meronk, despite his Italian Open win in May.
Thomas in particular will be under scrutiny after being selected ahead of the likes of Keegan Bradley, Lucas Glover and Cameron Young, although he boasts a strong record in team competitions and was fifth on his most recent PGA Tour start.
Will Ludvig Aberg live up to his billing?
Aberg has made the fastest transition ever from amateur golf to the Ryder Cup after only turning professional in June, the 23-year-old winning the final qualifying event in Switzerland and being selected by Donald hours later.
He also led the BMW PGA Championship after 54 holes but struggled to a closing 76, a result which could be a blessing in disguise if it cools the hype surrounding the supremely talented Swede.
What impact will the lack of LIV players have?
Brooks Koepka is the only member of the Saudi-funded breakaway in Rome, the five-time major winner getting a wild card after dropping out of the automatic qualifying places after the final event.
Dustin Johnson – who won all five of his matches in 2021 – and Bryson DeChambeau could arguably have strengthened the US side, but the likes of Ian Poulter, Sergio Garcia and Lee Westwood have shown precious little to suggest they would have come close to qualifying for the European team.
Will Europe’s big guns fire?
Donald demanding more from star names
Europe can boast three of the world’s top four and 2022 US Open champion Matt Fitzpatrick is also in the top 10, but that is no guarantee of success. Fitzpatrick has lost all five of his matches to date, while Viktor Hovland halved two and lost three at Whistling Straits, where only Jon Rahm, Garcia and Tyrrell Hatton won more than a single point.
Rory McIlroy’s last two Ryder Cups have yielded three points from eight matches and Luke Donald will need more from his star names if Europe are to regain the trophy.