Rory McIlroy and Jon Rahm face being dropped at Ryder Cup after Luke Donald hint

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Top European golf stars like Rory McIlroy and Jon Rahm may be forced to sit out some matches at the Ryder Cup later this month because the course in Rome is too hot and too hilly. The USA will be looking to defend the trophy at the Marco Simone Golf & Country Club in 11 days’ time having recorded a record 19-9 victory at Whistling Straits two years ago.

But with temperatures in Italy set to reach the high 20s across the weekend of the tournament, European captain Luke Donald is already putting a plan in place to keep his team as fresh as possible and that could mean the likes of world No. 2 McIlroy and No. 3 Rahm taking their turn to rest up during the first two days of action.

The same principle also applies to the team’s caddies who may also rotate their involvement throughout Saturday and Sunday.

Donald said: “It is a possibility that some guys who are used to playing five (matches) might not play five. It is something we’ve talked about and discussed with a few players who you’d think would play five and had conversations with them about what they might be expecting for the week.

“Adrenaline is a big thing in the Ryder Cup so if you asked them to play five they would want to play five. But you’ve got to think about Sunday and the singles because that is 12 points out of the 28.

“You want some freshness, it is going to be a tiring golf course, it could be quite warm. We’ll have to make those decisions based on play on Friday and Saturday. They all want to be out there and play as much as they can but they understand the rationale behind it.

“For the caddies, we have enough people there to fill in if someone can’t do 36 holes. That has all been thought about.”

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Two years ago, only three players appeared in all five matches across both teams. Rahm and Viktor Hovland were ever-presents for Europe as McIlory was asked to sit one session out for the first time. Dustin Johnson was in inspired form for the USA, winning all five of his matches, but thanks to his defection to LIV Golf, he isn’t even in Zach Johnson’s team this time around.

Despite Donald’s hint about rotation, Sky Sports pundit Rich Beem still expects Europe’s big guns to be leading the charge in the foursomes and fourball rounds.

He said: “I don’t foresee Luke sitting Viktor Hovland or Jon Rahm too much. And I don’t see the USA sitting Scottie Scheffler too much. But you are going to have to switch guys up – and the caddies.”

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