If luke donald hopes to narrow and eventually close the gap between Europe and the US to get it back. Ryder Cup In October, it will likely require a starburst or two. Highlight Poland’s heavy kick Adrian Meronk.

The 29-year-old is currently a three-time winner on the DP World Tour and is in the world top 50 after a tough final round at Rome’s dress rehearsal at the Italian Open this month at Marco Simone.

Benefiting from his imposing 1.85-inch body, Meronk’s game is built on solid foundations from the tee box, where he took the tour-leading +1.25 hits this year and cemented second place in the same metric last year. (+0.85). Donald, who finished fifth on the greens in regulation in 2023, was clearly impressed and even congratulated Meronk in Rome before reaffirming that Pole was on the right track to form the team.

“He spoke well of my best shots on Sunday. I’ll see him at the PGA Championships in Oak Hill this week, too,” says Meronk. Independent In his encounter with the captain of Europe and the former world No.

“There was some pressure. Sunday was tough, it was a real grind. You can see the Ryder Cup stands, the flags, the golf carts. It’s all there, you can’t miss it.

“But that made the game even more exciting and the win was more relief than usual, a very important win to get into the team. It’s not over yet but I made a strong statement, it would be a dream come true.”

The first Polish winner of the DP World Tour, Meronk grew up in Poznan, close to the German border. Learning the game from his father and having few options to play, the couple would take three-hour excursions to Szczecin on Fridays, playing as much golf as possible before returning to school just in time late on Sunday.

A breakthrough on the tour would come at the Irish Open last year, before a second win at the Australian Open in December.

Adrian Meronk kicks off the turf at Rome’s Ryder Cup venue Marco Simone


And the numbers underlying his game could further strengthen his position if he doesn’t automatically earn a spot on the European points list, where he is currently fifth. Outside of his own game, Edoardo Molinari, who will serve as one of Donald’s assistant captains for the Rome show, is known for smashing numbers for collaborating with US Open champion Matt Fitzpatrick and the now-famous spreadsheet library to document every shot. .

Meronk also has experience working closely with Molinari, who can trust Donald with who exactly Pole’s game might suit. But even though he has no team golf experience since graduating from East Tennessee State University in the NCAA, Meronk is confident there are plenty of options.

“I knew Viktor (Hovland) a little bit from college,” says Meronk, who encountered the Norwegian during his time at Oklahoma State University.

“At Tyrrell, I should get to know him a little more, and I knew Jon Rahm from our college days.

“I’m sure I can get along with anyone, I can play with anyone. Let’s be tame and my game is suitable for quartets or quartets.

“My game is solid, I play the ball, I can see myself in the team.”

In his first year playing every major, a PGA Championship start at Oak Hill provides Meronk with another opportunity to solidify his place in Donald’s mind.

Adrian Meronk during a practice tour at PGA Championship venue Oak Hill Country Club

(Getty Images)

And while the diabolical conditions will make for a harsh scrutiny of Meronk’s play, a chance encounter at the Old Course last summer Tiger Woods adding more inspiration behind their recent victories.

“It was a dream come true,” Meronk remembers. “I arrived at 10 am, Tiger was standing there with the caddy, I just went and asked if I could join him, nine holes of golf. I was nervous but after three holes we chatted and laughed a lot.

Andrews gave me good advice while playing, it was a great experience to be there with him for two hours, such a historical event, very special and I was very lucky.

“He asked me how I started playing, congratulated me on my win in Ireland, my first British Open and my time at St Andrews, his health and his kids. Nice conversation, I’m surprised it’s so open. I thought he was unapproachable, but he was very open and kind. It’s an incredible experience.”