Luke Donald’s burning Rome selection question …. Does he pick rookie pro Ludvig Aberg?

Bernie McGuire

Ludvig Aberg (Photo by Logan Whitton/Getty Images)

Until earlier last week, Ludwig Aberg was an ultra-talented rookie professional who made the climb into the Swiss Alps to contest a maiden Omega European Masters.

There were many in the lead-up to the Swiss event who suggested the 23-year-old Aberg would be an ideal Rome ‘wildcard’ choice for European Ryder Cup captain Luke Donald and especially after finishing fourth in last week’s Czech Masters.

Aberg is a former World No. 1 ranked amateur winning the Ben Hogan award as the best collegiate player in the United States in both 2022 and 2023, becoming the first to do so since Spaniard Jon Rahm.


Ludvig made his DP World Tour debut, as an amateur, at the 2018 Nordic Masters but it was only earlier this year he made his pro debut in June’s RBC Canadian Open on the PGA Tour, playing all four rounds to finish in a tie for 25th place.

Aberg then contested the Travelers Championship (T24th) and the Rocket Mortgage Championship (T40th) ahead of securing a whopping $333,000 prize cheque for his fourth place finish at the John Deere Classic behind Austrian winner Sepp Straka, who will be surely rewarded with a Donald selection.

A week later Aberg entered the Genesis Scottish Open but missed the cut.

However in an attempt to qualify for the 2023 European Ryder Cup team, Åberg accepted invitations to compete in the last two DP World Tour events before the deadline of the selection at this past week’s Omega European Masters.

Aberg ignited thoughts he could very well earn a Donald wildcard selection in finishing tied fourth following a closing 66 at the Czech Masters, a result earning him Euro 63,263.

Seven days later, and in what was only a sixth European Tour start, Åberg sensationally recorded his first win in only his ninth appearance as a professional having birdied four of his final five holes to shoot 64 and claim victory by two strokes at 19-under and with fellow Swede Alexander Björk runner-up on 17-under.

The win earned Aberg his biggest prize payout to date of Euro 425,000 along with a two-year Tour exemption, and has seen him jump 137 spots to 49th on the Race to Dubai money list.

Now the name Ludvig Aberg is high among the names Donald may very well announce at 2pm Monday Irish time as one of his six Rome ‘wildcard’ picks but with Donald also now facing the dilemma of who does he ignore if he picks the young Swede.

England’s Eddie Pepperell was a guest commentator this week for SKY Sports Golf, and he felt those who had been in contention throughout the qualifying deserved the nod rather than the new kid on the block such as Aberg.

Pepperell also went on to claim that the only way Aberg merited a place on Donald’s team would be to win at Crans-sur-Sierre saying: “I feel like he (Aberg) needed to win or come very close to winning this week to warrant a pick. If he doesn’t do that and still gets a pick I worry a little bit about what that means for whoever is going to come at the expense of that.

“They’ve spent this year playing on this tour, they’ve done well.”

Little did Pepperell think, nor many others, that Aberg would step forward to be handed the gleaming Omega European Masters trophy but that’s just what he did,

“I thought I needed to win this week to have any chance of a pick, so it was great to finish well and win the tournament”, said Aberg,

“It would mean the world if I was now chosen. For anyone, as a young golfer growing-up in Sweden and Europe, those are the tournaments you want to be a part of.

“If I do get that chance I would be over the moon. It would be really cool”.

What would be super cool is to hear Donald read out Aberg’s name early afternoon Monday.

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