Ahead of the start of the 2023 Ryder Cup at Marco Simone Golf Club this Friday, we have decided to profile the eight rookies from both teams, starting with the newest kid on the block.
Name: Ludvig Aberg
One of golf’s brightest young stars, Ludvig Aberg’s journey to the Ryder Cup has been as fast as his rise to the top of the amateur game. Born in Eslov Sweden on Halloween night 1999, Aberg was introduced to the game of golf at eight years of age by his father.
Aberg wasn’t originally too keen on the game, but his father bribed him with ice cream if he stayed on the golf course for more than an hour. “I never pushed him or wanted him to become a professional. I just wanted to have him out here playing with me because it’s quality time,” Aberg’s father said this year.
Aberg played football as well before switching his full focus to golf at age 13. Aberg burst onto the amateur scene in 2017, representing Sweden for the first time at the 2017 European Boys’ Team Championship in LA Manga, Spain where he was the individual leader.
He finished third at the 2018 junior World Cup in Japan and seventh at the Junior Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass before making his European Tour debut at the 2018 Nordea Masters, finishing in a tie for 34th.
Aberg attended the Swedish national upper secondary sports school Riksidrottsgymnasium, the same school as Solheim Cup debutants and fellow Swedish stars Maja Stark and Linn Grant. The Swede then attended Texas Tech University and played on the golf team. It was there where his profile grew even further as Aberg was dominant in his two years in Texas, winning a program-record eight times and becoming first the golfer to win back-to-back Big 12 Conference Championship titles in both 2022 and 2023.
Aberg is a former World Number one Amateur and a back-to-back Ben Hogan award winner, joining Jon Rahm as the only player to earn the accolade in successive years.
In the spring of 2022, Aberg, while still an amateur, was offered $2,500,000 for a 2-year-contract with the newly established LIV Golf League. However, he turned down the offer, setting his sights on the PGA Tour and that dream soon became a reality.
Off the back of his amateur dominance, Aberg made history in 2023 as the first player to earn direct access to the PGA Tour via collegiate merit, finishing first on the 2023 PGA TOUR University Ranking.
— DP World Tour (@DPWorldTour) August 24, 2023
Aberg was impressing a lot of people, and his length and accuracy off the tee saw him lead Rory McIlroy and Scottie Scheffler in Strokes-Gained-Off-The-Tee for the months after turning pro. The young Swede had caught the eye of European Ryder Cup captain, who set a challenge for Aberg when paired with him at the Rocket Mortgage Classic at the end of June, as Donald told Sky Sports at the announcement of his captains picks.
“I played with him in Detroit and was blown away by his game. He continued to impress and I challenged him to come over to Europe and play a couple of events. He was fifth, tied fourth in the Czech Masters and you know what he did yesterday. It was like a walk in the park for him and for someone that is so inexperienced it was just so, so impressive,” Donald said.
Aberg got off to a fast start and in the final event before the picks were set to be announced, the Swede rose to the challenge. At the Omega European Masters at Crans-sur-Sierre GC in Switzerland, he birdied four of the last five holes for a two shot triumph over Matt Fitzpatrick.
It had taken Aberg just 75 days to win his first pro title and a day later he was named as one of Luke Donald’s six captains picks for the European Team in Rome, making him the first player in Ryder Cup history to have never played in a major.