McIlroy pushed for Åberg’s Ryder Cup inclusion without seeing him play

Ronan MacNamara

Ludvig Aberg (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Ronan MacNamara

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Ludvig Åberg’s inclusion on Luke Donald’s European Ryder Cup team in Rome last September raised a few eyebrows but Rory McIlroy knew the Swedish sensation was a sure thing despite not seeing him play.

Åberg only turned professional last June but a win at the European Masters on the DP World Tour prompted Donald to call up the 24-year-old and he impressed on his Ryder Cup debut, reducing Scottie Scheffler to tears!

The Swede became the first player to play in a Ryder Cup before playing in a major championship and while he had to wait for his major debut he thoroughly impressed again, finishing second to Scheffler at last week’s Masters.

McIlroy played the opening two rounds of this week’s $20 million RBC Heritage event at Harbour Town and he continues to be impressed by the youngster.

He was pushing for Åberg to be on the Ryder Cup team last year without having seen him play in person and it looks like he will be a staple of Ryder Cup teams for years to come.

“I had way too many people telling me this guy was going to be one of the best,” McIlroy said of when Åberg turned pro last June. “His attitude is absolutely perfect to play golf. It’s not very often the person lives up to the hype. But he lived up to the hype.”

Since playing in the Ryder Cup, Åberg has won his maiden PGA TOUR title at the RSM Classic and has broken into the top-10 in the Official World Golf Rankings, sitting in seventh place.

This week Åberg is just one shot off the leading quartet after back-to-back rounds of 66 where he has only dropped one shot.

“I feel like it tested my patience a little bit more than it did yesterday. Obviously I came out a little bit hotter yesterday than I did today. But we didn’t try to force anything. We stayed very disciplined, me and Joe, to our targets, and ended up finishing birdie-birdie, which was kind of a bonus on those two holes, but obviously very pleased with the way we’ve been playing,” said Åberg who went close to becoming the first rookie since Fuzzy Zoeller in 1979 to win the Masters and the first player since Keegan Bradley in 2011 to win a major on their debut.

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