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Rory McIlroy backs rookie Ludvig Aberg to be a European Ryder Cup star

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Rory McIlroy has backed rookie Ludvig Aberg to defy his inexperience and shine for Europe at the Ryder Cup at the end of the month.

Aberg earned a wildcard pick from captain Luke Donald after winning the European Masters at the start of September.

And after being paired with the Swede at a team reconnaissance mission in Rome on Monday, Europe’s talisman was full of praise for a Ryder Cup star in the making.

“I had an opportunity to play with Ludvig for the first time on Monday, which I was excited about,” he said on the eve of the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth. “I told him, ‘I’ve been looking forward to this for a while’.

“Everyone talks about what a great driver of the golf ball he is, which he is. The ball striking is incredible but I was really impressed with his wedge play and how he can sort of control his trajectory with shorter clubs. I was on the bandwagon before.

“Certainly at the front of it now. He’s having an incredible start to his career. Anyone who watches him play golf can see the potential and kind of talent that he has.”

McIlroy is one of the elder statesmen of the host team at the age of 34 in what is something of a changing of the guard with established names like Sergio Garcia and Ian Poulter not featuring.

In all, Europe have four rookies in their 12-man line-up to take on the United States’ star-studded side.

But McIlroy insisted he was excited about the selection shifts. He said: “It’s a transitional time for the European Ryder Cup team. It’s exciting.”