Ryder Cup the ultimate test for Swede rookie Aberg


The comparisons with Sergio Garcia are inevitable and appropriate based on the sheer skill and rapid rise.

Just don't look for Ludvig Aberg to be sprinting and strutting and leaping into the arms of his teammates at the Ryder Cup.

"It was like a walk in the park for him," Luke Donald said in describing the moment the Swede effectively played his way onto the European team as one of his six captain's picks.

That moment was last Sunday, when 23-year-old Aberg, some three months removed from his senior year at Texas Tech, made four straight birdies down the stretch to surge past former US Open champion Matt Fitzpatrick and win the European Masters in Switzerland.

Texas Tech coach Greg Sands saw it when Aberg was 18 and playing his first European tour event at the Scandinavian Masters.

"Everybody falls in love with the physical side of things, how efficient he is and all those things visually you get to see up close," Sands said.

"It's his ability to compartmentalise a moment, he doesn't let distractions (affect him)."

One such distraction might have been playing with the Ryder Cup captain, in his third start as a pro, at the Rocket Mortgage Classic in Detroit - but Aberg hit every fairway and missed only one green in a round of 65.

"I've played with a lot of (Ryder Cup) contenders over the last six to 12 months and some haven't played that well with me looking at them," Donald said.

"But he didn't have any problem."

With two weeks left in the qualifying period, Donald suggested to Aberg that he come to the European tour.

The Swede tied for fourth in the Czech Masters and won in Switzerland.

It's no less amazing that he will be at Marco Simone outside Rome in three weeks, which leads to the Garcia comparisons.

They are the only two players to turn pro in the same year as being selected for the Ryder Cup - Aberg takes it a step further as the only Ryder Cup player to have never competed in a major.

Garcia had played only 13 times after turning pro in April 1999 when he made his Ryder Cup debut - Aberg will have played on 10 occasions.

Europe had an aging team last time out at Whistling Straits in 2021 when they suffered their worst Ryder Cup defeat.

Aberg represents the future, along with another pick, 22-year-old Nicolai Hojgaard of Denmark.

Aberg never really contemplated being in Italy for the Ryder Cup until he played with Donald in Detroit.

"I've done a pretty good job of not thinking about it too much," he said.

"You want to be part of these teams at some point during your career but I didn't realise this was going to be this quickly."