Dane Nicolai Hojgaard will make his maiden Ryder Cup appearance in the upcoming match at Marco Simone after being confirmed as one of Luke Donald’s wildcards for his European team.
It’s the latest achievement in a rapid rise for the 22-year-old, who has been making a name for himself largely on the DP World Tour since turning pro in 2019.
Nicolai, along with his identical twin brother Rasmus, is one of the most exciting talents to come out of Denmark in years, with a huge drive marking him out as one to watch.
One of the players who has had Hojgaard on his radar for some time is 2013 Masters champion Adam Scott, who, after playing alongside him in the 2022 Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, said: “I was really impressed, I have to say. I was saying to my caddie, it’s been a while since I have played with a young kid who made me sit back and take notice.
“His speed is incredible. If he figures out a short game, the sky’s the limit. Obviously he has a pretty good one but if he takes it to top-of-the-world level, there’s nothing stopping a kid like that.”
Scott also likened his game to one of the greats of the era, Dustin Johnson, saying: “He has incredible talent. There’s nothing stopping him from being one of the best players in the world.
“I would just tell him to become a great wedge player because he is never going to lose that hitting ability. Dustin Johnson worked really hard on his wedges and became a machine out on tour. It looks like Dustin playing to me.”
Hojgaard teamed up with his brother in 2018 to help Denmark win the Eisenhower Trophy at the World Amateur Team Championships, and he’s barely looked back since. After turning pro the year after and initially competing on the Challenge Tour, he soon made his mark on the DP World Tour with a runner-up finish behind Ryder Cup legend Sergio Garcia in the KLM Open.
His first DP World Tour win came two years later and, tellingly, it was in the Italian Open at the venue for this year’s match. Five months later, Hojgaard tasted victory again, this time in the Ras Al Khaimah Championship as his star continued to rise.