Rory McIlroy will be one of several experienced members of the European Ryder Cup team when it takes on the US at Marco Simone in Italy at the end of the month. However, captain Luke Donald’s 12-player team is not short of rookies either.
One of those is Swedish star Ludvig Aberg, who is widely tipped to have a glittering future in the game. That was given plenty of credibility by his most recent performance, which saw him claim his maiden DP World Tour title in the Omega European Masters at the start of the month.
Whichever way you look at it, the Swede’s ascent from amateur to Ryder Cup team member in a matter of months has been impressive, but has it all come too soon for the 23-year-old? Judging by McIlroy’s assessment of him having played with him during the European Ryder Cup team’s scouting trip to Marco Simone earlier in the week, it doesn’t appear so.
The Ulsterman is preparing to play in the BMW PGA Championship, along with every other member of Team Europe, at Wentworth. However, before trying to secure his first title in the tournament since 2014, McIlroy gave his opinion of Aberg.
He said: “I had an opportunity to play with Ludvig for the first time on Monday, which I was excited about. I told him, I said, ‘I’ve been looking forward to this for a while.’”
According to McIlroy, those expectations weren’t misplaced. He continued: “Probably exceeded them. 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.”
McIlroy then explained when the former World No.1 amateur came to his attention. He said: “So he got to No.1 world in the amateur ranking, and I think he won the Haskins Award and the Nicklaus Award for being the best college player.
“So I think that probably maybe the end of last year. Then there were some people in the golf community that were touting him to be on this the Ryder Cup team…