Aberg Boosts Ryder Cup Chances With Stunning Audition Alongside Skipper Donald

Ludvig Aberg played a superb round alongside Ryder Cup skipper Luke Donald in Detroit to further his chances of a shock place in the European team

Ludvig Aberg
(Image credit: Getty Images)

As far as interviews go, Ludvig Aberg produced a scintillating display in front of European Ryder Cup captain Luke Donald at the Rocket Mortgage Classic - to further enhance his claims for a shock appearance in Rome this year.

The 23-year-old Swede was an amateur sensation and no doubt on the radar for future involvement in the Ryder Cup, but the way he’s taken to life on the PGA Tour since turning professional may just convince Donald that he’s ready.

After a stellar college career at Texas Tech, Aberg only turned professional at the start of June, but has had two top 25 finishes and some stunning rounds that suggest he could hold his own against the might of Team USA.

It prompted Donald to take a closer look at him during the first two rounds in Detroit, and Aberg responded with a seven-under round of 65 which included seven birdies and an eagle in his first 16 holes.

Two closing bogeys were the only downside as he finished just a shot off the lead, but the level-headed Swede does not seem so surprised as he knows how good he could be.

“I know what I can do deep down and I know my capabilities,” Aberg said after his round. “Obviously that's what I expect from myself, but it's fun to see where that takes me and hopefully I'll be able to keep it up as well.”

Although he’s just on his third PGA Tour event as a pro, having played a few as an amateur Aberg is taking the switch in his stride.

“I've been fortunate enough to play a few of these events before so I've been exposed to this a little bit,” he added. “But I think just going back-to-back weeks is a little bit different from what I've done before. 

“It's just going to take a little time. I think being OK with being a little bit uncomfortable at times is going to be key. All in all, it's super fun. It's so much fun to play these events and I'm looking forward to playing a lot more.”

Aberg's accuracy would suit Ryder Cup set-up

Ryder Cup captains Zach Johnson and Luke Donald

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Aberg was pinpoint in his accuracy, hitting 17 greens and finding every single fairway – which is something that will be key at Marco Simone Golf Club in the Ryder Cup.

“I mean, driver is one of my favorite clubs and I like hitting it,” he said. “Obviously you're not going to hit the fairway every time, but hopefully I'll be able to keep it up the next couple of days as well.

“I will say my driver worked very well today. I hit a lot of fairways. On a golf course like this you get a lot of chances when you do that.”

Donald has six captain’s picks this year for the Ryder Cup to sit alongside his six qualifiers – but we’re pretty safe in saying that Jon Rahm, Rory McIlroy, Viktor Hovland, Tyrrell Hatton, Matt Fitzpatrick, Tommy Fleetwood, Shane Lowry and Justin Rose will form the base of the side.

That leaves four spaces with potential Ryder Cup rookies such as Pablo Larrazabal, Sepp Straka, Adrian Meronk, Yannik Paul, Victor Perez, Jorge Campillo and Rasmus Hojgaard all battling it out for the remaining spots.

Aberg will not likely trouble the Ryder Cup qualification standings but he's eligible as an affiliate member of the DP World Tour - and winning the PGA Tour University gave him membership to the PGA Tour proper for the remainder of this season and 2024.

Many more rounds like Thursday in Detroit or a few more tournaments at the top of leaderboards though could just force Donald's hand.

Paul Higham

Paul Higham is a sports journalist with over 20 years of experience in covering most major sporting events for both Sky Sports and BBC Sport. He is currently freelance and covers the golf majors on the BBC Sport website.  Highlights over the years include covering that epic Monday finish in the Ryder Cup at Celtic Manor and watching Rory McIlroy produce one of the most dominant Major wins at the 2011 US Open at Congressional. He also writes betting previews and still feels strangely proud of backing Danny Willett when he won the Masters in 2016 - Willett also praised his putting stroke during a media event before the Open at Hoylake. Favourite interviews he's conducted have been with McIlroy, Paul McGinley, Thomas Bjorn, Rickie Fowler and the enigma that is Victor Dubuisson. A big fan of watching any golf from any tour, sadly he spends more time writing about golf than playing these days with two young children, and as a big fair weather golfer claims playing in shorts is worth at least five shots. Being from Liverpool he loves the likes of Hoylake, Birkdale and the stretch of tracks along England's Golf Coast, but would say his favourite courses played are Kingsbarns and Portrush.