‘The Sky’s The Limit’ – 22-Year-Old Danish Star Nicolai Hojgaard Set For Ryder Cup Debut

The Ryder Cup newcomer has been earmarked as one of the game’s most promising young talents for several years

Nicolai Hojgaard at The Open
Nicolai Hojgaard is one of Luke Donald's Ryder Cup wildcards
(Image credit: Getty Images)

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 largely been making a name for himself 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.

Nicolai Hojgaard with the trophy after winning the 2021 Italian Open

Nicolai Hojgaard's first DP World Tour win came in the 2021 Italian Open

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Hojgaard’s profile was given a further boost earlier in 2023, when he received a special temporary membership of the PGA Tour until the end of the season.

He has proved he can be a force to be reckoned with on the Tour, too, with runner-up in the Corales Puntacana Championship outlining his credentials, before another impressive performance came in his final PGA Tour event of the season, the Wyndham Championship, where he finished T14.

Hojgaard has competed on the DP World Tour twice since then, in the D+D Real Czech Masters and Omega European Masters, and finishes of third and T5 respectively came at the perfect time to persuade Donald he is ready for his first Ryder Cup appearance.

Back in 2019, while Nicolai and Rasmus were on the Challenge Tour, they were interviewed by Golf Monthly, and Nicolai said: “One of our biggest goals is to play the Ryder Cup together – to follow in the footsteps of the Molinari brothers.”

While that ambition will have to wait for at least another two years, for Nicolai, the chance to step onto one of the biggest stages in the game is now only a matter of weeks away.

Mike Hall

Mike has over 25 years of experience in journalism, including writing on a range of sports throughout that time, such as golf, football and cricket. Now a freelance staff writer for Golf Monthly, he is dedicated to covering the game's most newsworthy stories. 

He has written hundreds of articles on the game, from features offering insights into how members of the public can play some of the world's most revered courses, to breaking news stories affecting everything from the PGA Tour and LIV Golf to developmental Tours and the amateur game. 

Mike grew up in East Yorkshire and began his career in journalism in 1997. He then moved to London in 2003 as his career flourished, and nowadays resides in New Brunswick, Canada, where he and his wife raise their young family less than a mile from his local course. 

Kevin Cook’s acclaimed 2007 biography, Tommy’s Honour, about golf’s founding father and son, remains one of his all-time favourite sports books.