- Ludvig Aberg was called up for Ryder Cup just three months after turning pro
- Swede slipped from first to 10th on the final day at the BMW PGA Championship
Paul McGinley has called for a calming of the hype around Ludvig Aberg – and believes Rory McIlroy and Jon Rahm need to closer resemble the historic greats of the European team if Luke Donald’s side are to avenge their 2021 Ryder Cup thrashing in Rome this month.
The victorious 2014 captain, one of the most astute analysts in the game, declared Aberg the ‘real deal’ after the 23-year-old followed his win in Switzerland by finishing in the top 10 at the BMW PGA Championships.
However, McGinley says Donald will need to ‘manage’ the expectations and pressure around the Swedish phenomenon, whose rise in the three months since he turned professional has been accompanied by worldwide attention.
McGinley told Mail Sport: ‘He’s the real deal. There’s no doubt that he had a bad day on Sunday (Aberg slipped from first to 10th on the final day at Wentworth) and you have to remember success is not a straight line. But for three days he did very well, he won in Switzerland and he’s really hit the ground running since he turned pro. It looks like he’s got all the talent in the world from the short game to the long game.
‘But you don’t want to keep too much pressure on young shoulders. It will be interesting to see who Luke pairs him with and what role he is going to play.
Paul McGinley has called for a calming of the hype around Ryder Cup rookie Ludvig Aberg
‘We all have to be careful to temper it a bit. He has a lot of game there’s no doubt, but Luke has a job managing him to be honest and the expectations that are on him.’
Despite the focus on Donald’s wildcard, McGinley, who will be working as a pundit in Rome for Sky Sports, believes it is imperative that McIlroy and Rahm, respectively ranked second and third in the world, improve their win rates in Cup competition. While each has a solid record – McIlroy has won 12, lost 12 and halved four from a possible 28 points and Rahm has taken 4.5 from eight – they are off pace with historic frontrunners of the European team.
McGinley said: ‘Winning in Rome will mean a combination of a lot of things – we lost by 10 points at Whistling Straits the last time. Jon Rahm has got a 56 per cent win ratio, Rory’s got 50 per cent. Those need to be improved. The likes of Colin Montgomerie and Sergio Garcia, all those guys are up in the 60s. Luke himself was up in the 70s, so they’ve got to raise up.
‘Viktor Hovland has 20 per cent. Then the middle order guys as well – Matt Fitzpatrick has zero, Hatton has got 36 per cent, Lowry has got 33. Those guys have got to raise up and then obviously you bring in the rookies and see how they’re going to play.
‘I think everybody’s got to raise their game and the top players in particular. We need to get up to that 60, 65 per cent win ratio for all the top players.’
Watch the Solheim Cup from 18 September, and the Ryder Cup from 29 September live on Sky Sports Main Event, Sky Sports Golf, and NOW.