Ludvig Aberg is the wildest of wild cards! The 23-year-old has played pro golf for 77 days and never contested a major, but super Swede earns Ryder Cup pick

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Ludvig Aberg is the wildest of wild cards! The 23-year-old has played pro golf for 77 days and never contested a major, but super Swede earns Ryder Cup pick

  • Swedish prodigy Ludvig Aberg called up just THREE months after turning pro
  • Tommy Fleetwood and Shane Lowry picked by Luke Donald for Ryder Cup 
  • Team Europe and Team USA square off in Rome at the end of the month 

A week after Zach Johnson went against form and gambled on the tried and tested, Luke Donald took a Ryder Cup punt on the smoking hot potential of a rookie who only came to his attention in January.

To say Ludvig Aberg’s rise in the context of this month’s match in Rome has been meteoric would be to flatter the rocks in space.

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But such is the talent of the 23-year-old Swede, there was little to no surprise when Donald named him as the wildest of his six wildcards, just 77 days after Aberg’s first shots in professional golf.

Aberg was joined by Tommy Fleetwood, Justin Rose, Shane Lowry, Sepp Straka and Nicolai Hojgaard in receiving a captain’s pick, and together they were added to the qualified contingent of Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm, Viktor Hovland, Tyrrell Hatton, Matt Fitzpatrick and Robert MacIntyre in the 12-strong side.

While the US will be favourites to win away for the first time since 1993, Donald, with four rookies in his team, has taken the adventurous road in his attempt to regain the Cup after the 19-9 walloping suffered by Europe in 2021.

Ludvig Aberg was named in Europe's Ryder Cup team despite turning pro only in June

Ludvig Aberg was named in Europe’s Ryder Cup team despite turning pro only in June

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 The 23-year-old won the Omega European Masters on Sunday in his ninth start

Aberg, who has never even played in a major, is the embodiment of that cavalier approach, but his credentials were gloriously exhibited at the Omega European Masters in Switzerland on Sunday, when the former world No 1 amateur nailed his final audition with a first title on only his ninth start.

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His exceptional driving will be a perfect fit for the Marco Simone course and clearly his temperament offers no obvious shortcomings, but his selection, for all the excitement it has garnered, is a sizeable risk.

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Donald himself illustrated the speed of Aberg’s climb with his admission that he was virtually unknown to him until this year.

By the time they played together on the PGA Tour in Detroit in July, Donald was a convert, saying: ‘I was so impressed with him. He was a cool nine-under after 16 holes like it was nothing.

‘I could tell straight away that good things were going to happen to this kid.

‘I was texting Rory about this yesterday. I haven’t played a lot with Jon Rahm but I got to watch a bit of Viktor’s ball striking (when he was coming through), and Rory in 2006 when he was breaking out and thought, “This kid is special”. Ludvig fits in that.

‘I’ve played with a lot of contenders in the past six or 12 months and some have not done that well with me looking at them, but he didn’t have any problems.’

It is a ringing endorsement for a prodigy who will become the first European since Sergio Garcia to make his Cup debut in the same year he turned professional.

Doubtless there will be intrigue in how Aberg handles the growing expectations in Rome.

Luke Donald has selected two debutants in his six captain's picks for the Ryder Cup

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Luke Donald has selected two debutants in his six captain’s picks for the Ryder Cup

Justin Rose missed out  on selection at Whistling Straits in 2021

Shane Lowry will make his second consecutive Ryder Cup appearance

Justin Rose (left) returns to Team Europe after missing out at Whistling Straits in 2021, while Shane Lowry makes his second consecutive Ryder Cup appearance

Sepp Straka will make his Ryder Cup debut in Rome

Nicolai Hojgaard will also represent Team Europe for the first time

Sepp Straka (left) will make his Ryder Cup debut in Rome, where he will be joined by fellow Team Europe debutant Nicolai Hojgaard (right)

The Swede said: ‘If you told me a couple of months ago I would be in these conversations I probably wouldn’t have believed you.’

While US captain Johnson caused a stir last week by siding with Justin Thomas’s history over Keegan Bradley’s form, the notable omission from Donald was Adrian Meronk.

The 30-year-old Pole, another gifted driver of the ball, won the Italian Open at Marco Simone in May but was pushed out at the last by talented youngster Hojgaard. The 22-year-old clinched the spot after tying for fifth in Switzerland.

Donald added: ‘He is a young superstar, the world is his oyster. We have seen already what he has accomplished at a young age. I wanted form players.’

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