Rory: Aberg Exceeded My Expectations

When Europe got dusted 19-9 at Whistling Straits two years ago there seemed to be very little optimism about regaining the Ryder Cup, now there's bundles of it.

One big reason is the Swede Ludvig Aberg who, ridiculously, only turned pro in June. Now he will be front and centre of a lot of chat ahead of the matches in Rome. This week Luke Donald's side all travelled to Marco Simone and Aberg was paired with Viktor Hovland in a betterball match against Tommy Fleetwood and Rory McIlroy.

This was the first time that Aberg and the Northern Irishman had played together and he was suitably impressed.

"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'. He probably exceeded them (my expectations). Everyone talks about what a great driver of the ball he is and 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 first became aware of the Swede when he got to the top of the amateur world rankings – among many accolades Aberg won the Ben Hogan Award as the best collegiate player in the United States in both 2022 and 2023, becoming the first since Jon Rahm to win the award twice.

"There were some people in the golf community that were touting him to be on this Ryder Cup team as he was still playing college golf. He obviously had a phenomenal start to his pro career and played well. Played well in the States, was asked to play a couple events in Europe and finished fourth in Czech and won in Switzerland. He's having an incredible start to his career and anyone who watches him play golf can see the potential and kind of talent that he has."

As for the match itself it was a win for Aberg and Hovland beat McIlroy and Fleetwood at the 16th and the overall experience of the trip for the 23-year-old Swede was something else.

"I wouldn't necessarily say nervous, I was more excited, just to be able to hang out with those guys that I watched on TV for a very long time. It's really cool for me. I almost have to pinch myself in the arm that I'm actually kind of creating a relationship with these guys and getting to play with them on the course. We have all seen what they do on the courses, but it's pretty cool to see that they are actually humans as well. It's pretty cool for me.

"As a person, I would say I'm a very calm person. I don't get too high, not too low. I like to see myself as a very nice, considerate, I want to treat people the way that I want to be treated, and I think that's very important."