Swedish rookie Ludvig Aberg says it was a “dream come true” to be selected to play in this week’s Ryder Cup after his remarkable rise from the amateur ranks in just three months.
The 23-year-old only turned professional in June but has already achieved enough to be handed a captain’s pick for the matches in Rome by European skipper Luke Donald, who has hailed his player as a “generational talent”.
Aberg has risen from 3,064th in the world rankings at the start of the year to the top 80.
Donald said he was told by vice-captain Edoardo Molinari that Aberg was one to watch after the Italian played alongside him at the Dubai Desert Classic in January.
But Aberg was not even seriously considering the possibility of being called up just two months ago.
“All I tried to do was play good golf. If someone would have told me a couple of months ago that I would be here playing a Ryder Cup, I probably wouldn’t have believed them,” Aberg told reporters.
“It’s really cool and it’s a dream come true for me to be here, and looking forward to the next couple days …
“It’s really cool the way that these past couple of months have panned out for me.
“It’s been quite intense and you know, I’m trying to embrace it. I try to enjoy it.”
Aberg will become the first golfer to ever tee it up at a Ryder Cup without having played at a Major championship.
He accepts that there will be inevitable nerves when he steps onto the first tee in front of a grandstand which holds 5,000 fans.
“I wish I never got nervous. I think obviously anyone that plays golf feels the nerves sometimes,” Aberg added. “I’m going to feel those same things on Friday, Saturday and Sunday of this week.
“But you know, it’s very much an excitement. It’s very much an anticipation of what’s to come and I try to view it as something good.”
Heading into the final stretch of qualifying events for the European team, Aberg would have only been seen as having an outside chance of playing at the Ryder Cup.
But a top-five finish in the Czech Masters was followed by victory in the last qualifying tournament at the European Masters.
He has attracted plenty of attention since, with Rory McIlroy among his new admirers, calling his ball-striking “incredible”.
“It’s very flattering and nice to hear the things that other players say. I can’t really do anything about it,” said Aberg.
There is little suggestion that Donald, who has said he plans to send out all 12 of his players before Sunday’s singles, will hold Aberg back.
“You never get too much high or low from Ludvig. He’s just very even-keeled, and again, I think he’s just going to let his clubs do the talking this week,” Donald said of his potential rising star.
© Agence France-Presse