News All Articles
The limitless potential of Ludvig Åberg

The limitless potential of Ludvig Åberg

By Mathieu Wood

There is seemingly no ceiling to the potential of Ludvig Åberg. Blessed with a natural talent and extraordinary composure that has led many of his peers to believe he is destined for the very top of golf, his debut Masters appearance didn’t disappoint.

Ludvig Aberg-2148635489
Ludvig Åberg earned his fourth top 10 and second runner-up finish of 2024 at the Masters Tournament on Sunday

Despite having turned professional less than a year ago, many still might have been doubting the fact it was also his first start in a Major Championship. But it was reality.

That the illusion existed was testament to the mark Åberg has made in a short timeframe.

A winner on both the DP World Tour and the PGA TOUR - either side of helping Team Europe regain the Ryder Cup - inside his first six months as a professional, the 24-year-old arrived at Augusta National last week among the pre-tournament favourites.

While inside the top 10 on the Official World Golf Ranking, surely there was no substitute for experience at a venue where no rookie has won since Fuzzy Zoeller in 1979?

Well, as it turned out, Åberg proved he is once again a man for the biggest stages who relishes in the opportunity to excel.

After opening the week with a one-over-par 73, he was the only player to break 70 in the second round when conditions were at their toughest with swirling winds proving a barrier for the overwhelming majority in the field.

After reaching the halfway stage four shots off the lead, Åberg led at one point during the third round and again in his closing 69 but a double-bogey on the 11th coupled with the brilliance of Scottie Scheffler - the World Number One - meant he had to settle for solo second.

Across the week, Åberg's demeanour was of someone who was relaxed in the knowledge his ability and temperament would ensure he was a challenge to the best.

In the midst of the heat of battle, here was someone who was able to smile at his moments of good fortune, laugh off seeing a fan accidentally knock his snack out of his hand and remain composed after a rare poor swing at the start of Amen Corner that led to him losing ground in his bid for Masters glory.

"All I try to do is make sure that for the next tournament that I come prepared, and I think the experience that I've had this week solidifies that we are doing a lot of good stuff and that we are not going to change a whole lot," he said at his Masters post-tournament press conference.

This is after all a player who was described as a "generational" talent by Luke Donald, who picked the Scandinavian in his Ryder Cup winning team last year.

Hyperbole is all too common in sport, but the statement - made the day after Åberg won his maiden title as a professional at the Omega European Masters in Switzerland - is being proven to be far from an exaggeration.

And his level of talent appears to be matched by his own level of ambition.

"Everyone in my position, they are going to want to be major champions. They are going to want to be world No 1s, and it's the same for me, and that's nothing different," he said.

"It's been that way ever since I picked up a golf club, and that hasn't changed."

Åberg - the former World Number One amateur - has not been short in receiving glowing praise from key figures within the game over the last 12 months or so and that continued last week at Augusta National.

His Ryder Cup teammates Rory McIlroy and Shane Lowry both expressed their view that he is a future World Number One and based on his current trajectory it is hard to argue with that assertion.

But to do that he needs to push on and halt the authority that Scheffler has displayed in recent weeks with no worse than second in the two-time Masters champion's most recent four starts.

Such is the calibre of golf Scheffler is producing, he drew comparisons to Tiger Woods last month after becoming the first back-to-back winner of The Players Championship. For Åberg, the form the American is producing is only fuelling his drive to improve even more.

"Obviously Scottie is an unbelievable golf player, and I think we all expect him to be there when it comes down to the last couple holes of a tournament," he said. "He's proven it again and again, and I think he makes us better.

"He makes you want to beat him, obviously, and, that's the same for me and the same for everyone else in this field I think."

Since his professional debut at the RBC Canadian Open on the PGA TOUR last June, Åberg has missed just one cut - at the co-sanctioned Genesis Scottish Open later that summer - in his 23 starts in the paid ranks.

Consistency is a trait all elite athletes aspire to. It is widely regarded as the benchmark for excellence.

In his last seven starts worldwide, he has finished no worse than a tie for 25th and registered four top-10 finishes in that time, including a runner-up finish at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am.

And as a result of his latest top 10, achieved at Augusta over the weekend, he has risen to a career-high seventh in the world.

Aside from that, he is also assured of a return to the famed Georgia venue next April by finishing runner-up, although based on current evidence it is highly unlikely he wouldn't have played his way into next year's event.

For now, his attention quickly switches to this week's RBC Heritage on the PGA TOUR at Harbour Town Golf Links in Hilton Head Island.

The Signature Event stateside features a high-calibre international field and another opportunity for Åberg to improve on his already impressive résumé.

This time last year he was still at Texas Tech University, going on to secure immediate PGA TOUR membership by finishing atop last year's PGA TOUR University Ranking.

However, now, his impressive performance at the Masters has seen him jump from eighth to fourth in the FedExCup standings, while he sits fifth in the Race to Dubai Rankings in Partnership with Rolex after a dream Major debut.

With three Majors to follow over the next three months, in which he will again have to balance the emotions of being a first-time participant with his aspirations of landing silverware, the opportunities seem plentiful.

Read next