By Mathieu Wood
It has been a season to remember for Swedish golf talent on the DP World Tour.
The remarkable rise to prominence of Ludvig Åberg is well documented, but amid all the headlines he is creating there is also much to be said for the breakout campaign of his former international amateur teammate Vincent Norrman.
In just his 14th career appearance on the DP World Tour, Norrman claimed his second Tour title on the 2023 Race to Dubai at the Horizon Irish Open in September. Only 56 days earlier, he made his breakthrough at the Barbasol Championship where he defeated European Challenge Tour graduate Nathan Kimsey in a play-off.
In his two title-winning performances, Norrman has shown himself adept at performing to his best in contrasting situations.
At Keene Trace Golf Club in July, he made a bogey on the 72nd hole to close with a 66, before a par on the same hole in sudden death sealed him victory in Kentucky.
Less than two months later at the island of Ireland's national open, an event boasting a stellar international field, the 25-year-old shot a flawless 65 in a weather-affected final round to emerge from the pack at The K Club. Six birdies in a remarkable eight-hole stretch saw him surge into contention, before a two-putt birdie at the par-five 18th sealed a one-shot victory.
A week earlier, Åberg celebrated his maiden professional title at the Omega European Masters in Switzerland – a performance that helped earn him a Captain’s Pick for the Ryder Cup.
While the 44th edition of golf's greatest team contest came too soon for Norrman, his talent is clear to see. On what he has produced this year, he appears set to be an integral member in a new generation of younger European golfers – as alluded to by Major Champion Shane Lowry before the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth Club.
Lowry said: “You look around, and you look at the young players and how good they are, and even guys [who missed out] like Vincent Norrman and how European golf is, you want to make sure you work as hard as you can to play in more of them. It gives a bit of fuel for my fire.”
Across his DP World Tour appearances so far this year, Norrman has amassed more than 1,847 Race to Dubai points to sit 11th on the season-long standings. Impressive to say the least.
This week sees him make his first appearance at the Nedbank Golf Challenge in South Africa – the penultimate event of the 2023 DP World Tour season.
A victory at Sun City could see Norrman follow Adrian Meronk as just the second player to win three Tour titles in the campaign.
Reflecting on how his victory on U.S. soil helped him at the Irish Open, he said: "I learned so much that day, probably the most I've ever done in my career.
“It's just golf at the end of the day, but obviously I love playing golf, and I'm having the time of my life.”
By the time his first title came around, Norrman was midway through his rookie season on the PGA TOUR, having earned his card stateside through his performances on the Korn Ferry Tour last year.
After an indifferent start to 2023 – where he focused on the PGA TOUR – his form quickly picked up with three top-20 finishes in a four-event stretch between late March and mid-May.
His first Major Championship start would end in disappointment at the U.S. Open as he missed the cut, but it wasn’t long before his two titles came in quick succession.
Since claiming his second DP World Tour title, Norrman finished 18th in his first Rolex Series start at the BMW PGA Championship before returning to the PGA TOUR.
Long assured of his first appearance at the lucrative season-ending DP World Tour Championship next week, focus on his performances is likely to only heighten as his stock rises as he competes on both sides of the Atlantic.
Based on the evidence of what he has shown so far, it would be no surprise to see Normann contend to be part of the European team that defends the Ryder Cup trophy at Bethpage Black in 2025.
With Åberg – who delivered two points on debut at Marco Simone Golf & Country Club – continuing to make waves of his own, we could see the two Swede sensations reunite on the biggest of stages.
Both were part of the Swedish team that won the European Amateur Team Championship in 2019, while a year later they teamed up at the Arnold Palmer Cup.
In a side also boasting fellow Swede Linn Grant, a future historic DP World Tour winner, Norrman and Åberg forged a winning partnership as the International team defeated hosts United States in dominant fashion at Bay Hill, Florida.
Like Åberg, Norrman is a product of college golf in the States, first playing at Georgia Southwestern State University for four seasons before transferring to Florida State for one season in 2021.
It wasn't long before he was gaining attention, finishing in a tie for 12th on home soil in his final start as an amateur at the Scandinavian Mixed and then making an albatross off the tee on his professional debut at the BMW International Open.
After two further top-20 finishes followed later in 2021 on the DP World Tour to highlight his potential, he opted to prioritise the Korn Ferry Tour last year as he continued to impress but it is now this season that we are seeing Norrman earn wider recognition.
After reaching a career-high 72nd on the Official World Golf Ranking last month, the outlook is very promising for Norrman. With chances to shine in both South Africa and Dubai over back-to-back weeks, it would be no surprise to see him enhance his burgeoning reputation.