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We may be in the middle of the incredibly short PGA Tour offseason, but there is no offseason when it comes to Par Talk. There are still plenty of storylines to take a look at in the world of golf, especially with young Ludvig Aberg earning his first professional win a few short weeks before the Ryder Cup.
It’s never a bad week when you get to watch golf be played at St. Andrews, especially when said golf involves an American squad getting the best of the Euros across the pond. The U.S. got off to a slow start at the Walker Cup, but stormed back to get the job done.
Speaking of across the pond, all eyes will head to Rome in a few weeks with the U.S. looking to end its 30-year drought in the Ryder Cup away from home. Now that the teams are set in stone, it’s time we look at some matches we want to see take place.
Ludvig Aberg Wastes No Time, Has Officially Arrived On Scene
Ludvig Aberg was a student-athlete at Texas Tech four months ago. Since turning professional in June all he’s done is picked up a pair of Top 15 finishes on the PGA Tour, a win in the Omega European Masters on the DP World Tour, and earn a captain’s pick for the European Ryder Cup team.
Not bad for a 23-year-old from Eslov, Sweden.
Aberg has been tabbed as the next big-time European player for quite some time now. To say expectations were high for him would be an understatement, but the way he’s checked off every single box since turning professional has been beyond impressive.
After his PGA Tour season wrapped up in early August at the Wyndham Championship, Aberg was on the outside looking in when it came to receiving a captain’s pick for the Ryder Cup. He made the wise decision to head to Europe and try to build his résume with two starts on the DP World Tour before captain Luke Donald announced the team on September 4.
In his first opportunity to get Donald’s full attention, Aberg finished T-4 in the Real Czech Masters. He was undoubtedly in the mix for a captain’s pick from that moment, but he went from being in the mix to being a shoe-in with his performance this past weekend in the Omega European Masters.
Aberg began the final round two shots back of former U.S. Open champion Matt Fitzpatrick. A come-from-behind win would all but guarantee him a spot on the European team, but it was an incredibly tall ask.
Seeing as how Aberg is a machine, it wasn’t too tall an ask for him. The Swede fired final round 64 and left the Swiss event with a two-shot victory.
Less than 24 hours later Donald announced his six captain’s picks for the Ryder Cup team and Aberg was given the final spot.
Aberg is the first player to ever make a Ryder Cup team before playing in a single major championship in his career. Truly unbelievable.
Gordon Sargent Helps Push U.S. To Come From Behind Walker Cup Victory
While Aberg was putting on a clinic in Switzerland, the top amateurs in the game were doing battle at St. Andrews.
The Americans were the heavy favorites heading into this year’s Walker Cup, but the Great Britain & Ireland squad made things rather interesting from the get-go by taking a 3-1 lead and extending their lead to three points heading into Sunday’s final two sessions.
The U.S. didn’t have its best stuff in the first few sessions, but when its backs got pushed against the wall it fought back in style. The Americans won three of the four morning foursomes on Sunday and kept the foot on the gas during the 10 singles matches to close out the event, winning six of the 10.
The U.S. ultimately won the Walker Cup by the score of 14.5 to 11.5, but if it wasn’t for Gordon Sargent we may be talking about heartbreak for the American bunch.
Sargent, the freakishly fast-swinging Vanderbilt Commodore, won all four of his matches over the weekend including a 1-up win over John Gough in the fourth singles match on Sunday.
The U.S. has now won four straight Walker Cups and five of the last six. Great Britain & Ireland’s last win in the event came at Royal Lytham in 2015. Sargent was 12-years-old the last time the Americans lost the Walker Cup.
Fingers Crossed We See These Matches At The Ryder Cup
We say this every other year when the Ryder Cup rolls around because, in my opinion, it’s the best event in all of golf, but wow is there some potential for some all-time fireworks in Rome later this month.
When it comes to both squad’s biggest surprises in terms of team makeup, Justin Thomas getting a captain’s pick for the U.S. over the likes of Lucas Glover and Keegan Bradley and Aberg earning a captain’s pick over the likes of Yannik Paul and Adrian Meronk on the European squad stick out.
Now that that certain drama has been put to bed, we can get into the real nitty gritty, which is speculating on what teams we’ll see during the fourball and foursomes sessions, and most interestingly, which players will square off during Sunday’s singles matches.
To be fair, none of these matches will be bad. When you have 12 Americans battling 12 Europeans, it’s always going to be theatre, but that’s not to say we can’t have a wishlist.
Scottie Scheffler vs. Rory McIlroy, the World No. 1 vs the World No. 2, is a match the golf gods simply have to award us on Sunday.
After that obvious one, we need some chaos, and I think Brooks Koepka taking on Tyrrell Hatton has the potential to be be all time. Koepka and Hatton are both as cocky as they come, but show it in different ways. Hatton is liable to smash a tee marker with his club in frustration while Koepka could play the entire match by not making eye contact with the Englishman before hitting him with a plethora of fist pumps.
Maybe the sneakiest potential matchup of them all could be Jon Rahm taking on Patrick Cantlay. Rahm complained about just how slow Cantlay played during the final round of this year’s Masters, pinning slow-playing Cantlay against him mano-y-mano with the European fans surrounding them could be absolute mayhem in the best way imaginable.
Follow Mark Harris on X @ItIsMarkHarris