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Five things to know: Ludvig Aberg, the TOUR’s newest member

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Five things to know: Ludvig Aberg, the TOUR’s newest member

    Gone are the days of the gradual learning curve in professional golf. Young players arrive on the scene ready to make an immediate impact, as evidenced by the Scottie Schefflers, Viktor Hovlands and Collin Morikawas of recent years. Spend a few minutes on a TOUR practice range and prepare for a heavy dose of fearlessness.

    Ludvig Aberg should fit in quite nicely.

    The smooth-swinging Swede has made history as the first player to earn direct access to the PGA TOUR via collegiate merit, finishing No. 1 on the 2023 PGA TOUR University Ranking. Now the Texas Tech alum takes his talents to the big stage, just two weeks after concluding his college career at the NCAA Championship. This week’s RBC Canadian Open marks Aberg’s first start as a full-fledged PGA TOUR pro.

    “It's a lot of fun,” Aberg said Wednesday at the RBC Canadian Open. “Obviously there's a lot of good players here. But I'm really looking forward to it and hopefully I'll be able to play some good golf too.”

    Ludvig Åberg visits PGA TOUR’s Global Home after earning card

    As the No. 1 player on the PGA TOUR University Ranking, Aberg earns immediate TOUR membership that will carry through 2024 at minimum. He departed amateur golf at No. 1 on the World Amateur Golf Ranking, and he was recently named recipient of the Ben Hogan Award and Jack Nicklaus Award as college player of the year. His amateur resume leaves little doubt as to his merits, sentiments echoed by those who know him best.

    Aberg craves the big moment and has the game to back it up. He relishes the chance to test his talents against the game’s best, an opportunity that now becomes routine. Aberg’s career as a TOUR member begins 7:44 a.m. Thursday at Oakdale Golf & Country Club, alongside Matt Fitzpatrick and Tyrrell Hatton.

    Here are five things to know about the newest PGA TOUR member on the eve of his debut.


    Aberg represents the first of what will be an annual occurrence: the top men’s college golfer earning immediate status on the PGA TOUR.

    After a pair of dominant seasons at Texas Tech, Aberg finished No. 1 in the 2023 PGA TOUR University Ranking. The distinction earned the Eslov, Sweden native PGA TOUR membership for the remainder of 2023 season as well as the 2024 season, though he will be subject to reshuffles in 2024.

    This year marks the first that the top finisher earned immediate PGA TOUR status. The top graduates from the first two PGA TOUR University classes earned Korn Ferry Tour status

    While two classes of PGA TOUR University graduates came before Aberg, changes to the PGA TOUR Ranking program came at the right time for the 23-year-old. The top finishers of the first two PGA TOUR University classes earned Korn Ferry Tour membership. This marks the first year that the top finisher earns PGA TOUR membership.

    “The PGA TOUR U team has done a tremendous job of incorporating us and giving us benefits and opportunities. I'm just fortunate to be kind of the first guy to take advantage of it,” Aberg said. “But I think it's going to get better. I think more guys are going to be able to take advantage of it. I think it's going to make college golf better.”

    Aberg all but took out the suspense of the moment as the final weeks of the collegiate season hardly represented a race. Aberg’s spot at the top of the rankings was insurmountable when he arrived at the NCAA Championships at Grayhawk Golf Club. Now his career as a PGA TOUR member begins.

    “He really set a standard for this team that I never thought would be set,” Texas Tech coach Greg Sands said. “He’s a generational type of talent.”


    Aberg’s finale at Texas Tech resulted in him sweeping the major awards for college golf and making a little history along the way. Aberg won both the Jack Nicklaus Award and the Fred Haskins Award. He also captured the Ben Hogan Award for the second year in a row – becoming just the second golfer ever to win that in back-to-back years. Jon Rahm was the first.

    With the Hogan Award win (Aberg won the award on a Monday and then shot a 59 two days later), he became just the sixth golfer ever to sweep those three honors in one season. Aberg ended his collegiate career on top of the PGA TOUR University rankings and was also ranked as the world’s No.1 amateur.

    Aberg represented the International team at the 2020 and 2022 Arnold Palmer Cups. He won a program-record eight times while at Texas Tech included becoming the first golfer to win back-to-back Big 12 Conference Championship titles in both 2022 and 2023. His triumph this year came by an impressive eight shots, while he had nine top-10 finishes in his final season in nine starts.


    Even as an amateur Aberg made some noise in his native Sweden on the pro stage, capturing two titles in 2020 on the Swedish Golf Tour. He’s played five events on the PGA TOUR, including twice in 2023. He made the cut at both the Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by Mastercard, where he tied for 24th, and the Valspar Championship.

    Ludvig Aberg's putter stays hot with 13-footer at Arnold Palmer

    He made his TOUR debut at the Butterfield Bermuda Championship in 2021, making the cut and eventually finishing tied for 51st. Aberg missed the cut at The RSM Classic in 2021 along with the Valero Texas Open in 2022. Aberg has also played three times on the DP World Tour, making the cut each time. His best result came in his DP World Tour debut in 2018 at the Nordea Masters, when he tied for 34th.

    He earned a special exemption into the 2023 Hero Dubai Classic and shared the first-round lead after shooting a 7-under 65.


    Ludvig Aberg's throws a dart at No. 2 at Valspar

    Aberg, who stands more than 6 feet tall and has a physique that belies his childhood passion for playing soccer, is a golfer built in the modern mold. A strong ball-striker, he wields driver with impunity to press his advantage over his competition.

    “He’s got the ability to take over a golf course,” Sands said, pointing to the final round of Aberg’s win in last year’s Big 12 Championship at Whispering Pines Golf Club in Trinity, Texas, to illustrate his point. Aberg putted for birdie on all 18 holes after hitting 16 greens and two approach shots onto the fringe.

    In eight recorded rounds on TOUR this season, Aberg ranked inside the top 30 of both driving distance (308.3 yards) and Strokes Gained: Approach the Green (.506). His victory at the 19th Jones Cup Invitational last year provides further proof. There may not be an amateur event that does a better job of prognosticating professional success than the Jones Cup, which is played on a penal layout in the heart of winter on Georgia’s southeastern coast. More than half the winners, including multiple major champions, have played on the PGA TOUR. And that doesn’t count Jordan Spieth, who lost in a playoff to John Peterson (who finished T4 in the next year’s U.S. Open) in 2011.

    “I always felt he looked like Adam Scott,” Sands said of Aberg.


    There is a favorite anecdote that Sands, Aberg’s coach at Texas Tech, loves to tell. It illustrates Aberg’s poise under pressure. It came during the closing holes of a collegiate event in Cabo last year after Sands informed Aberg that he was facing a must-make putt on the final hole.

    “You could see that focus hone in,” Sands said. “He knew what he needed to do.”

    And he did it. After making the putt, Aberg simply turned to his coach and said, “I love this game.”

    The moment showed Aberg’s ability to remain calm and control his emotions in the heat of competition.

    “He loved the opportunity it presented and loved the fact that he got it done,” Sands said. “I think that speaks to his ability to, so to speak, want the ball at the end of the game.

    “He wants the putt. He wants the big shot.”

    Aberg studied economics in high school in Sweden, keeps his Strokes Gained stats and journals after every tournament to reflect on his performance (producing entries in English and Swedish to share with his coaches in each country). The entries range from techniques – “My swing was very neutral throughout the whole week,” he wrote after winning the Big 12 Championship – to emotions.

    “First time playing in front of big crowds and grandstands,” he wrote about the 2018 Nordea Masters, a DP World Tour event where he made the cut at age 18. “It made me more nervous, but I remembered that (Jonnie Erikson, coach of the Swedish national team) said that being nervous is just a feeling and not something that’s going to affect your behavior unless you let it.”

    He doesn’t have a Twitter account and rarely posts on Instagram, knowing there are more productive ways to spend his time. Sands has grown accustomed to Aberg taking a few hours to respond to texts about non-urgent matters.

    Cal Poly men’s golf coach Phil Rowe, who led the International Team at last year’s Palmer Cup, described Aberg as a “totally comfortable, yet powerful, presence that permeated the team.

    “He was a listener and curious but an assassin on the course who elevated the games of those around him,” added Rowe, who represented Great Britain & Ireland in the 1999 Walker Cup and played in the 2000 Open Championship

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