Ludvig Aberg is eager to defy the notion that rookies cannot win at Augusta, as he looks forward to Masters 2024.

April 14, 2024

In Augusta, Georgia, there is a noteworthy reality that none of the previous winners on the Nordic Golf League have ever won any of the initial 87 Masters Tournaments. This outcome shouldn’t come as a surprise; however, this obscure statistic could be poised to shift. Three strong competitors – Scottie Scheffler, Collin Morikawa and Max Homa – hold respective leads over their opponent Ludvig Aberg in Sunday‚Äôs final round at Augusta National: three-, two- and one-stroke advantages. Nevertheless, not much has proven unachievable for young Swedish professional golfer Ludvig Aberg in his brief career thus far. At twenty-three years old he remains unfazed by today’s challenging conditions.

If Aberg manages to win not only his first appearance at the Masters but also his first entry into any of the four major men’s championships, it would undoubtedly rank as one of his most notable accomplishments that he has rapidly achieved on his “to-do” list.

Just to clarify: Have they won tournaments on both the PGA Tour and DP World Tour? Yes. Did they make their Ryder Cup debut? Yes. Are they a top-10 ranked player in the world? Yes.

Aberg has a statistical reason to feel encouraged as he gears up for his fourth competitive round at Augusta National. Despite the challenging presence of World No. 1 Scheffler, Aberg displayed impressive performance in two days of persistent wind with scores of 69-70 compared to the leader’s (72-71) four-shot deficit. The Swede, who honed his college golf skills at Texas Tech located in Lubbock – infamous for its ever-breezy environment – appears to have gained momentum if this hard-to-grasp quality can persist overnight.

“It’s apparent that we encountered a lot of wind in Lubbock and the weather conditions for the past two days have been comparable,” Aberg stated. “I’m uncertain if it applies similarly here, but I assume I’ve become somewhat accustomed to it.”

Although the former top-ranked amateur’s shoulders are strong, there is no doubt that the psychological aspect of Masters Sunday will be a heavy burden. Despite being questioned about how he handles this mental stress — as no rookie has won since Fuzzy Zoeller in 1979 — Aberg acknowledges it and even says he welcomes it.

“I ponder over it constantly,” he voices. “It doesn’t bother me to think about it because I’m a competitor who strives for victory in tournaments. It’s truly a blessing to be where I am, playing golf professionally. Hiding from the topic isn’t beneficial nor is pushing my thoughts aside; instead, I welcome those feelings and accept everything that comes along with them.”

He went on to say, “I’ll be monitoring the leaderboard tomorrow to assess our situation. The course at Augusta cannot be approached differently despite its requirements. I won’t attempt anything too risky and will aim for optimal placement before attempting putts. Regardless of whether I’m tied for the lead or lagging two or four strokes behind, this remains my plan.”

It is indisputable that Aberg’s call for prudence is appropriate. As with all golfers throughout the extensive existence of this sport, defeats have frequently been interspersed among their victories. The defeat suffered during the quarterfinals of the 2022 British Amateur tournament held at Royal Lytham remains a cause for remorse.

Aberg expressed his disappointment, stating that “being defeated at that point was a terrible experience.” He added that even though he enjoyed playing at Royal Lytham, the way things ended for him during the week wasn’t ideal.

Moreover, the former college player of the year’s ascent to higher levels in professional sports has also been marked by negative incidents.

In the previous year’s BMW PGA Championship held at Wentworth, which is DP World Tour’s premier event, Aberg led by two shots ahead of other players. However, he struggled during his final round with a score of 76 and eventually attained a T-10 finish. Nevertheless, being a two-time Nordic League champion made him an eager learner consistently striving to enhance his skills set. Before participating in last year’s Dubai Desert Classic as an amateur for the fourth time on DP World Tour circuit he expressed this sentiment openly.

He stated that this week would be a crucial trial for him prior to his professional debut, recalling how previous tournaments had exposed him to higher levels of competition. Starting college presented another challenge; however, he is now faced with yet another level up in the game and intends on studying other player’s techniques while maintaining his own style. His ultimate goal is not only playing good golf but also improving course management skills – observing top players’ strategy of deliberately missing in optimal areas instead of recklessly hitting any shot like at times seen during college play.

Heading into the last round of the Masters, with a prospect of victory, these recommendations seem practical. Aberg is mindful of his own conduct and will take out time to appreciate life’s simple pleasures – much like Walter Hagen did when he sniffed metaphorical flowers during his 11 major championship wins.

“When I feel stressed, I tend to become a little faster in different aspects,” shared Aberg. “It affects my golf swing as well as the way I walk and talk among other things. Despite this, I do my best to control it and accept these changes. On a positive note, one of the highlights here are the incredibly long shadows you observe while walking down No. 10 or up on 18 which is an amazing experience.”

Seems like everything is in order, which isn’t surprising given Aberg’s usual stoicism and readiness. The only remaining challenge now is to perform successfully when it counts the most – as well as outperforming the competition.