Ryder Cup: Bernard Gallacher's gym chat with Rory McIlroy about Ludvig Aberg

Rory McIlroy and Ludvig Aberg of Team Europe pictured in the build up to the 2023 Ryder Cup at Marco Simone Golf & Country Club in Rome. Picture: Patrick Smith/Getty Images.Rory McIlroy and Ludvig Aberg of Team Europe pictured in the build up to the 2023 Ryder Cup at Marco Simone Golf & Country Club in Rome. Picture: Patrick Smith/Getty Images.
Rory McIlroy and Ludvig Aberg of Team Europe pictured in the build up to the 2023 Ryder Cup at Marco Simone Golf & Country Club in Rome. Picture: Patrick Smith/Getty Images.
Bernard Gallacher has been assured by Rory McIlroy about Ludvig Aberg’s Ryder Cup credentials after fearing that Luke Donald had taken “a little bit of a gamble” with the Swede for this week’s match in Rome.

Aberg, who secured one of Donald’s six picks for the contest at Marco Simone Golf & Country Club, will make history as the first player to compete in the biennial bout before playing in a major.

“Luke has been keeping tabs on this guy for a bit,” said Gallacher, a winning captain against the Americans at Oak Hill in 1995. “He’s been following him since he got his PGA Tour card from the college system.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“I don’t really know Rory McIlroy very well, but, during the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth a fortnight ago, he was in the gym at 6 o’clock one morning and that’s the time I’m normally in before disappearing by 7 o’clock.

“Rory said he likes him and is impressed by him. I said to Rory that winning the European Masters in Switzerland in the manner he (Aberg) did after overhauling Matthew Fitzpatrick in the final round made it non-controversial. Although he’s only been a pro for three months, he’s clearly a good player and you want a winner in your team, don’t you?

“I think there is a little bit of a gamble but, at the same time, he’s a proven winner and that’s what you want. You don’t know what people are going to be like in a Ryder Cup. No-one knows what somebody is going to be like.

“But, if I was a captain, I’d prefer to have people who have won tournaments playing on a wildcard rather than someone who has built up a lot of points but hasn’t won a tournament. When he had a chance to win, he stood up to the plate and won in impressive style as I was watching it.”

Gallacher reckons it would be wrong to draw comparisons between Aberg and Seve Ballesteros, even though the great Spaniard burst on to the scene in a similar way back in the mid-70s. “The difference between Seve and Ludvig is that he’s a mature player at 23 years old,” said the Ascot-based Scot. “He’s gone through the college system in the US, which is like a training ground now for the PGA Tour. It used to be a training ground for the Walker Cup or something like that but not any more.

“He’s much more mature than Seve. When Seve burst on the scene, his brother Manuel was taking him around before he burst on the scene in 1976 when I think he was 19 and nearly won The Open, though he had been playing before that. He never looked back after that.”

Though the Americans are favourites on paper for this clash, Gallacher reckons one of Zach Johnson’s players has already provided ammunition for Donald to fire up his players heading into the three-day battle, which starts on Friday.

“Well, I think what Xander Schauffele has already said is going to help the Europeans as he said he doesn’t feel the Americans have to play particularly special to win in Rome. That’s quite a good inspirational tool for Luke, I’d say,” noted Gallacher.

Comments

 0 comments

Want to join the conversation? Please or to comment on this article.