Ludvig Aberg Didn’t Win This Masters, But He Proved Without a Doubt That He’s a Star in the Making

Aberg was unable to threaten Scottie Scheffler over the closing holes, but he looks primed to break away from a pack of good players and become great in his own right.
Apr 14, 2024; Augusta, Georgia, USA; Ludvig Aberg looks at the scoreboard on the 15th green during
Apr 14, 2024; Augusta, Georgia, USA; Ludvig Aberg looks at the scoreboard on the 15th green during / Michael Madrid-USA TODAY Sports

AUGUSTA, Ga.— For a while on Sunday during the final round of the 88th Masters, there was a chance that Ludvig Aberg, the 24-year-old Swede, might snatch the green jacket from Scottie Scheffler. This wasn’t a surprise to anybody who had witnessed Aberg win the European Masters last September, just six months after playing in his last collegiate event at Texas Tech. That win caught the attention of Luke Donald, who made Aberg one of his six captain’s picks for the 2023 European Ryder Cup team, where he had a 2-2-0 record in Rome, helping his team to their seventh consecutive home victory. 

On Sunday afternoon when Aberg took a share of the lead early in the round, his Ryder Cup teammate Rory McIlroy didn’t flinch at the notion that he could become the first player since Fuzzy Zoeller to win the Masters in his first appearance in the tournament. 

“I think every stage throughout his very, very young career, he's shown that he belongs,” said McIlroy. 

But this was the Masters. At least when Zoeller won here in 1979, he had been in five previous majors, including capturing a 10th place finish at the 1978 PGA Championship at Oakmont Country Club. For most players, their first trip to the Masters is often a time to take in the history, the nuances of the golf course, the drive down Magnolia Lane, the Par-3 Contest and the merchandise tent. Between shots, Aberg tried to soak it all in. His caddie, Joe Skovron, knew how to usher him through the intricacies of Augusta National. Skovron had guided Rickie Fowler to three top 10s in the Masters, including a runner-up in 2018. 

“This being my first major championship, you never really know what it's going to be like until you're there and experience it,” Aberg said. 

Scheffler wasn’t going away. He never does—not since Teddy Scott became his caddie before the 2022 season. Since then the duo has won nine times, including two Masters. Scheffler wasn’t likely to make a huge mistake that would lose him the tournament. Aberg would have to take it from him, and he might have but for one poor swing on Sunday at the 520-yard par-4 11th hole, which ranked as the most difficult hole on the course with 4.386 stroke average. 

On his approach, Aberg had been aiming just off the right edge of the green all week, but Sunday he started his shot too far left and the wind carried it into the water. In the end, Aberg would finish four shots behind Scheffler in second place with a four-under-par 68 in the final round for a 7-under-par 281 total. But for most of Sunday the tournament felt a lot closer than how it ended.

“It was probably one of the few swings this week where I really put it in a bad spot where I knew I couldn't miss left and I missed it left,” Aberg said. “But overall, I think a lot of the other things I did this week kind of oversees that one shot I think.”

Aberg’s second-place finish at the Masters isn’t a sure sign that he will reach the heights of Scheffler, but it’s proof that he has a future as one of the biggest stars in the game. On Sunday evening, he wasn’t ready to claim the mantle as the face of the game, but the week gave him confidence that he was taking the right steps early in his career. Just three years younger than Scheffler, who is 27, Aberg will have to beat the Texan for the next 20 years if he wants to be the No. 1 player in the world. He’s not the only contender to Scheffler’s mantle, but he’s one of the good young players up next in a game desperately seeking players who can break away from the pack of a lot of very good players. 

“I wouldn't consider myself the face of golf,” he said. “My main focus is to play good golf and all the media things that comes with it is not really up to me. All I try to do is make sure that for the next tournament that I come prepared, and I think the experience that I've had this week solidifies that we are doing a lot of good stuff and that we are not going to change a whole lot.”


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Farrell Evans

FARRELL EVANS

Evans has been a golf writer at Sports Illustrated and ESPN.com. He is the co-founder of two organizations in New York City that use the game of golf to serve underserved youth. He can be reached at: farrellevansgolf@gmail.com