Ludvig Aberg shines a major-championship presence in first Masters
16 Apr,2024 Credit : Andrew Redington / Getty Images

By Tim Liotta


Ludvig Aberg shines a major-championship presence in first Masters

Ludvig Aberg may not be getting enough credit for the latest impressive achievement his short professional career. 

Aberg finished second in the 2024 Masters, the first major championship of his career, after having already posted victories on the DP World Tour and the PGA Tour, not to mention contributing to Europe's 2023 Ryder Cup victory since turning professional last June. 

"I think there's a lot of things that we did very well this week, especially (on Sunday), because I came out and I was very nervous, obviously," said Aberg, who has risen to No. 7 in the world in less than 10 months. "I was shaking a little bit on the first tee. Those are all things that I really enjoy doing. We said that it's a privilege to be able to hit all these shots out here, and it's a privilege to be in this position."

The 24-year-old Aberg finished four shots behind Scottie Scheffler, the No. 1-ranked player in the Official World Golf Rankings, but upon closer inspection he actually outscored Scheffler over 17 of Augusta National's 18 holes during the Masters Tournament. 

It's obvious a major championship is 72 holes, and every shot counts, but it could be said Aberg's tournament came down to the 15th hole, a tricky par-5 that Scheffler played in 2-under-par while Aberg played the hole in 3-over.

On the 15th hole, Aberg posted a double-bogey in the first round, a par in the second, a bogey in the third, and a par in Sunday's final round. 

Thursday's double-bogey came after his third shot landed on the middle of the green and spun back into the pond. 

Saturday's bogey saw Aberg's second shot roll over the back of the green, where he played a chip for his third that stuck in the fringe. His fourth shot, using a putter from a few feet off the back of the green, was a touch too strong and ran six feet past the hole. His par putt burned the right edge but did not fall. Four shots to get down from  less than 20 yards 

Over the final three rounds, Aberg hit more fairways than Scheffler, 34 to 32, and he hit more greens than Scheffler, 36 to 33. 

Scheffler played more holes under par, with 20 birdies and the eagle Saturday on 13 that pushed him back to the top of the leaderboard. Aberg made 17 birdies and did not make an eagle 

Aberg played fewer holes over-par, making a tournament-low six bogeys and Thursday's double-bogey on 15. Scheffler made nine bogeys and one double. 

Aberg's most-glaring error came when he was still only two shots back of Scheffler on the 11th hole on Sunday, when his approach shot bounced into a pond to the left of the green.

"It was 190 meters, I think, a little bit into off the right," Aberg said. "So I've been playing that same shot all week where I basically aim just right of the right edge of the green and try to drive it - or draw it in there.

"I tried to do the same thing today, and it came out a little bit - started just a little bit too far left and the wind caught it and hit it in the water. 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 he was proud of the way he shook off the setback.

"Obviously we knew that hitting it in the water on 11 wasn't ideal, but we also just kept playing," Aberg said. "That's what me and my caddie Joe (Scovron) and our team has been trying to work on. Just keep playing no matter what happens. I think we did that very well today, and it just showed that we stuck to what we did, and it ended up being pretty okay anyways."

None of points made here are meant to diminish Scheffler's achievement. He won his second Green Jacket in three years in spectacular fashion, with birdies on 6 of the final 11 holes. 

"Obviously Scottie is an unbelievable golf player, and I think we all expect him to be there when it comes down to the last couple holes of a tournament," Aberg said. "He's proven it again and again, and I think, you know, he makes us better. He makes you want to beat him, obviously, and, you know, that's the same for me and the same for everyone else in this field I think."

Aberg admitted he needed quite a bit of help over his first four rounds over Augusta National, where brutal winds clubbed the field on Friday, and continued to blow on Saturday. 

"I think, you know, this place has so many nuances to it, so many subtle things off the greens and off the tee that I trust my caddie, Joe, a lot with, and he's helped me tremendously this week in terms of those things.

Aberg and Scovron teamed up in December. Scovron is best known for working 13 years with PGA Tour veteran Rickie Fowler,and had most recently been working with Tom Kim.

"You know, we felt like we did a great job. It's a fine balance between being aggressive to the right spots and not being overly aggressive," Aberg said. "Because you can put yourself in some really tough, tricky spots. I felt like we did good job all week of making sure that at least you have a chance of getting up-and-down and all these things."

It wound not be a stretch to say Aberg's performance was the best by a player playing his first Masters since Fuzzy Zoeller won as a Masters rookie in 1979. 

"I think, you know, everyone in my position, they are going to want to be major champions," said Aberg. "They are going to want to be world No. 1s, and it's the same for me, and that's nothing different.

"It's been that way ever since I picked up a golf club, and that hasn't changed. So I think this week solidifies a lot of those things are there, and we just need to keep doing those things and put ourselves in positions to win tournaments, I think."