This was one of the best things Luke Donald did as Ryder Cup captain

Ahead of the Ryder Cup last month, the European team seemed formidable, but something was missing.

That something was a combined 28 Ryder Cup appearances from Lee Westwood, Sergio Garcia and Ian Poulter over the past 26 years.

The European guard was changing, meaning Rory McIlroy, with just six previous appearances, was the most experienced player on Europe’s roster as the team headed for Marco Simone.

Of course, the Europeans had no such lack of leadership and we all know how the matches turned out: a resounding home team win.

The European’s 16.5-11.5 win had a lot to do with the performance of the team’s future generations of leaders, like McIlroy, Viktor Hovland and Jon Rahm, who combined for 10.5 points in Rome. However, the victors also got an impressive top-to-bottom performance with rookies like Ludvig Aberg and Robert MacIntyre, who won 2 and 2.5 points, respectively.

Ludvig Aberg Ryder Cup
Ludvig Aberg explains historic Ryder Cup beatdown
By: Jessica Marksbury

On this week’s episode of GOLF’s Subpar, Aberg told co-hosts Colt Knost and Drew Stoltz that captain Luke Donald made sure there was no lack of leadership on his squad.

“That’s what Luke did such a good job of,” Aberg said. “I mean, he did a lot of things very well. But I do feel like there was a nice dynamic between experience, between younger people, between— you know, obviously I was world-class too, but, you know, a guy like Rory, a guy like Justin [Rose] with all these experience that they have.

“For me kind of coming in younger, doesn’t really have any experience at all in those situations. And I try to listen to them as much as I can and try to pick their brains as much as I can and understand what— because everyone’s feeling the same emotions, whether you played six or you played one.”

“Everyone’s going to be nervous on the first tee. Everyone’s going to be, you know, excited about playing. But if they can give me a tip on how to, you know, maybe handle that or whatever, that can go a long way.”

Obviously, it did go a long way as Aberg teamed with Hovland to author a historic 9 and 7 beatdown of Scottie Scheffler and Brooks Koepka in Saturday morning foursomes. It was part of a very strong Ryder Cup debut for the 23-year-old who became the first player ever to play in a Ryder Cup before playing in his first major.

Donald, meanwhile, was hailed for his performance as captain, leading the European players to chant “two more years,” at the trophy presentation ceremony.

For more Ryder Cup stories from Aberg, including his pick for Team Europe’s MVP, check out the full episode below.

Jack Hirsh Editor

Jack Hirsh is an assistant editor at GOLF. A Pennsylvania native, Jack is a 2020 graduate of Penn State University, earning degrees in broadcast journalism and political science. He was captain of his high school golf team and recently returned to the program to serve as head coach. Jack also still *tries* to remain competitive in local amateurs. Before joining GOLF, Jack spent two years working at a TV station in Bend, Oregon, primarily as a Multimedia Journalist/reporter, but also producing, anchoring and even presenting the weather. He can be reached at