Ludvig Åberg, Nicolai Højgaard poised to carry Olympic mantle for Nordic nations in Paris

Ludvig Åberg is the rare kind of golfer where, for as much hype was heaped on him before he even turned professional, he has very much lived up to all of it.

Åberg, from Sweden, has already ascended into the top 10 in the Official World Golf Ranking on the back of his maiden DP World Tour title last September at the Omega European Masters and first PGA TOUR trophy at The RSM Classic in November. He was also a captain’s selection for Luke Donald’s winning European team at the Ryder Cup.

And all this has happened before he’s even teed it up in his first major championship.

The 24-year-old, who was the No.1-ranked amateur in the world for 29 weeks while playing for Texas Tech University, has three top-10 finishes in seven TOUR events so far this season. He’s less than a week away from making his major-championship debut at Augusta National, but with all the success coming his way, he’ll also be hard pressed to be passed over as a representative for his home country in the Olympics in Paris this summer. Åberg currently sits eighth in the Olympic Golf Ranking.

Add that to the quickly-growing list of accomplishments for the next-generation PGA TOUR star.

“Obviously it would be a tremendous amount of pride representing your country and representing all the people back home,” said Åberg, who earned his TOUR card last May after finishing No. 1 in the 2023 PGA TOUR University Ranking, making him the first player to earn membership via PGA TOUR University. “And hopefully that’s something that I’ll be able to do.”

Åberg, who has played Le Golf National before, has represented Sweden in the past including at the European Boys’ Team Championship, the Junior Golf World Cup, the Eisenhower Trophy and the European Amateur Team Championship three times (including winning in 2019 over England on home soil at the Ljunghusen Golf Club).

For now, it appears Åberg will be headed to Paris alongside Alex Noren, a 10-time DP World Tour winner. While one Swedish player – Henrik Stenson – won silver when golf returned to the Olympics in 2016, Åberg knows there’s still plenty of golf to be played this year before he gets his own chance at a medal. But he knows what kind of honor it would be, too.

While Åberg has made plenty of noise in his young career, so too has fellow Nordic golfer Nicolai Højgaard. The 23-year-old from Denmark has already collected three DP World Tour titles including the 2023 DP World Tour Championship.

Højgaard, whose twin brother Rasmus also is a top-tier professional with four wins on the DP World Tour, was a rookie on the winning European Ryder Cup squad alongside Åberg. He currently sits at No. 20 in the Olympic Golf Ranking, with Thorbjorn Olesen – No. 71 in the Official World Golf Ranking – holding onto the second Danish spot (with Rasmus Højgaard nipping at his heels, just 10 spots back of him in the OWGR).

Although Nicolai has jumped Rasmus in the world ranking, Rasmus was actually the first Olympian in the Højgaard family after playing in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics where he finished tied for 38th.

“Seeing him playing in the Olympics makes me want to improve and get better and play as well,” Nicolai said. “So, we’ve got a good chance this year to play in France, but there's a long way to go and a lot of things can happen, but we are on the right track at the moment.

“Every time you get a chance to represent your country in a team event, and also individual is special. It’s not often. You always represent Denmark because you're from Denmark, but it's in a different way here. I've probably never experienced that way before.”

With just a few months left until the Paris Games, it’s an exciting time for two of the game’s young superstars to have the opportunity to represent their Nordic nations on biggest global stage in sport.

“The Olympics,” Åberg said, “is something I would be very, very honored and proud to be part of representing my country and playing on a golf course that I’ve played before. I think that would be really, really cool to be part of.”