Golf

Ludvig Aberg hopes Europe can channel the spirit of Medinah in Rome

Ludvig Aberg of Sweden (Frank Franklin II/AP)
Ludvig Aberg of Sweden (Frank Franklin II/AP) Ludvig Aberg of Sweden (Frank Franklin II/AP)

Ludvig Aberg hopes Europe can channel the spirit of Medinah as they bid to reclaim the Ryder Cup in Rome this week.

The continental team crashed to a record 19-9 loss to the United States when the event was last held two years ago.

Aberg is one of four European rookies in a fresh-looking European side bidding for revenge in the Italian capital.

The 23-year-old Swede, who has made a meteoric rise since turning professional in June, took inspiration as a youngster from Europe’s famous fightback in 2012 and hopes that energy can be replicated.

Aberg said: “The one that sticks out in my memory is 2012. Hopefully we’ll be able to do something similar this week and hopefully we’ll be able to inspire other kids growing up and other people coming after us.

“It’s a really cool environment to be in and we are trying to write our own chapter.”

Another relative newcomer in the European team is Viktor Hovland, who is making his second appearance after featuring in the defeat at Whistling Straits in 2021.

The Norwegian feels the motivation to win among the group is high, fuelled by pride in the continent and not – as it may have been in the past – by any animosity between them and the Americans.

He said: “I can’t speak for the guys that played in the past, but it seems that we probably hate each other less than guys used to in the past.

“Hate is a big motivator to do well – that’s just a fact – but I think, where we are now, we’re more motivated maybe to win for our country and continent. We want to win for Europe.

“Obviously we want to beat the Americans but it’s not because we hate the other team. It’s because we love Europe and we want to do well for the people that support us.”

One European player could even be said to have a foot in both camps.

Austria’s Sepp Straka, 30, has lived in the United States since he was 14 and his mother is American.

However, he insists everyone in his family is personally rooting for him at Marco Simone this week.

Straka, another debutant, said: “I think they are all Team Europe, even my mum, who is American, has been wearing an Austria hat.

“She is 100 per cent American but she spent 24 years in Austria. She’s fallen in love with the country, and I think she’s probably just as Austrian as a lot of Austrians.”