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It’s not every Wednesday a Ryder Cup prodigy turns out at a local golf club, although there are few ‘normal’ days in the world of golf.
But on Wednesday, September 6, Sweden’s Ludvig Aberg chose Chelmsford Golf Club to wind down after a whirlwind month.
While the 23-year-old processed the surprise of lining up in blue and gold this month, a member of the Essex club could barely curb his shock.
Roy McAllister, a 61-year-old from Elderslie, near Glasgow, was sitting in the clubhouse when a fellow member spotted one of Luke Donald’s six captain’s picks.
— Essex Golf Union (@EssexGolfUnion) September 7, 2023
“One of the members said, ‘that guys on the Ryder Cup team’, and I thought ‘this is Chelmsford golf course in Essex don’t talk nonsense’,” McAllister said.
“I didn’t pay much attention, so I googled it and realised it was Ludvig Aberg going out with his caddie.
“I asked if I could join them for a few holes, and they both said it wasn’t a problem.
“It was hard to believe, standing at the first tee and then sitting on the bench at the second, talking about turning pro and now being on the Ryder Cup team.
“It was just surreal at a small club in Chelmsford, it would be like Lionel Messi turning up and playing for St Mirren.”
Perhaps a far-fetched comparison now, but there is belief the imposing Swede could eventually go down as one of the best to strike a ball.
And now retired, the former business owner was taken aback by the golf and personality on display.
McAllister said: “He was a very quiet, mild-mannered guy, who wasn’t full of it. He was incredibly laid back. You get very few words, he just smiled.
“I talked with him for about an hour and a half for nine holes, and you could not meet a more pleasant young guy.”
“He said he was looking forward to the Ryder Cup, but that he was slightly surprised to get a pick.
“It was hard trying to get much from him because he was just so surprised, it was almost like he was shy and in a state of shock.”
Behind that affable charm, though, McAllister noticed the inevitable element of confidence, and that could be expected given Aberg’s monumental rise.
The former world number one amateur only turned pro in June but has recorded five top-25 finishes on the PGA Tour and is a winner on the DP World Tour.
Aberg is also set to be the first Ryder Cup player who has not contested a major championship.
Ahead of the biennial clash in Rome, it appears little is getting to Aberg.
McAllister added: “He didn’t mention being nervous, but he smiled and said he’d take it in his stride.
“I said it must be intimidating heading for that first tee and all he said was ‘well, we’ll see.”
In a bounce match with caddie Jack Clarke, Aberg finished the front nine in one-under-par.
After leaving the pair at the turn, McAllister was told by another member that the Swede finished four or five-under-par for his round.
Clarke is a former member of the club and advised Aberg to let off some steam, so it was pleasing that no crowd had gathered for the 1:05 pm tee time.
That allowed for McAllister to round off the bizarre day in style.
He said: “At one point I walked about 10 or 15 yards pulling his clubs, so I can now say I’ve caddied for a Ryder Cup player.”
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