As many of you will be aware, young children are basically germ absorption pods that hoover up all the bugs that are floating about before spraying them hither and yon with the kind of indiscriminate, chaotic dousing you’d get when you drop the garden hose and it flays and flops around like a speared eel.

That, dear reader, is an elaborate way of saying that I picked up a virus from the heir to the Rodger penury and spent yesterday gingerly writing this column while bracing myself for the contents of my stomach to accelerate from zero to 60 in two seconds.

Funnily enough, the sports editor often says that reading these weekly meanderings leads to him feeling ill and fatigued too. He's sick and tired of them.

Talking of things that have been hurtling upwards, you probably noticed that Sweden’s young sensation Ludvig Aberg won on the PGA Tour on Sunday to continue a quite staggering ascent that’s rocketed skywards quicker than the data roaming charges on Michael Matheson’s iPad.

When he was still an amateur at the start of 2023, Aberg was 3,064th on the world rankings. He was somewhere in the 900s when he turned pro in June and he’s now 32nd. In just six months in the paid ranks, the 24-year-old has won on the DP World Tour, earned a wild card for the Ryder Cup and has now triumphed on the PGA Tour at the RSM Classic.

It's been startling stuff. In fact, the giddy reaction to his latest, eye-opening feat – he closed with two 61s for a 29-under aggregate – helped to dunt the latest Tiger Woods comeback announcement into the shade. What, you didn’t hear about it?

Woods hasn’t played since April’s Masters, and then had surgery on his foot, but he stated the other day that he’ll play in his own Hero World Challenge event in the Bahamas at the end of the month as he dips a tentative toe – or a successfully fused ankle - back into the competitive waters.

If he manages to hirple his way through that unscathed, then all and sundry will work themselves into an excited fankle about the prospect of him playing in the Masters.

The build up to golf’s annual rite of spring – yes, I know we’re only in November – has adopted a similar pattern over the last few years. If it’s not the will he, won’t he palaver involving Woods, then it’s the will he, won’t he pandemonium surrounding Rory McIlroy’s assault on the career grand slam. Like death, taxes and a landslide at the Rest & Be Thankful during heavy rain, such topics of discussion have become one of life’s certainties.

Aberg, of course, will barge his way into the conversation now too because the Masters will be his first appearance in a major championship. He’s already achieved a huge amount in his crash, bang, wallop career but he’s yet to play in one of golf’s marquee events and the hype will, no doubt, be through the roof.

One can’t imagine it’ll faze a young man who clearly thrives under pressure and revels in the big moments. And having said that, he’ll open with a 77 at Augusta.

In this frantic world of ours, success, and indeed failure, regularly sparks unhinged levels of shrieking, hysterical reaction. We can all be guilty of expecting too much too soon whenever an exciting new kid bursts on to the block.

Golf is constantly searching for that ‘next Tiger Woods’, a dreaded, burdensome tag, and in this churn of superstars in waiting and icons for a new age, these great expectations come with the territory.

The magnitude of Woods’s accomplishments, of course, continues to overshadow everything that others achieve but it’s always important to simply enjoy the present and savour someone like Aberg penning his own success story instead of obsessing about him re-writing Tiger’s tale.

Aberg, whose mighty college golf career already had him marked as a standout by discerning observers, has been tipped to do this, that and the other over the months and years ahead.

After picking him for his Ryder Cup team, the European skipper, Luke Donald, said: “If he wasn't going to play this one, he was going to play the next eight Ryder Cups, that's how good I think he is." No pressure there, then.

Golf is such a furiously fickle old game, you can never predict what’s lurking round the next dogleg. Aberg is a rare and ready talent, though, and his inexorable rise continues to fascinate. He’s young but Aberg is certainly no pretender.


As Russell Knox, a Scottish perennial of the PGA Tour for a decade or so, lost his full PGA Tour playing rights at the weekend, Robert MacIntyre rubber-stamped his.

It was always going to take something special to drag MacIntyre away from Oban and the contentment of life in his ain gate en’. Now that he’s earned a PGA Tour card, he’s set to re-locate to Orlando, where many of the world’s best are based.

As Shane Lowry told Golf Digest, “if you want to be up there with them, you need to be working alongside them.”

Pursuing the American dream comes with sacrifices. Only time will tell if the golfing grass is greener on the other side of the pond for homebody MacIntyre.