I’ve written before about the boost that playing in a Ryder Cup can give a player and the weekend produced two more perfect examples in Nicolai Hojgaard and Ludvig Aberg.
Hojgaard beat a top field to win the biggest title of his short career at the DP World Tour Championship on Sunday, and hours later fellow youngster Aberg continued his rapid ascent with a first win on the PGA Tour at the RSM Classic.
Dane Hojgaard was sublime at the European season finale in Dubai, where he shot 21 under par to beat Viktor Hovland, Matt Wallace and Tommy Fleetwood by two strokes.
After a bogey at the 12th, he birdied five holes in a row to storm into the lead and might have made it six but for a missed short putt at the last.
The disappointment didn’t last for long, however, and there were moving scenes of him at the end with twin brother Rasmus, their parents and the king of Danish golf, Thomas Bjorn.
His third win on the DP World Tour at just 22, it lifted him to second on the order of merit, into the world top 50, opening the door to all the majors, and secured his PGA Tour card.
Wallace’s record-equalling nine consecutive birdies in a round of 60 on Saturday was extraordinary. He didn’t get it right on Sunday but it was still a fantastic week.
Hovland was magnificent too, as was Fleetwood, who made a birdie-eagle start to his final round. But Hojgaard’s 64 proved too tall an order for the chasing pack.
He played great golf on his Ryder Cup debut in September in Rome, where I fell in love with his swing. The distance he gets is phenomenal and he will get better and better as he goes on. These kids are like sponges who absorb so much knowledge.
It was almost a perfect week for Hojgaard family but Rasmus finished tied for 11th, narrowly missing out on also getting his PGA Tour card via the order of merit.
Jon Rahm made a good defence of his title after a bad start, while it wasn’t Rory McIlroy’s week but he did receive his fifth Race to Dubai crown.
Over in the US, meanwhile, Aberg shot a 63 to finish on 29 under par and win the RSM Classic by four shots. It was his first PGA Tour title just five months after turning professional.
He has now won on both main tours already despite not having played at a major. That’s about to change and he certainly looks like he could win one in future.
Aberg was the talking point when Luke Donald announced his Ryder Cup wild cards this year, but it was less of a surprise to those people in the know.
The Swede, 24, had already been a star in US college golf and he showed the wider world what he can do by winning in Switzerland just before Donald named his European team, which was very special.
Hojgaard and Aberg share a lot of similarities. Both play quickly – there are no five-hour rounds – and are exactly what the sport needs. The new breed are here and the future for European golf looks very bright.
Their success just underlines how good Donald’s captaincy was. They were the two most debated picks but performed well in Italy and have gone on to show exactly why he chose them.
Playing in the spotlight of a Ryder Cup can serve players well for their entire careers. Bob MacIntyre is another rookie from that team who has finished the year well, regaining his PGA Tour card by coming 13th in the Race to Dubai.
Add the Hojgaard twins and Aberg to Hovland, Rahm, McIlroy, Fleetwood, Matt Fitzpatrick and the likes of MacIntyre, Tyrrell Hatton and Adrian Meronk and there is a great core of European talent that should serve us well in the Ryder Cup for many years to come.
Sam Torrance OBE is a former Ryder Cup-winning captain and one of Europe’s most successful golfers. Follow him @torrancesam