The success story of the identical Højgaard twins reached a new peak on Sunday – even though the golf gods only meant well for Nicolai on Sunday, but Rasmus, who was a few minutes younger, suffered a bitter setback. Nicolai achieved the greatest success of his career at the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai.
The 22-year-old Dane not only received the prize of 2.74 million euros for his triumph at the final tournament, but also moved up in the “Race to Dubai” 2022/2023 season ranking thanks to his third victory on the former European Tour Northern Irishman Rory McIlroy took second place. For this he received another 1.09 million euros from the bonus pool.
But even more important: At the end of his fourth year as a professional, Nicolai made it to 50th place in the world rankings for the first time and therefore has a good chance of playing in all four majors in 2024. Even before the end of the 2023 PGA Tour season, which ended on Sunday with a victory for Swede Ludvig Åberg, it was clear: Nicolai had secured the right to play in the traditional American series through good results on the PGA Tour – including second place in March .
“He is my best friend”
The twins wanted to move to America together next year because Rasmus also thought he had a chance of securing one of the ten PGA Tour cards through a special ranking in the “Race to Dubai”. But after hitting the water on the last hole, Rasmus only ended up in eleventh place in the tournament and in the special ranking. But despite this disappointment, Rasmus immediately rushed to his brother Nicolai, who was in the “recording area”, where the players check and hand in their score cards, in order to watch with him on the television screen whether Nicolai’s magnificent final round of 64 strokes for the biggest family victory suffices.
“Having him there shows character and that he’s a great guy. He is my best friend. So to have him there at that moment was really special. I know how he feels, but he will get back on his feet,” said Nicolai. Together the “Danish twins” saw that none of their pursuers managed to push Nicolai off the lead.
The Englishmen Tommy Fleetwood and Matt Wallace as well as the Norwegian Viktor Hovland had to settle for shared second place, two shots behind. “I have to say this is the best golf I have played in a tournament and the strongest field in my three wins. This is the best way to end the year,” said Nicolai Højgaard, who immediately hugged his parents after the triumph.
Because this victory is the temporary climax of a family story. It began when father Oli first took the twin brothers, aged three or four, to the Gyttegård Golf Club in Jutland, just five minutes from their home. Oli Højgaard, an amateur golfer with a handicap of 1, equipped both of them with a complete set of clubs when they were eight years old. “From then on the golf course was our home,” says Nicolai.
Third youngest winner on the European Tour
Two years later, Rasmus won the Danish youth championships in this age group ahead of Nicolai, the beginning of a fantastic amateur career together. In 2016, Rasmus won the Danish amateur championship, and in 2018 the two seventeen-year-olds won the amateur team world championship together with a teammate.
A few weeks later, Nicolai triumphed at the European Amateur Championship – ahead of Viktor Hovland. The two Danes switched to professional football at the beginning of 2019.
A scepter for the winner: Nicolai Højgaard after the victory in Dubai: Image: EPA
Rasmus was the first to make it onto the European Tour, becoming the third-youngest professional to date to win at the age of 18 – and in just his fifth appearance. A little later, Nicolai was also promoted to the first European league, but it was only after Rasmus had achieved his third success in Switzerland that Nicolai won his first triumph at the Italian Open 2021 the following week – the first time brothers won in two consecutive weeks.
This year Rasmus had a home win on the DP World Tour in Denmark. Nicolai, on the other hand, has been waiting in vain for another success since February 2022. Nevertheless, he was brought into the Ryder Cup team by captain Luke Donald. Nicolai only got half a point, but the victory for the European team gave Nicolai Højgaard a huge boost.
Wolfgang Scheffler Published/Updated: Recommendations: 1 Wolfgang Scheffler Published/Updated: , Recommendations: 1 Wolfgang Scheffler Published/Updated: , Recommendations: 8
Last week only the American world number eight Max Homa was able to defeat him at the Nedbank Challenge. He was unstoppable in Dubai. For Donald, more than just confirmation of his choice: “What a finish from Nico in one of the strongest European fields against some of the best players in the world – the future of European golf looks bright,” wrote the Englishman on the X platform.