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Viktor Hovland Breaking Into “Elite” Category

Viktor Hovland PGA

It’s hard to keep a smile on your face as an amateur golfer. Golf is hard and not many things go right for you over the course of a round. Even for the professionals on the PGA Tour, shots that aren’t executed often elicit negative reactions by the golfer that hit the shot. This never seems to be a problem for the officially newly-minted “elite” golfer Viktor Hovland.

Hovland triumphed the rest of the field in the elevated event, The Memorial Tournament, at Muirfield Village on Sunday afternoon. The ever-smiling 25-year old Norwegian bested a leaderboard that included Scottie Scheffler, Rory McIlroy, and Denny McCarthy who seemingly couldn’t miss a put all afternoon on Sunday.

At one point on the back-nine, Hovland trailed McCarthy by four shots. He was quickly running out of holes and McCarthy had been nails on the greens. Suddenly, Hovalnd birdied 17, the hardest hole on the course and one that he played 2-under this week, to get himself in position for a potential playoff. Hovland watched from the clubhouse as McCarthy bogeyed 18 and a playoff would ensue.

Hovland had all the momentum after making birdie on two of the final three holes in regulation and making par in the playoff. The 25-year old secured his fourth win on the PGA Tour. This one would be Hovland’s first on American soil. The win may just give Hovland the respect he’s beginning to truly deserve.

Viktor Hovland Breaking Into “Elite” Category

Hovland’s biggest knock is that he shrinks and can’t win the major championships. Facts are facts. The 25-year old has yet to add “major champion” to his resume. It’s not easy to win a golf tournament, let alone one of the four majors. However, of Hovland’s four TOUR wins, this is the biggest and most impressive yet.

Muirfield Village, AKA “Jack’s Place”, played like a major championship course. Ohio hasn’t seen a ton of rain lately so the course itself played very firm and the 7-under winning score reflected that. Only 15 players in the field finished under-par for the tournament. Only ten players carded a round under-par on Sunday alone making it a major-like Sunday.

The names on the leaderboard were full of stars: Scheffler, McIlroy, Si Woo Kim, Rickie Fowler, Matt Fitzpatrick, Jordan Spieth. All of these names were top-10 finishers. The name atop the leaderboard when it was all said and done was Hovland’s.

The win bumped Hovland into fifth place in the Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR). If you still don’t believe that Viktor Hovland is elite, I’m not sure what else will convince you.

Big Tournament Resume Improving

In only his second major championship ever, Hovland finished T12 at the 2019 U.S. Open. He mixed in a lot of top-30’s until his missed cut at last year’s U.S. Open. The whispers began that Hovland succeeded in the weaker field events but struggled when the fields got loaded up.

Then, at the 2022 Open Championship, Hovalnd posted a T4 finish. He finished T3 at THE PLAYERS Championship, followed by T7 at The Masters, and T2 at the PGA Championship. You may remember Hovland and Brooks Koepka battling for the title a few weeks back at the PGA. Hovland was like a gnat, he was the smaller guy who was annoying and kept reminding you he was there but ultimately lost to the big bad monster.

Hovland’s resolve in that tournament opened some eyes as he really hadn’t had final-group-on-a-Sunday-at-a-major experience to that point. He seemed to handle it fairly well and, while he didn’t win, this victory at Muirfield Village solidifies that he can get the job done.

More Hovland Accomplishments

  • Hovland’s win jumped him over Xander Schauffele and Max Homa in the world ranking and now has him in the top five of the OWGR. That’s a big deal. Hovland has been as high as third in the OWGR so this isn’t his highest ranking but he is slipping his way up the rankings and doing so without many wins on his resume. He can keep shooting up the standings.
  • Kyle Porter tweeted out a stat about Hovland’s win rate. He’s played in 110 events and has won four for a 7% winning percentage. That doesn’t seem like much if you are a golf outsider. However, it is hard to win a golf tournament. Even Tiger Woods “only” won 22% of the events he played. That’s the benchmark and it’ll never be broken. But, in context, this is a solid figure for Hovland.
  • Over the last four seasons, only three guys have won an event in every season on TOUR: Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm, and Viktor Hovland. That’s pretty elite territory if you ask me. Those guys are in the top three of the OWGR so it is an impressive feat to be in that company.


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