Viktor Hovland’s hilariously humble PGA Tour growth revealed ahead of Tour Championship
Viktor Hovland’s game has grown tremendously in the last year. He went from the PGA Tour player who struggled with his short game to shooting a 61 at the BMW Championship to win his first FedEx Cup playoff event. Now he is No. 2 in FedEx Cup points and will start at 8-under for the Tour Championship.
This season has seen him grow as a player on and off the course. The former Oklahoma State Cowboy has transformed his short game, and it appears he trusts it more than ever.
“More overall confidence, I think, more peace. It helps being able to chip the ball,” Hovland said. “Just my all around game feels a little bit more complete.”
The 25-year-old’s worst finish at a major this year came in Los Angeles at L.A. Country Club. He finished 19th. Hovland was T7 in Augusta, T2 at the PGA Championship and T13 at The Open. On the season, the five-time PGA Tour winner has eight top 10s and 17 top 25s. He is one of the only players to go 22-of-22 in events, not missing a single cut.
“I think amassing really good experiences over the last year, being in contention, failing in contention, being in contention and succeeding in contention,” Hovland said. “I think that’s been cool to try to learn from any experience, whether it’s not finishing well on a Sunday or what happened, what went wrong, what can I learn from it. I feel like I’ve used those opportunities to get better the next time around.”
Two wins on the season at the Memorial and last week at the BMW Championship. Those are some of the most challenging tracks the PGA Tour played this season, and Hovland made them look easy.
That ability to tackle the demanding courses comes from growth and confidence.
“If you want to get to the next level, you have to look introspectively,” Hovland said.
“You realize that, ‘Okay, when I’m in these moments and things are not going my way, I’m maybe reacting a little bit too much to it.’ You have a choice whether you want to react to that shot and make it affect the next shot or the next few holes, or you can use that motivation or energy into something better.”
He has altered his mindset to help on the course, and it’s taken work.
“I think when you try to be honest with yourself and ask yourself, ‘Okay, how can I get better,’ I have to force myself to change a couple of these mindset things,” Hovland said. “To some people, it comes natural. It hasn’t come natural to me, at least to that extent, so that’s something I have to work on.”
The Memorial champion will have his best start at East Lake. Will that growth help him put his name in the history books as the next FedEx Cup champion?
Savannah Leigh Richardson is a golf staff writer for SB Nation’s Playing Through. You can follow her on Twitter @SportsGirlSL and Instagram @savannah_leigh_sports for more golf coverage. Be sure to check out @_PlayingThrough too.