Home/Golf

USA Today via Reuters

USA Today via Reuters

Viktor Hovland is here to stay. The Norwegian has committed to the next signature event of the PGA Tour calendar year. PGA Tour Communications released the initial lineup for the Tiger Woods-hosted Genesis Invitational. Hovland is in the stacked field, headlined by the tournament host

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

This season on the PGA Tour has not started well for the 2023 Tour Championship winner. At the Sentry, Viktor Hovland tied for 22nd in a 59-man field after carding 21-under 271. The Oslo-born star took a break after coming to the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am only to settle for a T58 in the weather-shortened $20 million purse Signature event. 

Following that, the 26-year-old pulled out of the WM Phoenix Open, raising speculation that he might, after all, join the breakaway side. There were even rumors that he had already signed up for the Greg Norman-fronted league. However, it was not the first time Viktor Hovland was linked with LIV Golf. It was also not the first time the 2023 Ryder Cup winner dispelled the rumors.

Earlier in an interview with the Fore podcast in his native country, the six-time PGA Tour winner revealed that LIV Golf indeed reached out to him but expressed his disinterest in no uncertain terms. “I don’t think their product is that great. I’m not such a fan of, for example, playing without a cut.” He reiterated his stance in a recent interview as well, calling for more open discourse to solve outstanding issues. 

Nevertheless, the PGA Tour Pro’s comments in the same interview slamming the top brass for the “arrogance” and for doing a “damn bad job” at the top were read as an early sign of an impending defection to LIV Golf. After all, history has precedence when PGA Tour Pros expressed their disapproval of LIV before making a dramatic turnaround.

The World No. 4, for his part, has clearly quelled the LIV tatter a second time when officials from his country’s golf association reached out to him for clarification. “Not true,” Viktor Hovland told the Head of Communication for the Norwegian Golf Association. With the Riviera move, the PGA Tour Pro once again reiterates what he has said before. He intends to continue playing on the Tour. At Riviera, though, the task is cut out for the 26-year-old.

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

Viktor Hovland was ‘cursed’ and ‘frustrated’

Hovland pulled out of the WM Phoenix Open for the very same reason he took a break from all the full-field events post-Sentry. His short game has once again become a thorn in his flesh.  Henrik Bjornstad, a former PGA Tour Pro and Hovland’s compatriot, revealed that “He was frustrated throughout the previous tournament. He was frustrated and cursed all the time, and it didn’t seem like he found either part satisfying.

Read More: ‘[Viktor Hovland] Is Cursed Right Now’: Has the Norwegian’s Short-Game Nightmare Returned to Haunt Him?

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

Hovland ranked 74th in SG: Approach to the Green and 76th in SG: Around the Green at Pebble Beach. The short game was his weakest part two years ago, but the 26-year-old fixed that after roping in Joe Mayo. Surprisingly, he split with his swing coach ahead of 2024. Now, Viktor Hovland needs to find a fix for his lackluster short game if he wants to find a top spot in the leaderboard ahead of Scottie Scheffler, Rory McIlroy, Max Homa, Justin Thomas, and Jordan Spieth.

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT