Why Did Viktor Hovland Withdraw From U.S. Open 2021?

Published 06/19/2021, 7:30 AM EDT
Golf – The Masters – Augusta National Golf Club – Augusta, Georgia, U.S. – April 11, 2021 Norway’s Viktor Hovland hits his approach to the 1st hole during the final round REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst


The U.S. Open 2021 is currently grabbing all the headlines in the golf community. It is quite natural as everyone would be keen on knowing what’s transpiring in the third major championship of the calendar. The tournament is heading into moving day, but Norwegian Viktor Hovland will not participate as he withdrew from the competition without finishing Round 2. 

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It is quite unfortunate, but an on-course incident left Viktor Hovland injured on Saturday at Torrey Pines. As Hovland was warming up for the second round at the driving range, sand from a divot sharply struck his left eye, causing incredible pain. 

Hovland carried on with the pain and began his second round on Saturday, but required medical attention due to the complications caused by the sand in his left eye. It eventually forced Viktor Hovland to record the first ‘WD’ of his career. 

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Viktor Hovland provided an update after withdrawing from the U.S. Open 2021 

Though Viktor Hovland was not a top contender, he was expected to post good scores on the leaderboard. All of it was cut short by the eye injury. The USGA initially did not provide the reason for Hovland’s withdrawal, but it was later confirmed by NBC’s Steve Sands.

“He said it was too painful and he could not continue,” Sands mentioned on the broadcast. After the incident, Viktor Hovland took to Instagram and posted a cheeky update about his eye. 

“After miraculously remaining unscathed for the first four holes, I sensed some improvement. I had just enough hope to keep going. A few more bogeys inevitably ensued and on hole 18 (my 9th hole), the slowly improving vision took a turn for the worse,” Hovland explained on his post. 

This was the third start at the U.S. Open for Viktor Hovland. He finished T12 in 2019 and then T13 at Winged Foot last year. The impressive factor about Hovland is that he’s never missed a cut in any of the majors he’s participated in. Unfortunately, the U.S. Open 2021 forced him to withdraw prematurely. 

Hovland shot 3-over in his first round

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Viktor Hovland came into U.S. Open 2021 with lots of expectations on him. However, he stumbled in the opening round at Torrey Pines with a 3-over 74. There was always scope for improvement for the Norwegian, but disaster struck during his pre-round warmup ahead of Round 2. 

Jun 18, 2021; San Diego, California, USA; Viktor Hovland plays his shot from the 15th tee during the second round of the U.S. Open golf tournament at Torrey Pines Golf Course. Mandatory Credit: Michael Madrid-USA TODAY Sports

Hovland made just one birdie but shot four bogeys in the opening round on Thursday. This largely cost him leaderboard spots, but it does not matter now, anyway. 

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Arjun Athreya

2039 articles

Arjun Athreya is a senior writer at Essentially Sports and has been contributing since early 2020. Having developed an avid interest in sports at an early age, he pursued a Journalism degree and graduated from Madras Christian College. Arjun manages the Golf division and its content, and primarily covers news pertaining to the NBA as well.

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