The Norwegian Golf Pro Who’s Breaking Records: Viktor Hovland
You may have heard of a rising golf star from Norway who honed his skills from watching online videos and who has strut out onto the Whistling Straits.
He is Viktor Hovland, the 24-year-old pro who automatically qualified for the Ryder Cup on the European team and is hot property at current – revered by golf experts globally. You can catch coverage of Hovland in action regularly on PGA live which offers viewers the opportunity to catch all PGA events in real time.
Whilst people not very well versed in golfing news will be scratching their heads to hear about a young Norwegian taking part in one of the most prestigious and high profile golf tournaments, meanwhile, golf aficionados all over the world have been following the extraordinary rise for the last couple of years.
Even during his first professional tournament, Hovland shined, picking up not one but two PGA tour wins strikingly and spectacularly. He managed to sink a jaw-dropping 30-foot putt on the very last hole against Josh Teater at the Puerto Rico Open and then beat Aaron Wise in Mexico with a great putt finish.
These two victories marked the first-ever wins by a Norwegian on any PGA Tour, cementing Hovland in the history books. Hovland also proved these victories weren’t just flukes or strokes of luck – he went on to be the first-ever Norwegian player to win on the European Tour the next year.
So what’s the story behind this interesting phenomenon that has seemingly just appeared out of nowhere?
Viktor Hovland was born in 1997 in Norway’s bustling capital, Oslo. Golf isn’t a huge sport in Norway, so as you may guess, his route into the sport of golf was quite a lucky one.
Harald, Viktors father, ended up working on an engineering project in St Louis, Missouri. It was during this year in the United States that Harald purchased his first-ever set of clubs to use at the practice range that wasn’t far from his workplace.
Harald really enjoyed taking a few swings after work, so upon his return to Norway, he got the then 11-year-old Viktor a set of junior clubs. The rest, as they say, is history!
Viktor ended up getting a coach to teach him and practised with the Australian James Mcgowan at the Drøbak Golf Club between the ages of 11 and 17. Hovland managed to win the Norwegian Amateur Golf Championship, starting his dramatic rise to stardom.
Hovland took part in the European Boys Team Championship back in 2013 and managed to catch the eye of Oklahoma State. This secured him a position at Stillwater playing college golf for Oklahoma State University. Whilst he was in the States, Hovland managed to become the first-ever Norwegian golf player to win the U.S. Amateur in 2018, bagging him an invite to major tournaments.
The Norwegian Winters
Hovland worked incredibly hard on honing his golf game during the glorious Norwegian summer days. But the Winters were another story – they were dark and dull. The forbidding weather forced Hovland to use a different method to up his game: the internet.
Thanks to the abundance of golfing information you can now access online, Hovland was able to keep his skills sharp and even improve through education. You can find all sorts of tutorials online – from how to change your grip to professionals giving lectures on how they played certain courses and everything in between!
Hovland realised there’s some great advice out there – and some advice it would be best to avoid. He commented in a recent interview that he has a good understanding of how things relate to when you hit a golf ball. He also talked about trying out most of the stuff he learns online, keeping what he finds useful and throwing out what he doesn’t.
The transition to a golf professional and competing in professional tournaments has been nothing short of spectacular. Hovland managed to win a PGA Tour event in his very first year as golf pro – the first Norwegian ever to do so – and then just nine short months later followed up with another win.
In February of 2020, Hovland gained a remarkable victory in the Puerto Rico Open with a birdie on the very last hole. Then, in December of the same year, he managed to secure a final-hole birdie yet again, becoming the first player ever to win the final hole with a birdie in the entire history of the Mayakoba Golf Classic. Since then, he’s gone on to win the BMW International Open on the European Tour.
All of this success earned him automatic qualification for the European Ryder Cup – meaning the fact that the event was delayed from 2020 to 21 played out incredibly well for the young Norwegian!