As Norway’s most successful modern golfer, Hovland honed his skills in the U.S. while playing at Oklahoma State University. The 25-year-old has won in Puerto Rico, Mexico, Germany and the Bahamas, but has yet to taste success in the desert. If you see him wearing ear buds, know that he’s a huge heavy metal fan and likely listening to groups like Metallica, Tool or System of a Down.
- CURRENT WORLD GOLF RANKING: 12*
- CAREER HIGHLIGHTS: Won the 2018 U.S. Amateur title; has 3 PGA Tour victories
- BEST WMPO FINISH: Yet to come; missed cuts in 2020 and 2022
Mackin: You had quite a run in 2021 leading up to the Phoenix Open, with three wins and a tie in five tournaments. Were you able to savor that with such a busy schedule?
Hovland: It’s kind of crazy. It’s hard to think that way when you’re constantly traveling and playing tournaments. You don’t really have a lot of time to just kind of sit down and think about that too much. It’s always, “OK, I’ve got to work on my chipping, I’ve got to work out.” Tee time, pro-am, it’s just go, go, go, go all the time.
About last year’s wild celebration when Sam Ryder aced 16 on Saturday: Too much, just right, or not crazy enough for you?
I think it’s been pretty cool. I haven’t made a hole in one there to see all the beers flying around. I think that’s where maybe it gets a little too much, but at the same time it’s an iconic hole and that’s what makes the tournament pretty fun.
You birdied that 16th hole during the second round in both 2020 and 2022. Was the crowd reaction to those birdies what you expected?
The problem is that I made birdies there when I was still missing the cut, so I don’t think I was as happy as I probably should have been. But it does feel fun to drop a putt and hear people go nuts.
If you could have a walk-up song on the 16th hole, what would it be?
That’s a tough one. I feel like the music I listen to doesn’t really fit the 20-second clip of just walking up to the tee and hitting a shot.
*As of 11/28/22