Fast Starter Hovland Learned A Lesson From Getting 'Too Greedy' At Augusta

Viktor Hovland says he got too greedy when contending for the Masters and will play smarter going forward

Viktor Hovland at the 2023 RBC Heritage
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Viktor Hovland says he learned a valuable lesson from his first round lead at The Masters after admitting to being a bit too greedy, as he again topped the leaderboard at the RBC Heritage.

The Norwegian is becoming something of a fast starter as he had a share of the lead after the first round at Augusta National and followed that up with an opening round solo lead at Harbour Town Golf Links.

The 25-year-old failed to match his first-round 65 at Augusta but still hung around all week until falling away and finishing T7 on Sunday, but says he could take a valuable lesson from his experience.

Hovland says he got a bit greedy when flag hunting at Augusta, something which often results in being short-sided or on the wrong side of the pin – and not forcing the issue is the main lesson being taken from his Masters campaign.

“I took a big lesson from not short-siding myself as much last week because out there on that golf course on some of those pins, I got a little too greedy and I missed it in the wrong spots, and I just can't allow myself to do that,” Hovland said of his Masters experience.

“So this week I'm just trying to play a bit more, not conservatively, but making sure that I hit more greens, centre of the greens, and can kind of lean on my putter.

“And if I do miss a green, I feel like my short game's in a good spot where I can make an up and down.”

A laid back character by nature, Hovland took the quick turnaround in his stride, driving the 140 miles from Augusta to Harbour Town on Sunday night to prepare for the RBC Heritage.

After also dropping his mother off at the airport and getting a quick nine holes in to scout the course, it was a low-key but effective way to switch focus away from the first Major of the season and back to the PGA Tour.

“I drove from Augusta to here Sunday night, and my mom was headed back home on Monday morning. So I drove her to the airport, drove back, and then just got some lunch.

“And then I was pretty bored, and I was actually feeling fine. So I went out and played the back nine out here kind of before it got dark.

“So, yeah, it was pretty peaceful. And then I had to make sure that I just got a bunch of rest.”

It’s a formula that obviously works well for Hovland, who will look to this time follow through on his fast start and try and capture the Plaid Heritage Jacket on offer in South Carolina – perhaps not the colour of clothing he was hoping for, but one he’ll grab with both hands.

Paul Higham

Paul Higham is a sports journalist with over 20 years of experience in covering most major sporting events for both Sky Sports and BBC Sport. He is currently freelance and covers the golf majors on the BBC Sport website.  Highlights over the years include covering that epic Monday finish in the Ryder Cup at Celtic Manor and watching Rory McIlroy produce one of the most dominant Major wins at the 2011 US Open at Congressional. He also writes betting previews and still feels strangely proud of backing Danny Willett when he won the Masters in 2016 - Willett also praised his putting stroke during a media event before the Open at Hoylake. Favourite interviews he's conducted have been with McIlroy, Paul McGinley, Thomas Bjorn, Rickie Fowler and the enigma that is Victor Dubuisson. A big fan of watching any golf from any tour, sadly he spends more time writing about golf than playing these days with two young children, and as a big fair weather golfer claims playing in shorts is worth at least five shots. Being from Liverpool he loves the likes of Hoylake, Birkdale and the stretch of tracks along England's Golf Coast, but would say his favourite courses played are Kingsbarns and Portrush.