Hovland Bids To Become World No.1 At The Valspar Championship

The Norwegian has an added incentive to perform at his best during the last leg of the Florida Swing

Viktor Hovland plays tee shot at the 2022 Players Championship
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Viktor Hovland may have been at the centre of some controversy during the Players Championship when he denied Daniel Berger a drop during the pair’s final round, but he has a chance to make headlines for very different reasons this week.

The Norwegian has been in the top 10 since winning the World Wide Technology Championship at Mayakoba last November, while he’s been ever-present in the top 20 since December 2020. However, he’s yet to become World No.1 - but that will change if he wins this week’s Valspar Championship.

Hovland is undoubtedly coming into the event at Innisbrook’s Copperhead Course in decent enough form. After missing the cut at the WM Phoenix Open last month, he has responded in some style, posting top 10 finishes at the Genesis Invitational, Arnold Palmer Invitational and last week’s Players Championship. Indeed, he was runner-up at Bay Hill, while his performance at TPC Sawgrass even included a sublime hole-in-one.

While Hovland will be confident of doing what's required to become World No.1, current World No.2 Collin Morikawa can also claim the top spot by winning the tournament. But, unlike Hovland, Morikawa has a few other routes to the summit. He’ll also become World No.1 if he finishes outright second or in a two or three-way tie for the runner’s up position, as long as Hovland doesn’t win.

If these possibilities leave current World No.1, Jon Rahm looking over his shoulder, it wouldn’t be without justification. The Spaniard has been inconsistent of late. Three top 10 finishes in 2022 sit close to several disappointing performances, including a tie for 55th last week. With Rahm not competing this week, there’s a real danger that his eight-month stay at the top of the rankings could come to an end.

Mike Hall
Mike Hall

Mike has 25 years of experience in journalism, including writing on sports such as golf, football and cricket. Now a freelance writer for Golf Monthly, he is dedicated to covering the sport’s most newsworthy stories. Originally from East Yorkshire, Mike now resides in Canada, where the nearest course is less than a mile from his home. It’s there where he remains confident that, one of these days, he’ll play the 17th without finding the water. Kevin Cook’s acclaimed 2007 biography, Tommy’s Honour, about golf’s founding father and son, remains one of his all-time favourite sports books.