Golf tips and expert instruction, golf club reviews and the latest golf equipment.
Thank you for signing up to Golf Monthly. You will receive a verification email shortly.
There was a problem. Please refresh the page and try again.
Far from being a lost cause, Viktor Hovland learnt plenty of lessons from the “beating” Europe received at last year’s Ryder Cup and aims to use them this season to improve as a player.
The 24-year-old has quickly established himself as one of the game’s best ball-strikers, but has openly admitted in the past that his short game isn’t up to scratch. Hovland ranked ninth last season for total strokes gained on the PGA Tour in spite of finishing 124th and 99th for chipping and putting respectively.
Ahead of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, the Norwegian spoke about his experience at Whistling Straits, where he made his debut for Team Europe in the biennial contest.
He said: “I think it was revealing for me, a few events I played, especially the Ryder Cup for example. Obviously we took a beating but I really felt like in a lot of the matches I played and with my team-mates, we had an upper hand in almost every match that we played. In particular we had great starts.
“But you know, the Americans, at least that week, I know it's just one week, but it really, to me, stood out that I have a lot to gain around the greens and on the greens, and with my wedges. If I can continue to strike it the way I need to or I do, and just slowly improve around the greens and work on my inefficiencies, I think that's going to make a big difference.”
It’s not the first time Hovland has made reference to his inadequacies with a wedge in hand. After securing his first PGA Tour victory at the 2020 Puerto Rico Open he jokingly told reporters “I just suck at chipping”. Check out the clip below:
"I just suck at chipping."Viktor Hovland's first comments after securing his first PGA TOUR title 😂pic.twitter.com/tBJrDLcCY7February 24, 2020
In a bid to improve, Hovland acquired the services of veteran coach and renowned short game specialist Pete Cowen at the beginning of 2020, and has since made inroads, although still loses strokes against the field per round. Should the World No. 7 find a way to align his chipping and putting with his prowess from tee-to-green, it'll be a scary prospect for his competition.
He'll certainly have the opportunity to assess where his game is at this week, with a star-studded field assembled for the first DP World Tour event of 2022. The likes of Rory McIlroy, Collin Morikawa, Tyrrell Hatton and Tommy Fleetwood will all be battling it out at the new tournament venue Yas Links.
"It's definitely a little different field," Hovland added. "Worldwide players and we come to these great events and you've really got to bring your best stuff to have a chance to raise the trophy at the end.
"I've never been here before but it's in awesome shape. It's going to be a cool experience and I look forward to it."
A lifelong golf fan, Andy graduated in 2019 with a degree in Sports Journalism and got his first role in the industry as the Instruction Editor for National Club Golfer. From there, he went on to enjoy a spell freelancing for Stats Perform producing football reports, and then for RacingNews365 covering Formula 1. However, he couldn't turn down the opportunity to get back into the sport he grew up watching and playing and now covers a mixture of equipment, instruction and news for Golf Monthly's website and print title.
Andy took up the game at the age of seven and even harboured ambitions of a career in the professional ranks for a spell. That didn’t pan out, but he still enjoys his weekend golf at Royal Troon and holds a scratch handicap. As a side note, he's made five holes-in-one and could quite possibly be Retief Goosen’s biggest fan.
As well as the above, some of Andy's work has featured on websites such as goal.com, dailyrecord.co.uk, and theopen.com.
What's in Andy's bag?
Driver: Callaway Mavrik Sub-Zero (9°)
3-wood: TaylorMade M1 (15°)
Driving iron: Titleist U500 (17°)
Irons: Callaway Apex Pro '19 (4-PW)
Wedges: Titleist Vokey SM9 (50°, 54° and 58°)
Putter: Titleist Scotty Cameron Newport 2.5
Ball: Titleist Pro V1