Viktor Hovland On Bad Time: "I've Never Felt Stressed In That Way Before"

The Norwegian was given a 'bad time' in Abu Dhabi last week, and he said it affected his golf

Viktor Hovland On Bad Time
(Image credit: Getty Images)

The Norwegian was given a 'bad time' in Abu Dhabi last week, and he said it affected his golf as it led to him rushing

Viktor Hovland On Bad Time: "I've Never Felt Stressed In That Way Before"

The European Tour introduced tighter regulations on slow play at last week's Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship and they certainly made an improvement to the pace of play.

Thursday's opening round was 10 minutes quicker than last year and the second round was six minutes quicker than 2019, with three-balls averaging just over 4hrs 30mins.

The main reason for the quicker times is the European Tour's stricter 'bad time' regulations that give players one stroke penalties for two bad times throughout the entire tournament, when it was originally planned to be a penalty for two bad times in one round.

One player to receive a bad time was Viktor Hovland, who took 59 seconds over a putt whilst his group was on the clock, therefore incurring a 'bad time'.

Hovland should have taken a maximum of 40 seconds.

The Norwegian, from that moment, knew that one more bad time over the entire tournament would cost him one stroke.

He says that "stressed" him out and that it affected his performance as he was only focusing on trying to play fast from then on.

"Obviously with the new pace of play policy, I had one instance, we were the first group off, and on my fourth hole, I had to readjust my line, and I'm normally not a slow player but I had to readjust my line, and we were already on the clock, and I spent a little bit more time than I should have," he said.

"That kind of flustered me a little bit. And the rest of the round, I was only focusing on trying to play fast, instead of you know, trying to perform, which you're ultimately there for.

"We've been on the clock before. But normally, or from my perspective, I wouldn't say I was the reason because of that. We might have had a bad hole or something.

"I've never felt stressed in that way before.

"You know, I was given a bad time, so I don't want to have another bad time before I have a penalty shot.

"So that was a bit of a rookie move from my perspective, but I felt like we got it cleared up with the rules officials and now more comfortable with that."

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Hovland was penalised one stroke during the tournament but for something completely separate.

He was playing with Robert Karlsson who said that he "felt bad" in having to call a penalty on the Norwegian for breaking a rule.

The 22-year-old hit his ball up against a sponsor sign and moved his ball instead of moving the sign.

He eventually missed the cut by one.

"I hit it right of the green on 10 for my second shot, and my ball rested up against the sign there," Hovland said.

"Yeah, I wasn't aware that you're not supposed to mark it. I didn't want the ball to move, so I marked it, picked it up and placed it to the side, which you're not supposed to do.

"So that hurt a little bit looking back at it, because I missed the cut by one.

"And I felt like I was playing some decent golf, and obviously with the leaders being at maybe 9-under after two rounds, you would think a couple good rounds over the week and then you could climb a lot of spots. So that hurt a little bit."

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Elliott Heath
News Editor

Elliott Heath is our News Editor and has been with Golf Monthly since early 2016 after graduating with a degree in Sports Journalism. He manages the Golf Monthly news, features, courses and travel sections as well as our large Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages. He covered the 2022 Masters from Augusta National as well as four Open Championships on-site including the 150th at St Andrews. His first Open was in 2017 at Royal Birkdale, when he walked inside the ropes with Jordan Spieth during the Texan's memorable Claret Jug triumph. He has played 35 of our Top 100 golf courses, with his favourites being both Sunningdales, Woodhall Spa, Western Gailes, Old Head and Turnberry. He has been obsessed with the sport since the age of 8 and currently plays at West Byfleet Golf Club in Surrey, where his handicap index floats anywhere between 2-5. His golfing highlights are making albatross on the 9th hole on the Hotchkin Course at Woodhall Spa, shooting an under-par round, playing in the Aramco Team Series on the Ladies European Tour and making his one and only hole-in-one at the age of 15 - a long time ago now!

Elliott is currently playing:

Driver: Titleist TSR4

3 wood: Titleist TSi2 HL

Irons: Mizuno MP-H4 3-iron, Mizuno MP5 4-PW

Wedges: Cleveland RTX ZipCore 50, 54, 58

Putter: Odyssey White Hot OG #5