The golfer who traveled more than 4,000 miles across the United States to play in tournaments

The golfer who traveled more than 4,000 miles across the United States to play in tournaments

“I listen to metal, but I listen to some kind of subgenre called core metal,” Hovland told Shane O’Donoghue, host of CNN’s Living Golf program. “And it’s usually kind of heavier stuff, a lot of screams, but a lot of melodic parts and a lot of fantastic music, if you will.

“When I’m driving at night, I’m pretty tired, but it’s almost like I’m in traffic and I keep going through my playlist and I just have my head deep into the music and suddenly I spend three hours in it.”

Reach the open road

Like PGA Tour teammates Rickie Fowler and Alex Noren, Hovland is one of many professional golfers who attended Oklahoma State University and the Norwegian still lives in Stillwater, Oklahoma.

After the restart of golf on June 11 after the forced break due to the Covid-19, the Charles Schwab Challenge in Fort Worth, Texas was the first opportunity Hovland played competitively again.

And, because of the proximity of the competition to Oklahoma, the 22-year-old came to the conclusion that driving there meant he didn’t “have to expose himself to the virus.” And from there, one road led to another.

“I was thinking I’m playing next week, so I have to drive back to Oklahoma again and then catch a plane to South Carolina,” explained Hovland, whose trip has made him a cult figure. about. the golf course.

“And then I was just thinking,‘ What if … I just drive to all the events? “And I was like, ‘Oh, that could be a lot.’ But I decided not to think about it and just go do it and enjoy the hours of podcasts and music.”

From Fort Worth, Hovland embarked on a 16-hour voyage to Hilton Head, South Carolina to play RBC Heritage. He then stayed at the home of his cousin Shay Knight in Charleston, before the two traveled to Hartford, Connecticut (a 13-hour search) for the Travelers Championship.

He followed a 12-hour trip to Detroit, Michigan, for the rocket mortgage, before a three-hour trip to Columbus, Ohio, for the Memorial Tournament. After staying there for two weeks, it took Hovland 13 hours to return to Stillwater.

Norway’s road trip, which was about more than 4,000 kilometers long, has been a way to make the trips “a little more memorable” for Hovland, though he admits he will now do “a little rest “.

“You’re so used to packing your bags, going to the airport, going to the next stop and then playing golf. So I enjoy those moments, you’re in downtown Mississippi or Louisiana or Pennsylvania and you just pass us by.” What am I doing on Earth right now? ”

“So it just makes it a little more memorable, getting life experiences and mixing it up a little bit.”

“It’s pretty surreal”

Born and raised in Oslo, Norway, Hovland took up golf four years after his father Harald returned from the United States – where he had worked as an engineer – with some clubs for his son to practice.

But for today’s world number 31, watching Tiger Woods ’clips on YouTube, especially“ that chip during the 2005 Masters 16, ”was what really“ propelled ”Hovland’s passion for the game.

Since moving to the US, Hovland has gone from strength to strength, constantly beating his records along the way.

As an amateur, he won the 2018 U.S. Amateur at Pebble Beach, the first Norwegian to do so, which earned him a spot at the Masters, the US Open and the 2019 Open Championship.

In that U.S. Open, Hovland finished tied for 12th place and, with a total of four under 280 over 72 holes, broke Jack Nicklaus ’U.S. record with a total of 282 amateur records set by the United States. 1960.

Since becoming a professional in 2019, Hovland became the first Norwegian player to win the PGA Tour with his victory at the Puerto Rico Open in February 2020.

Hovland gets the trophy after winning the Puerto Rico Open.

His success has led Hovland to be placed in groups with some of the biggest names in golf. At the current World Golf Championships-FedEx St. Jude Invitational was part of the same group as 2018 Masters Champion Patrick Reed and four-time main winner Brooks Koepka.

According to Hovland, being part of this great game is still “surreal.”

“Growing up, I would wake up early in the morning and see the European Tour, even the Asian Tour and then at night, I would see the PGA Tour,” Hovland added.

“I was watching so much golf and seeing all these names and all of a sudden I was hitting balls right next to the range and I even overtook them in some cases.

“So it’s pretty crazy, especially in Norway, because some points in the U.S., if you’re a member of a really good course, it’s not uncommon for a random PGA Tour player to just show up and practice.

“That never happens in Norway. So, in a way, you’re as far away from that as it really is. So, to be with me a couple of years later, it’s pretty crazy.”

The way forward

Hovland will soon head to San Francisco, by plane instead of by car, due to the estimated 31 hours of driving from Oklahoma to California, to participate for the first time in the PGA Championship, which will be held from 6 to 9 p.m. August.

While competing in the majors is a big step up from the normal events of the PGA Tour – “they are harder tests, the courses are tougher, the greens are firmer and faster and the players are better,” explains Hovland – the Norwegian insists which is not. I’m not going to make up the numbers.

“I would say right now I’m playing well with my game, I think I can have a chance to win,” he said.

But ahead of the major rescheduling and continuation of the PGA Tour, Hovland does not put unnecessary pressure on setting unrealistic goals and explains that the opportunity to improve his game is his main motivation.

“To be honest with you, I don’t like to set a lot of goals. There are a lot of things I would like to do; win an important one, play in the Ryder Cup and do all these fantastic things,” he said. .

Hovland plays a shot during the final round of the Rocket Mortgage Classic.

“But I’m much more pleased to see my game improve. So if I’m in the range and let’s say I’m working at the speed of the club boss and I’m constantly at 113-114 miles per hour, and I just can’t overcome that point and then I go to the gym and I’m stronger, working out some technical stuff.

“And so let’s say maybe three months from now that a 113-114 is 117. And I’m just improved, that gives me that kind of sense of accomplishment and that’s how it motivates me the most to keep playing and playing.

“And I have more pleasure in becoming a better golfer and then I try to do it in tournaments, but essentially the most fun thing I have is improving in golf.”

Whether it’s a long road trip or driving the ball straight and certainly on a golf course, Hovland’s professional career success suggests that you can have a lot more fun on your sports trip.

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