In the 2023 season, we’ve seen OSU Alum Viktor Hovland come so close to claiming a title on a number of occasions…specifically in the majors. Hovland finished tied for 7th at April’s Masters and finished in a tie for 2nd at last month’s PGA Championship at Oak Hill. The PGA felt like his best chance to date to claim that elusive 1st major title as he was in the running going into the final few holes. But a Double Bogey on 16 pretty much wiped away any chance for Hovland to catch the eventual champion Brooks Koepka. Hovland will be a flashy pick in next week’s US Open…especially after Viktor was able to pick up the win over the weekend at The Memorial.
While it may not be a major, The Memorial is one of golf’s biggest regular season tournaments. The Memorial is one of only five tournaments given “invitational” status by the PGA Tour and has a reduced field of only 120 players (as opposed to most full-field open tournaments with a field of 156 players). Every year, the tournament is played at a Jack Nicklaus-designed course at Muirfield Village Golf Club in Dublin, Ohio. Jack’s course was not easy on Hovland and the other golfers as Hovland finished his 72 holes at just -7 (tied with Denny McCarthy). It’s just the 2nd time the winning score was in single digits under-par since 2013 and was just the 15th time in its history that the winner has shot in the single digits under-par.
Hovland went into the weekend at 2-under which more than enough to keep in contention as most of the field was struggling with consistency. A majority of the field would shoot under par one day and then go over par the next. However, Hovland was one of just a few of players in the entire field to shoot under par in all 4 rounds. Even the man he tied the tournament with didn’t even do that (Denny McCarthy shot an even par 72 on Friday). Hovland scrapped and clawed and managed to post a 5-under par weekend (-3 on Saturday and -2 on Sunday) and was able to eek out a par on the 1st playoff hole against McCarthy to claim his 4th PGA Tour victory in his career and first since 2021.
The win is part of a very impressive stretch of golf for Hovland in some of golf’s biggest tournaments. Since being cut in last summer’s US Open, Hovland has finished inside the Top 10 in each major since. Hovland also finished tied for 3rd at The Players and even finished in the Top 20 of the Tour Championship to close out the season last year. Many around the golf world feel like the 25-year-old Hovland could be the next big thing in the sport. The former OSU Cowboy been so close to breaking through at a major the last 3 times out. And now with a win at The Memorial under his belt, Hovland will definitely be one to watch at next week’s US Open despite the fact that the US Open has been the toughest major for the young professional. The young man has nerves of steel and a win would not surprise me or anyone in the golf world. Hovland is just getting started and we here in the state of Oklahoma are excited to see where his career leads.