Viktor Hovland bested all at BMW. Then came a flowery 3-word greeting
Rory McIlroy called it amazing. Four times.
Scottie Scheffler said it was fantastic. Twice.
Matt Fitzpatrick had a thought, too.
Yes, Viktor Hovland’s 61 on Sunday at Olympia Fields, with a back-nine 28 (!), was a lot of things. Rewarding? Yep. It won him the BMW Championship crown, along with its $3.6 million booty. Thunderous? Yep. Hovland started the final round three off the pace, and he clobbered everyone, including those all-stars above. Historic? Yep. The 61 was a career low for Hovland. It was an Olympia Fields course record.
Dynamic? Powerful? Precise? Yes, yes, yes, all of that, as well. Hovland birdied the par-5 1st on a 2-foot putt. He birdied the par-4 3rd on a 19-footer. He birdied the par-4 5th on a 15-footer. Then came the electric closing nine. Hovland birdied the par-4 10th on a 3-footer. He birdied the par-4 11th on a 12-footer. He birdied the par-4 12th on a 4-footer. He birdied the par-4 14th on a 19-incher. He birdied the par-5 on an 8-footer. He birdied the par-4 17th on an 8-footer. He birdied the par-4 18th on a 6-footer. In all, he made a dozen 3’s. He missed two fairways. He missed two greens. He took just 25 putts.
McIlroy saw it best. He was Hovland’s playing partner.
“I felt like I played very average out there next to Viktor,” the four-time major winner said. “He played amazing. Yeah, he played incredible.
“I was marking his card in there and I’m like, oh, you only made one 4 on the back nine, the rest 3’s, so it adds up to a nice little 28 for him. It was great to see. He played great.”
Was McIlroy impressed by anything most?
“He just keeps his foot on the pedal,” he said. “Just isn’t scared. Just keeps going forward, keeps going at it.
“The things that people don’t realize, you get into that position, the second shot on 17, to pitch it where he pitched it right by the pin, you look at where Scottie hit his, lands it five, seven yards short of the pin, it spins back and he’s got a tricky — Viktor just keeps his foot on the gas.”
Then there was Scheffler. He had been one of two leaders entering the day. He shot a respectable 66. And lost by two.
“Yeah, pretty amazing round of golf to win this tournament like that,” last year’s Masters champ and current world No. 1 said.
“I still don’t understand how the scores were so low this week. I don’t know, this place seems pretty hard to me, but guys are just ripping it up. Sixty-one is a fantastic round, especially with Sunday pressure, and the way he finished was a really fantastic round.”
Then there was Fitzpatrick. Last year’s U.S. Open winner had been the other co-leader. He also shot a 66. And he also lost by two.
He had a thought on Hovland, too. Or specifically a greeting. It was captured and shared by the PGA Tour’s social media team. It was three words.
“You little s**t.”
We’ll end things here with this exchange, started by a reporter afterward.
What did you say to Viktor, and did you see a 61 being shot this week?
“Yeah, I think after the rain on Monday or Tuesday, I did see one. I’ll be honest, it was softer than I thought it was going to be today. I was hoping for it to be a bit firmer. But can’t knock it. It’s so impressive.”
When you grabbed him on the shoulders there, what did you say?
“I said he was a little s**t.”