Viktor Hovland’s rules infraction was called in by a surprising viewer

viktor hovland

Hovland's mistake changed his first round score from 70 to 72.

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You’ve heard that Big Brother is always watching. Well, how about Big Mother? Viktor Hovland knows all too well today that his mother is always watching when he plays, as she was the reason he was docked two strokes Thursday evening.

The truth is that Hovland moved his ball to let Justin Thomas play through on the 15th green, then placed his ball in the incorrect spot, and played it from there. He didn’t realize the error on that hole, the next hole, or the rest of his round. Apparently he didn’t realize it until he was in the parking lot, headed to his car. That’s when his mother Galina told him about his error and he self-reported the mistake, according to the NBC Sports broadcast. 

Suddenly his 70 was now a 72. Thanks, Mom!

According to, Hovland had no recollection of moving his mark in the same direction twice, rather than in one direction and back again. After being delivered video of his actions, he was rather content with the ruling. According to Rule 14.7, playing from the wrong spot is a two-shot penalty. Also, in a not to distant past, this instance would have resulted in Mother Disqualifying Son. Prior to the updating of the Rules of Golf in 2019, if a player signed for an incorrect scorecard, they would be DQ’d from the competition. Hovland had signed for his 70, but thanks to the new Rule 3.3b, Hovland’s score could be retroactively altered. Phew!

Oddly enough it wasn’t the only ruling of his day. Hovland’s tournament basically began with a ruling on the 11th hole, where he was delivered improper information about whether or not his approach shot cleared the hazard short and right of the green. After asking for clarification and video evidence he was assured it had crossed and his drop was correct in the moment. Phew again.

Hovland’s first time playing TPC Sawgrass during the Players didn’t get any easier as his second round began with a front nine 37. With the cut line hovering around even par, it’s going to take some solid play for him to make the weekend. 

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