KAWAGOE, Japan — It isn’t hard to see the camaraderie between Norway’s male golfers, Viktor Hovland and Kristian Johannessen. The latter opened up their Olympics press conference Tuesday by pointing out the former used to be “a fat little kid” when they first met.
There were smiles all around, understandably, but it hasn’t always been that way for these two. In fact, when they were up and coming junior golfers in Norway, there was actually a bit of animosity between them. Hovland first mentioned it with a laugh during the introductory statements Tuesday, and was later asked to explain.
Hovland and Johannessen went to the same high school, Wang Topidrett in Oslo, and during the time that Hovland was scouting the school to see if he’d like to enroll there, he was invited to a junior team event in Spain. His roommate in the villa housing apparently hogged the room with his girlfriend throughout their stay, forcing Hovland to hang out elsewhere. “I didn’t get to spend the time that I needed to in that room and I was young at the time and I might have like complained a lot about that,” Hovland recalled Tuesday.
Who knows how much ‘a lot’ is in this scenario, but after those complaints added up, it was Johannessen who put Hovland in check.
“I had never met Kristian before,” Hovland said, “but I knew who he was and after I told a couple of different people he just asked me straight up, ‘Well, what did you shoot the first two days of the tournament?’ Because we had already played two rounds. And I just said, ‘Well, I shot 82, 82.’
“He was just like, ‘Well does it matter where you’re sleeping if you’re shooting 82, 82?’ Never met the guy before and I’m like, all right, we’re off to a good start. And I was thinking, when I start at this school in a couple years, we’re probably going to butt heads a lot.”
Johannessen just smiled and listened as Hovland continued.
“Despite the nasty comments he’s actually a pretty decent guy.”
Safe to say these guys are pretty friendly these days, especially this week as they compete on behalf of their homeland. Without a doubt the Norweigan press conference Tuesday was the most entertaining. And perhaps that’s just a tiny example why.
There was also Johannessen’s explanation why he didn’t become an Olympic ski jumper like his father. “Yeah, I’m just too fat,” he said, forever keeping the mood light. “But I tried the cross country skiing and I tried a bit of ski jumping, but I just didn’t have the talent for that, so ended up playing golf instead. Yeah, happy with that choice.”