Viktor Hovland, chasing a PGA Championship title, made a shocking admission

Viktor Hovland looks on during the PGA Championship.

Viktor Hovland is just two off the lead through three rounds of the PGA Championship.

Ben Jared/PGA TOUR via Getty Images

Viktor Hovland found his game in a big way at this week’s PGA Championship, but he almost didn’t get the chance.

Hovland fired his second straight 66 at Valhalla Saturday — this one the bogey-free variety — to move into a tie for third at 13 under, two shots behind co-leaders Xander Schauffele and Collin Morikawa.

But after the round, Hovland made a shocking admission to SiriusXM PGA Tour Radio’s Jason Sobel: He almost withdrew.

“I was almost considering pulling out of this event just because I wasn’t playing good at all,” Hovland said. “Things didn’t feel very good and when they don’t feel good, it’s like what’s the point of going and playing? I’d rather just go and work on it.”

When Sobel followed up, asking when Hovland made the decision to play this week, Hovland joked: “Damn it, I shouldn’t have said that.”

“When you’re playing bad, thoughts are racing and that’s just what you’re thinking,” Hovland said. “Obviously didn’t make the decision. Obviously decided to come here and play instead. I think it’s just kind of in the moment when you’re playing bad, you just wanna go home.”

Despite still having one round to go, this week has been Hovland’s best performance of the season. Hovland hasn’t finished better than T19 in 2024, which comes after he went on a tear during the second half of last season, winning three times, including the final two legs of the FedEx Cup Playoffs. He capped it off with a dominating performance at the Ryder Cup, where he went 3-1-1 in Europe’s win.

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But 2024 started ominously for the 26-year-old Norwegian, as he quietly parted ways with coach Joe Mayo, to whom he credited much of his 2023 success. Hovland became a mainstay on the range after rounds, searching for something to reignite his game. He admitted he was fighting his swing at times in 2023 and before the Masters said he wanted to recapture his 2021 move.

“I just felt like I got to basically the pinnacle of what my golf swing was able to do last year,” Hovland said ahead of the 2024 Masters. “When I keep looking back at my swings from 2020, 2021, I just really had more control of the golf ball, in my opinion.”

He missed the cut at Augusta and then pulled out of the $20 million Signature Event RBC Heritage the following week. Hovland reunited with Mayo last week and tied for 24th at the Wells Fargo Championship.

“He knows my swing really well,” Hovland said. “He’s really, really smart, and just has a way of looking at my swing and kind of knowing what it is right away. Felt like I got some really good answers, was able to apply some of the feels right away, and I saw improvement right away.”

As for what coach Mayo thinks of all this? He posted an image on Instagram Saturday with three words and no caption.

“I am pleased,” it said.

Hovland is in the third-to-last pairing with Bryson DeChambeau on Sunday, looking to improve on his runner-up finish from last year.

Jack Hirsh Editor

Jack Hirsh is an assistant editor at GOLF. A Pennsylvania native, Jack is a 2020 graduate of Penn State University, earning degrees in broadcast journalism and political science. He was captain of his high school golf team and recently returned to the program to serve as head coach. Jack also still *tries* to remain competitive in local amateurs. Before joining GOLF, Jack spent two years working at a TV station in Bend, Oregon, primarily as a Multimedia Journalist/reporter, but also producing, anchoring and even presenting the weather. He can be reached at



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