Danny Willett may have been leading the home charge after day one of The 2021 Open Championship but the Englishman was glad just to be pain free at Royal St George’s Golf Club.
Danny Willett, statements
“Playing for the first time pain free was delightful. The hernia healed up all right but they go in in three places and tore my obliques with one and that’s really been hurting. It was joyous sneezing without it hurting for the first time on Saturday. That sounds stupid but that’s where I’ve been It was joyous sneezing without it hurting for the first time on Saturday. That sounds stupid but that’s where I’ve been. It was a good job we caught it so soon. I saw the doctor on the Sunday of Memorial. If we had left it, who knows? And who knows what else 2021 will bring? It might finish well. I hope so”.
Everyone in Norway is going crazy for Viktor Hovland. The victory at the BMW International Open transformed an afternoon of his undercover in a Norwegian club into a national and non-national media event. And so, what should have been 18 holes in relaxation with three friends have become 18 holes in relaxation with three friends and three hundred fans on the green.
Power of golf and power of the Internet. The 23-year-old is one of the young rampants of the international circuit, in constant growth and with one foot already in history. The number 14 in the world ranking has two titles on the bulletin board on the PGA Tour (the first Norwegian to impose itself in the USA, in the Puerto Rico Open 2020 and in the Mayakoba Classic 2020). As if that weren’t enough, at the end of June he was the first Norwegian to win a race on the European Tour. The success at the BMW International Open came at the end of June on the Munich Eichenried course: Hovland won with two strokes off Martin Kaymer and four Jorge Campillo.
Returning to his homeland after the success, Viktor had opted for a sabbatical week. No contact with the professional golf world: no interviews, no appearances and no interventions via Zoom. In the Oslo player’s plans, the will to regenerate on a mental level ahead of next week’s Open Championship.
His program includes a lot of golf but in great secrecy, including eighteen holes with three friends at Larvik Golfklubb, a club two hours’ drive from Oslo. The chosen playmates were Andreas Halvorsen (professional on the Latin American tour), Kevin André Wright (pro and former Norwegian champion) and former footballer John Arne Riise.
So far so good. None of the four, however, had calculated Golfbox, the Norwegian gesgolf, the site where tee times are booked. A member of the Larvik Golfklubb, looking for a time to his liking, came across the name “Viktor Hovland h.16.00” and couldn’t believe his eyes. He immediately photographed the page to turn it on a Facebook group. Once socialized, you know, the photo has no limits.
So at 4pm one day last week, three hundred Hovland fans showed up in Larvik to meet him. However, the “leak” did not scare the 23-year-old who, between a selfie and an autograph, played accompanied by his audience.