Matthew Wolff withdraws without giving reason

Matthew Wolff was among three more players who have withdrawn from The Open Championship next week at Royal St. George’s.

Matthew Wolff, The Open Championship

The R&A did not list a reason for Wolff withdrawing. The No. 35 player in the world, he took 10 weeks off to clear his head, returning at the U.S. Open and tying for 15th. He then played the next two weeks.

Danny Lee, who pulled out of the John Deere Classic on Friday, withdrew because of injury. K.H. Lee withdrew because of the birth of his child.

They were replaced in the field by Andy Sullivan of England, Antoine Rozner of France and Troy Merritt of the U.S. Merritt lost in a playoff last week at the Rocket Mortgage Classic.

That brings to 10 the number of players who chose not to play this year, not including past champions like the injured Tiger Woods.

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.