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Wednesday, February 26, 2020
Viktor Hovland

Tony spoke to former Reuters golf correspondent Tony Jimenez about Viktor Hovland’s maiden victory on the PGA Tour last week:

“What a delightful breath of fresh air young Viktor is. From the first time I saw him on TV doing his thing, he struck me as being someone different.

It’s so refreshing to see him in action. He’s got this special way about him, he’s such a natural. He is constantly smiling, he’s always engaging with the galleries and it’s not often you see a top-level golfer reacting the way he does and so clearly enjoying being out there.

It’s extraordinary to see him going about his business. Of course he’s a very talented golfer, that is clear for everyone to see, but the most interesting facet of his game is his demeanour.

He’s up there on the world stage with a smile on his face and that is a very rare and precious commodity these days. He must be a proud young man to have become the first Norwegian to have won on the PGA Tour.

The way Viktor is, he is not going to have any problems attracting sponsors and endorsement contracts. Companies will be falling over themselves to get a piece of the action with him.

To me, he’s the most interesting newcomer on the scene by far and I am going to be watching his progress very closely. We’ve had some good characters rise to the top of the game in recent years, I’m thinking of engaging people like Tommy Fleetwood for instance, but I think if Viktor can maintain his present form and outlook, he can be a true world star.

He has certainly got my attention. He’s a real ray of sunshine to the whole business of golf as far as I’m concerned and I wish him well. Of course, everyone needs a bit of luck to climb to the very top but I’ll be watching this kid very closely from now on.

My wife Astrid was equally excited with his performance last week, especially bearing in mind that Viktor is a fellow Norwegian, and even though we don’t know him, we have sent him a congratulatory message for his victory.

You can also bet your bottom dollar that he will be featuring high on European Ryder Cup captain Padraig Harrington’s radar. There is no reason at all now that he cannot go on and confirm a rookie place for the matches against the Americans later this year.

He’s a dynamic young 22-year-old talent with a tremendous energy about him and Padraig will be looking closely at him, there’s no doubt about that at all.

I shall be at Whistling Straits for the Ryder Cup in September and hopefully I’ll get to shake Viktor’s hand there.”