By his own admission, Viktor Hovland said he wanted to have a relatively boring final round at East Lake Golf Club. With a seven-under final round, Hovland would hold off Xander Schauffele and win the 2023 TOUR Championship and clinch the FedEx Cup, closing his weekend at 27-under par. With the victory, Hovland earned an $18 million pay day.
“Obviously it’s a lot of cash you’re playing for,” he said. “I mean, it’s in the back of your mind. But I live in Stillwater, Oklahoma. Money goes a long ways there. It’s not like I’m spending money out the wazoo every week. I don’t need a lot to be happy. I don’t need a lot to live within my means.”
Remember when I said Hovland’s game plan was attempting to play as boring as possible? He referenced how Tiger Woods back in the day would post the 69 or 70 in a major championship and walk away with a victory. His par save on the 14th hole all but secured the win.
Hovland birdied the final three holes to secure the victory, with Schauffele scoring an eight-under-par final round of 62 to put pressure on the leader.
“I think I was four under through six and even then Xander just kept pouring it on,” Hovland said. “And suddenly after I missed those couple of short birdie putts on the back nine and suddenly the lead was at three. And if I missed that putt on 14, it’s suddenly two. What he was doing today was very special, and certainly made this day a lot more stressful than I felt like it should have been after that start.”
Hovland played a couple of amateur tournaments but never had the total confidence in his game at that time. However, he earned his PGA Tour card and was adamant on adding tools in his tool box. In his quest to become one of the best golfers in the world, Hovland hired Joe Mayo in January. That may have been the missing piece.
“So when he came on board, he had no idea how I play and what I was doing what it looked like,” Hovland said. “So he kind of had a fresh set of eyes. And yeah, he’s just brought a lot of math and physics to my golf game and we just apply that put a lot hours in and funnily enough, it works.”