NOVEMBER 17 ― It feels awesome. Obviously I felt like my game was in a good spot going into the week and I know the course fits my game really well, but there was some stuff that didn't quite go my way at the start of the week. It was nice to overcome those troubles!
Danny Lee was just doing a speed session behind me (on Wednesday of the tournament) and he asked if I could hit some on his quad. I hit some drives as hard as I could and then he went back to hitting his and I was just curious if he could get his ball speed up with my driver that was a little longer.
And then the rest is history. I don't know where it snapped or how he snapped it, but I just looked up after he hit the shot and it was in pieces. I got a backup head, but I didn’t have backup a shaft. James Hahn was in front and he was nice enough to lend me one of his backups which was a little bit shorter, and it's a different shaft. But honestly, it almost helped me because it's a little shorter, it probably goes 10 yards shorter, but I just felt like I could really hit it a little lower and a little straighter. He was really nice to lend me his back-up, so I definitely owe him one. I didn't feel like I was giving up anything to the rest of the field and I was just kind of able to plot my way around. I knew this course fits me really well, so I was coming in with some high expectations.
Obviously being the defending champ, maybe people had some expectations of me to do well, and I knew the course suited me so I was coming in pretty confident. I felt like my game was in a good spot but obviously for it to end like this and win by four shots, it's been a cool week. Couldn't ask for it to go any different.
Whenever I get into a flow where I've got my numbers dialled in and I'm swinging it good, it's just kind of point and shoot. With the speed of these greens and being not so undulated, and usually when there is break, it tends to go just one way, and so for me, it allows me to be pretty aggressive on the putts and kind of trust my reads.
This win was a little different. I slept great, but I woke up really early on Sunday morning and I was pretty nervous and excited to get going. To be able to kind of sleep on the lead and go out in kind of the conditions early on, because it was blowing pretty hard on the front nine. Frankly, I did not play well at all the front nine, but I was able to hang in there and make a lot of good putts. I was really happy to be able to just kind of pull off the round that I did without having my best stuff.
I probably putted better throughout the whole week this year. I feel like I still hit the ball really, really well last year, but my short game was still not as sharp. I missed a few too many putts on the first two days, but over the weekend I just got really hot.
It was cool to have the Norwegian people who are very patriotic and it's cool to see that I can get so much support even in Mexico, which is pretty far away from Norway. They were great. They were very respectful towards the other players that I played with. They applauded good shots and obviously cheered a little bit extra when I made a putt. It was really nice. I want to thank them a lot.
I didn't like tell myself that, oh, man, I'm playing the best golf of my life, but it's just kind of putting everything together into four rounds and making very few mistakes, it felt good. I think I would say I've definitely had better ball-striking weeks, but to put a good ball-striking week with good short game and good putting is something that I haven't done very often.
* Note: A former US Amateur champion, Viktor Hovland holds the honour of being the first Norwegian to win on the PGA TOUR and European Tour. Fans can watch Hovland and the stars from the PGA TOUR in action on Astro Golf Channel and GOLFTV powered by PGA TOUR.
** This is the personal opinion of the columnist.