Viktor Hovland, old coach reunite at PGA Championship, immediately find results


Viktor Hovland appears to have found something in his game at the 2024 PGA Championship.

He has struggled this season, as evidenced by his scoring average of 71.04, a significant change from the 68.92 he carried throughout 2023.

As such, Hovland decided to reunite with his old swing coach, Joe Mayo, whom he parted ways with at the end of the 2023 calendar year.

“Just reached out and was wondering if he could take a look at my golf swing, and let’s get back to work,” Hovland said Thursday.

“He knows my swing well. He’s smart and has a way of looking at my swing and knowing what it is right away. Felt like I got some good answers, was able to apply some of the feels right away, and I saw improvement right away.”

The move paid off. Hovland carded a 3-under 68 with five birdies and two bogeys, in one of his best rounds of the year.

He started on the back nine and exploded to the top of the leaderboard out of the gate. The 6-time PGA Tour winner made three birdies in his first four holes before he dropped a shot at 14.

“Made a few putts. Made at least one silly bogey,” Hovland said.

“Missed them on the wrong side of the pin—completely short-sided. I gave myself a couple of looks for par. I feel like on the front nine, I played very solid and hit a lot of nice putts that didn’t go in, but I didn’t hit it close enough to shoot a low score on the front. All in all, pretty happy with a 3-under par [round].”

That 68 marks the first time Hovland shot a sub-69 round since The Sentry in early January. Funny enough, that event marked the first time Hovland did not have Mayo as his coach.

Viktor Hovland, PGA Championship

Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

Since then, Hovland has struggled—looking like a completely different player than the one who lifted the FedEx Cup trophy at East Lake last August. He has recorded one top-20 finish this season, which came at the Genesis Invitational, where he tied for 19th.

At The Masters, he shot rounds of 71 and 81 to miss the cut.

Hovland then withdrew from the RBC Heritage and did not play until the Wells Fargo Championship, where he tied for 24th.

That led him to reunite with Mayo. The Norwegian said he called him “sometime last week” and asked to work together again.

But before reuniting with Mayo, Hovland went through a carousel of coaches. He hired Grant Waite, and shortly after, Hovland announced he hired Dana Dahlquist ahead of The Masters.

Yet, those moves did not produce results.

But this latest one has—at least through 18 holes at Valhalla.

While Mayo helped the former Oklahoma State Cowboy find some of his feels again, the swing is still a work in progress. On Wednesday evening, Hovland was the last player on the range, working on some things with his driver.

“I don’t enjoy being on the range just to hit balls,” he said.

“There has to be a purpose behind those sessions. If I need to kind of grind in a certain feel, then I’m going to do that. If things are good and I’m wasting energy to be out on the range, I’m not going to the range. That’s what’s crazy with this game — there’s always something to work on.”

Maybe this will be the final swing change of the year for Hovland. Regardless, a made cut at a major will likely be the first goal for him.

Savannah Leigh Richardson is a golf staff writer for SB Nation’s Playing Through. For more golf coverage, be sure to follow us @_PlayingThrough on all major social platforms. You can also follow her on Twitter @SportsGirlSL and Instagram @savannah_leigh_sports.





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