LOS ANGELES – Viktor Hovland wants to continue playing against the best players in the world.
And for now, it appears that’s on the PGA Tour.
It was unclear which direction the Norwegian star was leaning as talks about a rival circuit continue to dominate the competitive landscape. Hovland would seem the ideal target for a breakaway circuit, given his age (24), worldwide success (world No. 4) and international appeal.
But on Friday at the Genesis Invitational, Hovland stated his desire to continue playing the PGA Tour.
“If I had my wish,” he said, “I would just keep playing the PGA Tour. But we’ll see what happens.”
When asked what would change his plans, Hovland said it would depend on what the other top players choose.
“I just want to play against the best players in the world,” he said. “If everyone goes over there, it kind of leaves me with no choice. But I would like to play the [Tour].”
No players have publicly announced their intentions to join the Saudi-backed Super Golf League, though Phil Mickelson, Bryson DeChambeau and Dustin Johnson have long been rumored candidates to make the leap.
Of the game’s top players, Jon Rahm, Rory McIlroy, Patrick Cantlay, Collin Morikawa, Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth are among those who have spurned the other offers.
“It seemed like a lot of good players are voicing their support for the PGA Tour,” he said, “so that’s certainly going to be a tall task for other leagues if the best players don’t want to go.”
Full-field scores from The Genesis Invitational
Rahm, the world No. 1, said that he plays not for money but trophies and history – and that’s something that also seemed to resonate with Hovland.
“It’s nice to make money,” he said, “but that’s not what gets me up every day in the morning. I’m just trying to get better at golf. Riviera and all the past winners, it’s a really cool history. Just to be a part of that, that means something to me, being a PGA Tour winner. Winning these historical events, I think that’s very cool.”
After all, the third-year pro has already made plenty of money – $9.2 million in on-course earnings alone on the PGA Tour – and figures to make tons more over the next decade-plus. On the topic of money, he was asked Friday if he remembered the first time a large check was deposited in his account, either through a sponsorship deal or a top finish.
He answered in typically endearing fashion.
“It was more I knew I had some security when I first turned pro, like I didn’t have to count every single dollar that I spent on air travel and food,” he said. “That was a big thing: Instead of not getting guac at Chipotle, I would get double meat and I didn’t have to worry about it. It’s just stuff like that on a daily basis. If you think a certain thing is good for your game or good for your health, then you go do it and you don’t have to worry about how much it’s going to cost.”