By James MacLeod
Viktor Hovland, the rising Norwegian golf star, has become a fan favorite in Oklahoma for good reason. Coming off his sensational back nine to win the BMW Championship Sunday, making seven birdies in nine holes, he moved to second in the FedEx Cup standings and could win an additional $18 million if he prevails in the season-ending Tour Championship this weekend at East Lake in Atlanta. Here are five reasons why Oklahoma loves Hovland:
1. He’s an OSU Cowboy through and through. Hovland honed his skills as an amateur golfer on the Oklahoma State University golf team, leading the Cowboys to the 2018 NCAA Championship and winning the 2018 U.S. Amateur Championship. After his amazing amateur career, he could have moved anywhere in the country or the world but chose to remain in Stillwater.
2. He is blissfully oblivious to his riches. Viktor shows little interest in how much money he has been accumulating, just that his needs are met and bills paid and he has time to concentrate on getting better. He has won over 34 million already in his career not including endorsements and has a chance to add $18 million more at the Tour Championship this weekend should he overtake Scottie Scheffler and win the event.
3. He represents OSU on a national stage. Hovland proudly sports orange OSU hats, shirts, and head covers as he competes on the PGA Tour, giving a shout out to his alma mater every tournament.
4. He has a down-to-earth personality. Despite his rising stardom, Hovland remains humble, approachable, and grounded, not to mention having a great sense of humor – characteristics that resonate with Oklahomans. He is a familiar figure at Karsten Creek Golf Course in Stillwater, freely giving advice and encouragement to the new Cowboys. And he has purchased a lot and plans to build a home at Oak Tree National in Edmond, home to a bevy of young professionals.
5. With five PGA Tour wins under his belt at just 25 years old, Hovland is a budding superstar. He’ll be a cornerstone for Europe this fall in the Ryder Cup, but other than that week, Oklahomans have adopted and cheer for this unassuming Norwegian as their own. It will even be hard to cheer against him in the Ryder Cup, he’s that likeable.
As Hovland’s star continues to rise, his loyalty to Oklahoma State and decision to remain an Oklahoma have earned him the respect of the entire state’s golfing community. For these reasons and more, Oklahoma can’t get enough of Viktor Hovland.