Superstar Norwegian Viktor Hovland is chasing a rare PGA Tour feat and that is to win the same event – the World Wide Technology Championship at Mayakoba – for three years running.
Hovland made his PGA Tour debut in the Mexican event in November 2018 and in the first of what this week is a 78th Tour start.
Some 15 months after teeing-up in Mexico, Hovland surprised many in capturing the 2020 Puerto Rico Open but then in December that same year he had many observers taking notice in capturing the Mayakoba Golf Classic but then in successfully defending the title by four shots a year next Monday (Nov 7th), he really had the golf world singing the praise of the Oslo-born golfer.
Hovland then stamped his credentials even more capturing the June 2021 BMW International Open, a win that helped secure a maiden European Ryder Cup team cap while earlier this year his stature on the world golfing stage continued on an upward mode in capturing the Slynco.io Dubai Desert Classic and leading to a share of fourth at the 150th Open Championship.
This week the 25-year-old and World No. 11 is looking to become the first player since American Steve Stricker to win the same event three years running that was with victory at the John Deere Classic (2009, 2010, 2011).
“Mayakoba is a special place. I loved it even before winning it two times. It was the first spot I played as a PGA Tour — or it was the first time I played a PGA Tour event. To come back here as a two-time champion is very special. Yeah, see if I can add another one this week,” he said.
“If I was to win here again this week it would be awesome. The PGA Tour’s been around for a while and that’s not something that’s happening all the time, although it does seem like more guys are defending their titles more and more now recently.
“Yeah, to win three times in a row, that’s certainly pretty special. I think it’s only been three guys total I think that’s been done before, so that’s pretty elite company. Yeah, would love that.”
Of note, all three of Hovland’s PGA TOUR wins have come outside the United States, with one at the 2020 Puerto Rico Open and two
(2020, 2021) at Mayakoba. Hovland has made two starts this season, highlighted by a T5 at the Zozo Championship.
Reigning PGA Tour Player of the Year Scottie Scheffler is making his first start since losing his position as World No. 1, position he held for 30 consecutive weeks until Rory McIlroy won THE CJ Cup in South Carolina. In the absence of McIlroy, Scheffler would return to No. 1
in the Official World Golf Ranking with a win or second on his own this week.
Sixty-four players in the field competed at last week’s Butterfield Bermuda Championship, including nine that finished in the
top 10 at the Butterfield Bermuda Championship (bold in field at Mayakoba) including:
1st Seamus Power T6 Aaron Baddeley
2nd Thomas Detry T6 Denny McCarthy
T3 Ben Griffin T8 Justin Lower
T3 Patrick Rodgers T8 Max McGreevy
T3 Kevin Yu 10th Harrison Endycott
Power won last week’s Butterfield Bermuda Championship, earning his second PGA Tour title and first since the 2021 Barbasol Championship. The last player to win back-to-back weeks on the TOUR schedule is Tony Finau (3M Open, Rocket Mortgage Classic in 2022). The last player to win back-to-back starts on Tour is Rory McIlroy, who won THE CJ CUP in South Carolina in October in his first start since winning the TOUR Championship.
Power is the lone Irishman in the $8.2m tournament won in a play-off seven years ago by Graeme McDowell
Power will tee-up on Thursday off the 10th tee at 7.39am local time (12.39pm Irish) and in the company of double major winning Collin Morikawa and Argentinean Emiliano Grillo.