Timeline: Tracking Viktor Hovland’s rapid rise to FedExCup champ
10 Min Read
Written by Staff, PGATOUR.COM
Just four years after turning pro, Viktor Hovland has become the FedExCup champion. He’s the third-youngest player to win the PGA TOUR’s season-long points title, behind only Jordan Spieth (2015) and Justin Thomas (2017).
Hovland won three times in 2023, including the final two tournaments of the season. His final-round 61 at the BMW Championship is arguably the round of the year, and he continued his incredible play in the FedExCup finale at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta.
Hovland took a six-stroke lead into Sunday’s final round of the TOUR Championship before winning by five strokes over Xander Schauffele. It was a year defined by victories in some of the game’s biggest events – he also won Jack Nicklaus’ Memorial Tournament presented by Workday – and incredible consistency. He didn’t miss a single cut and finished in the top 25 in all but five of his 23 starts. He was runner-up in the PGA Championship, third at THE PLAYERS and T7 in the Masters.
It’s a testament to Hovland’s continual quest for improvement. He’s been one of the TOUR’s top ball-strikers for his entire career. Shoring up his one weakness, his short game, has made him a well-rounded player, built for the TOUR’s toughest tests. And now he can call himself the FedExCup champion.
This timeline provides a closer look at Hovland’s career, beginning with his amateur career and collegiate success at Oklahoma State and culminating with his FedExCup victory.
July 21, 2015: Finishes second in stroke play at the U.S. Junior Amateur, one behind medalist Brandon Mancheno. The next day, Hovland loses as the No. 2 seed in the Round of 64, 1 up to the No. 63 seed, Parker Gillam.
Oct. 14, 2015: Represents Norway in the Spirit International Amateur, helping his country to a top-five finish.
Aug. 29, 2015: Posts a 3-0-1 mark as a member of the Continent of Europe squad that tied Great Britain & Ireland at the 2015 Jacques Leglise Trophy.
Aug. 6, 2016: Finishes second in the European Amateur at age 18, losing a seven-hole playoff to Italy’s Luca Cianchetti. Entered the final round with a two-stroke lead after posting a course-record 63 in Round 3 and carded a 3-under 69 on the last day.
May 31, 2017: One of five players named to the Golf Coaches Association of America All-Freshman Team after finishing the season with five consecutive top-10s, including a T8 at the NCAA Championship. He also earns honorable mention All-American honors.
March 20, 2018: Wins his first collegiate title at the Valspar Collegiate Invitational, finishing at 13 under to win by four shots over Florida State’s John Pak.
May 29, 2018: Is named a first-team All-American after his sophomore season at Oklahoma State. He finished 11th in stroke play in the NCAA Championship.
May 30, 2018: Helps Oklahoma State to its 11th NCAA Men’s Golf Championship. The Cowboys won all five of their matches against Alabama in the final, with Hovland beating Lee Hodges, winner of this year’s 3M Open, 4 and 3. Hovland went 3-0 in match play at the event.
June 30, 2018: Collects his second runner-up in the European Amateur, finishing one stroke behind Nicolai Hojgaard.
Aug. 19, 2018: Wins the U.S. Amateur at Pebble Beach in dominant fashion, trailing for only one hole in all six of his matches. He played just 104 holes over his six matches; only two U.S. Amateur champions since 1979 have played fewer.
“I always thought I had a pretty good vocabulary, but I’m lost for words,” said Hovland following his U.S. Amateur win. “It’s really special. I’ve only won once before, and to win the U.S. Amateur as my second win is really cool. I just hope it’s the start of something great.”
Viktor Hovland after his victory at the 2019 U.S. Amateur (Getty)
Oct. 29, 2018: Shoots 68 to earn medalist honors in the East Lake Cup. It is his second consecutive victory (and third collegiate title overall) after a win at the Royal Oaks Intercollegiate the week prior.
Jan. 2, 2019: Is named AmateurGolf.com’s Men’s Player of the Year for 2018 after winning the U.S. Amateur, finishing second at the European Amateur, making it to the Round of 16 in the British Amateur and finishing T8 in the World Amateur Team Championship.
April 17, 2019: Finishes as low amateur at the Masters with a score of 3-under par and is awarded the Silver Cup next to 2019 Masters winner Tiger Woods. Following his performance at Augusta, Hovland ascends to No. 1 in the World Amateur Golf Ranking.
May 20, 2019: Wins the Ben Hogan Award, given to the top player in collegiate and amateur golf, over finalists Collin Morikawa and Matthew Wolff. Hovland’s resume includes his U.S. Amateur victory and low-amateur honors at Augusta National.
May 28, 2019: Hovland’s collegiate career comes to an end after Oklahoma State loses in the semifinals of the 2019 NCAA Championship. Hovland is named a first-team All-American for the second consecutive year.
June 16, 2019: Finishes T12 in the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach to earn low-amateur honors. His 72-hole score of 280 broke Jack Nicklaus’ 59-year-old scoring record for an amateur. It’s his final start before turning pro. Hovland is the first player since Matt Kuchar in 1998 to earn low-amateur honors at both the Masters and U.S. Open in the same year.
Hovland after receiving low-amateur honors at the 2019 U.S. Open (Getty)
June 23, 2019: Shoots a final-round 73 at the Travelers Championship to finish T54 in his pro debut and earns $16,560.
Viktor Hovland leads the field off the tee at the Travelers Championship
June 30, 2019: Shoots a final-round 64 in his second pro start to finish T13 at the Rocket Mortgage Classic. It's the start of a trend. The Rocket Mortgage is the first of four consecutive events where he shoots 65 or lower on Sunday en route to a top-20 finish.
Aug. 4, 2019: A final-round 65 gives Hovland a fourth-place finish at the Wyndham Championship, the final event before the FedExCup Playoffs. He falls 67 points short of earning his PGA TOUR card in just five pro starts and heads to the Korn Ferry Tour Finals.
Aug. 25, 2019: Hovland earns his PGA TOUR card for the 2019-20 season with a runner-up finish at the Albertsons Boise Open presented by Chevron.
Viktor Hovland secures first PGA TOUR card via Korn Ferry Tour Finals
Sept. 22, 2019: Hovland cracks the top 100 in the Official World Golf Ranking for the first time after finishing T11 at the BMW PGA Championship. It is just his ninth event as a pro and eighth consecutive top-20 finish.
Oct. 17, 2019: A first-round 69 at THE CJ CUP is Hovland’s 18th consecutive round in the 60s, breaking Bob Estes’ PGA TOUR record that he set in 2001. Hovland shoots 69 the next day before a third-round 74 snaps his streak at 19 consecutive rounds. The streak started with Hovland’s final-round 64 at the Rocket Mortgage Classic in June.
Feb. 23, 2020: Earns his first PGA TOUR victory at the Puerto Rico Open despite a triple-bogey at the par-3 11th, where he chunked a chip shot and then failed to reach the green with his third shot. Hovland makes amends, however, by chipping in for eagle on the 15th hole and birdies No. 18 to finish one shot ahead of Josh Teater. “I suck at chipping. I definitely need to work on my short game,” Hovland says in his TV interview on the 18th green.
“It's hard to deal with expectations because they're usually higher than what's realistic. If you'd told me a year ago I would have won a PGA TOUR event in my 17th start I would have said that's nuts.”
June 28, 2020: Cracks the top 50 in the Official World Golf Ranking for the first time after finishing T11 at the Travelers Championship, the same tournament where he made his pro debut just a year earlier.
Aug. 20, 2020: Finishes his rookie season tied with Brendon Todd for 20th in the FedExCup standings, becoming one of eight PGA TOUR rookies to qualify for the FedExCup Playoffs and one of two to advance to the TOUR Championship.
Oct. 18, 2020: Cracks the top 25 in the Official World Golf Ranking for the first time after finishing T12 at THE CJ CUP @ SHADOW CREEK despite an opening-round 75.
Dec. 6, 2020: Hovland wins the Mayakoba Golf Classic presented by UNFIN with a final-round, 6-under 65 – including three birdies in his final six holes – to finish at 20 under and beat Adam Wise by one stroke. At 23 years old, he becomes just the fifth European player (since 1945) to earn multiple TOUR titles before turning 24.
June 27, 2021: Wins the BMW International Open in Germany for his maiden victory on the DP World Tour. He cards a 2-under 70 on the final day and finishes at 19 under to beat Martin Kaymer by two strokes.
“I grew up watching mostly the European Tour. It’s cool to be a champion of this Tour. It’s a huge honor and finally Norway has a win on the European Tour. … It's The Open, Olympics, Ryder Cup – there's so much golf to look forward to, and I'm just going to have a blast.”
Aug. 1, 2021: Cracks the top 10 in the Official World Golf Ranking for the first time after a T14 at the Tokyo Olympics, where he shot 64 in the final round.
Sept. 21, 2021: Becomes the first Norwegian to represent Europe at the Ryder Cup in his debut at Whistling Straits. Goes 0-3-2 in Wisconsin, scoring one point for the European team.
Viktor Hovland at the 2021 Ryder Cup in Kohler, Wisconsin (Getty)
Nov. 7, 2021: Successfully defends his title at the World Wide Technology Championship at Mayakoba in Playa del Carmen, Mexico. Wins by four strokes and sets a tournament record of 23 under par. His weekend is highlighted by a bogey-free 62 in the third round.
Dec. 5, 2021: Wins the Hero World Challenge in his tournament debut, beating a limited field of the world’s best players to win the Tiger Woods-hosted event.
Viktor Hovland captures win on 72nd hole at Hero
Jan. 23, 2022: Cracks the top five in the Official World Golf Ranking for the first time with his T4 finish in the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.
Jan. 30, 2022: Secures his second DP World Tour win – and first Rolex Series title – at the Slync.io Dubai Desert Classic after shooting a final-round 66 to force a playoff with Richard Bland. Hovland, who started the final round six shots off the lead, bests Bland with a birdie on the first playoff hole. The win moves Hovland to a career-best third in the Official World Golf Ranking.
“This is pretty wild. I didn't really think this was possible going in today. I knew I had to shoot a really low number but a lot of things had to go my way and I'm thankful that they did.”
July 17, 2022: Finishes T4 at The Open at St. Andrews despite a final-round 74. Hovland shared the 54-hole lead with Rory McIlroy heading into Sunday.
Dec. 4, 2022: Successfully defends his title in the Hero World Challenge at Albany, Bahamas, matching Tiger Woods as the only player with back-to-back wins in the event.
Tiger Woods and Viktor Hovland after Hovland's victory at the 2023 Hero World Challenge (Getty)
March 12, 2023: Finishes T3 at THE PLAYERS Championship, his second consecutive top-10 at the event. Shoots 69-71-70-68 and finishes at 10 under.
April 9, 2023: Holds a share of the lead after the first round of the Masters Tournament and goes on to finish T7 despite a final-round 74, his first career top-10 at the event.
May 21, 2023: Holds a share of the 36-hole lead at the PGA Championship and goes on to finish T2, his fourth career runner-up on TOUR and first in a major championship. He puts up a strong challenge against eventual champion Brooks Koepka, shooting a final-round 68 before falling two short.
June 4, 2023: Defeats Denny McCarthy in a playoff to win the Memorial Tournament presented by Workday, earning his fourth PGA TOUR title in his 91st start and his first TOUR win on the U.S. mainland. His 72-hole total of 281 is the highest by a PGA TOUR winner since Scottie Scheffler in the 2022 Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by Mastercard (283).
Viktor Hovland wins in a playoff at the Memorial
Aug. 20, 2023: Wins the BMW Championship by two strokes with a final-round 61, his sixth PGA TOUR title in his 97th PGA TOUR start. It is the first final-round score of 61 or better by a winner in FedExCup Playoffs history. He cards 10 birdies in the final round, his first career round on TOUR with 10 birdies or more, and shoots 28 over the final nine holes.
Viktor Hovland and his caddy Shay Knight in the final round of the TOUR Championship.
Aug. 27, 2023: Viktor Hovland claims the FedExCup after back-to-back Playoffs wins. He took a six-stroke lead heading into the final round and carded a 63 to win by five strokes over Xander Schauffele and become the third youngest FedExCup champion in history.