FedEx Cup Honeymoon
Before Viktor Hovland gets into Ryder Cup prep mode, one more FedEx Cup celebration awaits
Kevin C. Cox
The post-victory obligations for the winner of the Tour Championship are so extensive that Viktor Hovland ate his dinner on the run Sunday night. “Are you eating Chipotle?” Hovland’s caddie, Shay Knight, is seen asking in a PGA Tour video showing Hovland eating a cup of Chipotle guac and chips on the practice putting green at East Lake
By the time his to-do list was complete at East Lake, it was after 10 p.m. As such, the celebrations with Hovland and his team in the player lounge within East Lake’s clubhouse were rather mild.
“We were all waiting upstairs in the locker room and the crew was drinking some champagne, beers and some bourbon, but everyone was extremely exhausted after the three weeks on the road,” said Knight, a veteran caddie from Australia. The PGA Tour’s playoffs series consists of three consecutive events. Hovland won the second of those, the BMW in Chicago, and the Tour Championship finale.
Hovland’s first season-long title deserves a more thorough celebration, so the team will rendezvous this Friday night in Edmond, Okla., an hour from the former Oklahoma State star’s residence at Stillwater.
“We’ll have a nice dinner and some drinks to celebrate. It’s going to be a good time,” Knight said. Not only will the Norwegian and his support staff toast the $18 million FedEx Cup victory bonus, but a season in which he rose to another level. The World No. 4 won three times, including a first victory on U.S. soil at the Memorial Tournament (following earlier victories in Mexico and Puerto Rico), as well as two FedEx Cup playoffs events. On the majors stage, the 25-year-old registered a top-10 at the Masters and a career-best T-2 at the PGA Championship.
“Winning a major would have been icing on cake, but the Tour Championship is such a monumental accomplishment. It shows he had an incredibly consistent season and then played out of his mind at the end when it counts,” said Knight, noting as well the fact Hovland didn’t miss a cut all season and also was second at the Players Championship.
While claiming the PGA Tour’s season finale, there’s still plenty of golf remaining in 2023 for Hovland. Next week, Luke Donald will name the six captain’s picks for the European Ryder Cup team to go with the six automatic qualifiers that will be locked up this weekend (Hovland has his wrapped up off the World Points List). After that, Hovland, Knight and his team will head to Rome to play a Sept. 11 practice round with the European Ryder Cup team at host course, Marco Simone. After a dinner and bonding session that night, the Europeans then will head to England the following day for the DP World Tour’s flagship event, the BMW PGA at Wentworth.
“That Monday in Rome will be about getting a feel for the thickness of the rough, and maybe some talk of pairings,” Knight said. “It’s about together, bonding over dinner. The Europeans do it so well; the feeling we saw for Viktor’s first Ryder Cup [2021 at Whistling Straits] is an energy unlike anything I’ve ever seen in my life. It’s incredible.”
Hovland then has six weeks off between the Ryder Cup and the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai in November—where he’ll attempt to claim another season-long title in 2023.