Viktor Hovland was fully aware of what was going on at the Masters as he neared the finish line of the tournament.
The 21-year-old was battling for the Silver Cup, awarded to the Amateur who finishes with the best score for the tournament. What happened next would define Hovland’s Masters experience.
The Cowboy’s top competition for the Cup, Alvaro Ortiz, made a mistake while trying to get back in the race, helping secure the silverware for Hovland. Hovland said he couldn’t comprehend how many people were watching him win the Cup during the tournament.
“Playing Augusta, that course is amazing,” Hovland said. “I didn’t quite fathom how many people were out there watching. So that was crazy. I played with seven major champions out there for the week. That’s pretty cool to see.”
Hovland wasn’t the only Cowboy to enjoy the junior's performance. Coach Alan Bratton was happy to be a part of Hovland’s journey at the Masters.
“I’ve been really fortunate over the last year, starting with the national championship, to see our guys do something special like that,” Bratton said. “Then two months later to be standing there while Viktor wins the U.S. Amateur at a historic venue, and then to watch him do what he did at Augusta, it is just a thrill and honor for me to be on the bag. It was great that he was able to just be himself there and perform.”
Hovland was surprised about his composure throughout the tournament, but he credited the Cowboys' National Championship run last summer for giving him composure for the Masters. Hovland said he would have a good idea about what was happening on the other courses by the crowd’s reactions.
“Yeah, it’s pretty cool,” Hovland said. “If it’s a big roar, it’s either a hole-in-one or a Tiger Woods making a Birdie. It’s pretty cool. It gives you chills down your spine.”
By winning the Silver Cup, Hovland was sent to the cabin to be interviewed with the winner of the Masters. It was there that Hovland watched Tiger Woods capture his first Masters victory since 2005.
“They kind of had us sitting on the chairs all beforehand,” Hovland said. “Just kind of making sure everything was ready. And then he kind of just quickly came in and tapped my back and said ‘Hey, Awesome play. Congrats.’ and I didn’t really know what to say. I was sitting down, kind of just looking up. That was definitely the most nervous that I was the whole week.”
Hovland said his experience at the masters will have an impact on what he plans to do after the season ends. He said he is impressed with where he is at in comparison to other professionals after his performance at the Masters.
“I’ve played with a lot of really good players,” Hovland said. “And I saw that my game wasn’t that far from them. Obviously, there’s things that I need to improve, but it’s cool to see that I can play my every-day game and still hang with some of the best players in the world.”