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Hovland makes Ryder Cup debut, earns praise from teammates

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Viktor Hovland

Former Oklahoma State golfer Viktor Hovland added another accomplishment to his young career over the weekend, playing in his first Ryder Cup.

Hovland, already a winner on both the PGA and European tours, became the first Norwegian player to represent Europe in the prestigious Ryder Cup when he teed off Friday.

Despite his rookie status, in the days preceding the tournament he became a popular choice for the European players as they lobbied European captain Pádraig Harrington for their preferred playing partners. Fellow European team player Rory McIlroy said as much before the weekend.

“I think there’s a few guys lining up to have the chance to play with him in the team format,” McIlroy said.

Harrington eventually ended up pairing him with Paul Casey, Tommy Fleetwood, Bernd Wiesberger, and then Fleetwood again in the four sessions Friday and Saturday.

His playing partners were nothing but complimentary of his play and him as a person, with Casey calling Hovland “an absolute stud”. Fleetwood also sung his praises after their match Friday afternoon.

“Viktor played great… I had such a beautiful time with Viktor out on the golf course and it was just a really good match,” Fleetwood said.

The feeling was mutual, with Hovland expressing his enjoyment later that day regarding playing with Fleetwood.

“I don’t think it’s possible to have a more fun time, and with Tommy today, we were just a great team,” Hovland said.

Unfortunately for him and his teammates, the result probably wasn’t what they were hoping for, with the European team getting trounced 19-9 by the USA team.

Hovland himself wasn’t able to contribute a full win in his first year, finishing with three losses and two ties in tough matches against major champions like Justin Thomas and Colin Morikawa.

Despite the overall loss, the ever-positive Norwegian enjoyed the experience at the Ryder Cup, likely only the first of many.

“This week has been unreal, just how much we all care for each other and just the atmosphere…these guys were awesome, and I look forward to being on another team with them,” Hovland said.