Sat. Jun 22nd, 2024

PGA 2024: Viktor Hovland (68) returns to swing coach Joe Mayo to spark slumping game

By admin May24,2024

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Viktor Hovland has turned to an old source to resurrect his slumping game.

He confirmed Thursday that he is once again working with swing coach Joe Mayo.

Hovland split with Mayo late last year, a surprising turn of events after a season in which he became a FedExCup champion, Ryder Cup hero, major contender and arguably the best player in the world. Hovland has declined to discuss the reasons for the breakup, but cycling through swing coaches is nothing new for him – he has worked with more than a half-dozen instructors since turning pro, including three in the past few months alone (Grant Waite, Dana Dahlquist and, now, Mayo, again).

But Hovland recently reached a breaking point after failing to record a top-10 finish in seven events this season. After a missed cut at the Masters, he withdrew ahead of the RBC Heritage (a signature event with a $20 million purse) and called Mayo, asking if he’d take another look at his swing.

“He knows my swing really well,” Hovland said. “He’s really, really smart and just has a way of looking at my swing and knowing what it is right away. I felt like I got some really good answers, and I was able to apply some of the feels right away, and I saw improvement right away. It’s easy to keep going then.”

After consulting with Mayo, Hovland posted his best ball-striking stats of the year at Quail Hollow (where he tied for 24th) and then shut down the range the past few days at Valhalla, including on Wednesday, when he was working past 6 p.m., alone with caddie Shay Knight. Most of his focus was on his driver; always prolific off the tee, he’s been struggling recently with a high, push fade.

“I wouldn’t say I found something,” Hovland said. “But some of the feels that Joe told me, just from the last couple of days, I tried to exaggerate them a little bit. You do it in practice and it feels better, but then out on the course, you kind of revert back to some old stuff. It was just kind of reiterating the same stuff, and then just try to get on the other side because then the next day at least you’re getting closer.”

Thursday at the PGA Championship was another positive step, where Hovland gained strokes off the tee and shot a 3-under 68 in the opening round. It was already a marked improvement from his first major start of the year, when he shot 71-81 at the Masters while getting exposed in the high winds – a performance that led him, eventually, to his former coach.

“Where does confidence come from? It comes from results. And to play better and get the results I want, I have to make some technical changes,” Hovland said. “Now, it’s just a matter of how technical those changes need to be. But if you’re hitting it poorly, you’re not just going to figure it out by doing the same stuff. You have to change some stuff. I was trying to get back to what is the most natural for me to do instead of going down these other rabbit holes.”

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