Viktor Hovland believes he should be considered the world’s best player

Viktor Hovland believes he should be considered the world’s best player
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According to the Official World Golf Ranking, Scottie Scheffler is the world’s best player and Viktor Hovland is the fourth.

However, after a scorching hot finish to his year, Hovland feels he’s atop that list.

“The way I’ve played the last couple months, I would say I believe I am,” Hovland said on this week’s episode of The Smylie Show.

But the 26-year-old Norwegian admits that the three players in front of him in the OWGR are also deserving of the world No. 1 crown.

“At the same time, what Scottie did, what Jon Rahm (No. 2) did, and how consistent (No. 3) Rory [McIlroy] has played this year, I think any of us could be the best player in the world on any given week,” Hovland said. “How much does that matter? We’re all really, really good when we play our best.”

Hovland, the 2018 U.S. Amateur champion, has long been considered one of the game’s top rising stars. This year, he fulfilled his lofty expectations by winning three times on Tour and finishing the season by shooting a final-round 61 to win the BMW Championship before capturing the season-long FedExCup title a week later.

The former Oklahoma State Cowboy found success in his first few years on Tour, however, his short game held him back from being among the world’s best players. In 2022, he was one of the Tour’s worst scramblers, ranking 191st out of 193 players.

Hovland won the Tour Championship by five shots at East Lake.

But Hovland spent ample time working on his short game and became an average scrambler on Tour this year. He also drastically improved his bunker play, which was vital in helping win the Memorial Tournament at Muirfield Village, one of the Tour’s marquee events, in June.

“Honestly the bunker stuff was the biggest hallelujah experience I’ve had,” he said. “I used to take so much sand in the bunker. I just remember, if I played Memorial — that I won at this year — I just had no chance. Honestly, I thought it was a stupid course for me to play. Because it is so hard to hit fairways and it is so hard to hit greens, I can stripe it and still only hit 11 or 12 greens out there. Those bunkers, you’re always going to be on a downslope and hitting downhill. If you can’t catch the ball cleanly out of the bunkers, I’m not even stopping a ball on the green when I miss the green.”

That win was the first step in Hovland taking a monumental leap in his career. And now that he’s found some of the success many envisioned he would one day have, Hovland is looking forward to what lies ahead — and maybe that includes nabbing the top spot in the world ranking.

“I’m very optimistic about next year and the coming years if I can obviously maintain what I’ve done,” he said. “But at the same time, keep improving as I have done every single year. I’m super pumped. We’ll see how it ends up. The other guys are playing some damn good golf as well.”

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