August 19, 2021
Jersey City, New Jersey, USA
Liberty National Golf Club
Q. Viktor, just talk about your round, just a recap?
VIKTOR HOVLAND: Yeah, it was pretty solid, especially off the tee. I hit a lot of fairways, which out here is important if you want to get close to the pins.
Hit a lot of really nice iron shots. Couple not so good ones, but I was able to hit some good short game shots and make a couple putts.
So it was good day overall.
Q. What was the best recovery around the green for you today?
VIKTOR HOVLAND: I pulled a shot on No. 5 that looked like it was going to go in the water, but since I got a flier, it went over the water on the left side by kind of the trees, by the bridge, and it was right on the red line and my backswing was kind of up against a tree, so I had to take a very slow backswing.
I hit a flop shot that hit the side of the slope on the green and rolled to maybe four feet. Went from looking like having to fight for a bogey to making a par, so that was big for momentum.
Q. Is that a part of your game that really keeps getting better and better? How would you describe the progress you made there?
VIKTOR HOVLAND: Yeah, I feel my technique has gotten a lot better, and in practice it's way better than it is in tournaments.
I think for me it's just kind of -- I have some scar tissue in there, and just trusting kind of what I'm doing now. You know, I have a tendency of getting a little tentative on the chips out there, so I'll hit good chips but they're just eight, ten feet short because I just don't hit it; whereas I feel like as soon as I get more of that confidence I can hit it harder to create more spin just because I know I'm going to clip it the way I want to.
Q. Is that Jeff you work with on that or someone else?
VIKTOR HOVLAND: Yeah, Jeff.
Q. Okay. How old were you when you learned to speak English out of curiosity?
VIKTOR HOVLAND: I guess we started in first grade, so six, seven years old we started learning a couple words.
Q. Curious about the Ryder Cup. From here we are like, oh, yeah, Viktor is going tom play on the Ryder Cup. Do you feel like you have added pressure? You're literally the first person from your country who will have done that. Does that add something?
VIKTOR HOVLAND: Yeah, I mean, that's really cool, especially coming off the Olympics, just being a part of that. I felt like that kind of added some patriotism in just the way I go about playing golf over here. Representing my country, which is cool, but playing golf is uncharted territory for Norwegians, so...
Obviously it's cool being the first Norwegian to play in it, but, yeah, our history is not very long in Norway.
Q. Growing up did you have a favorite Norwegian athlete? I know Bjorn Dahlie, a couple.
VIKTOR HOVLAND: Yeah, I used to watch a lot of biathlons, Ole Einar Bjorndalen. He was a stud. And, I mean, we had multiple cross country skiers and downhill skiers, so I used to watch that a lot.
But I grew up mainly watching golf, so Henrik Bjornstad was the only Norwegian TOUR play that played before me and Kris Ventura, so looked up to him when I was younger.
Q. What's your earliest experience of watching the Ryder Cup, and get a little color of what time of day and how late you stayed up?
VIKTOR HOVLAND: The first one I actually watched and sat there and rooted for, it's not like that long ago. I mean, Medina was kind of the first one that I sat and watched multiple days and multiple nights. It would've been nighttime and I wouldn't have been that old, and I remember watching on the couch with my dad and going nuts in this apartment complex. I'm sure the neighbors above and below us were not too happy with us yelling.
Yeah, that was a cool moment.
Q. That round back home that you played where everyone followed you, I think you know you have a lot of support, but did that surprise you, the amount of interest and passion people have for your golf?
VIKTOR HOVLAND: Yeah, that was pretty wild. I probably shouldn't have had my buddies put my name on the online kind of portal that you put your names on to register for events or rounds, but I didn't think too much of it.
When we show up there are 200, 300 people there. That was pretty nuts. I didn't think that was going to be the case.
Q. Do you worry about the reaction at Stillwater if you beat the U.S. team too badly?
VIKTOR HOVLAND: Let's -- yeah, let's worry about that when that happens.
Q. How big did the gallery get that day?
VIKTOR HOVLAND: It was probably the biggest on the first hole actually, and then probably say most of it went out for a couple holes and then for the rest of the round I watched -- the whole round was probably just over 100 people.
But people flying in from half the -- the other side of country and driving eight hours. It was pretty wild.
Q. Would you have done that to watch anyone play golf growing up?
VIKTOR HOVLAND: No. (Laughter.)
VIKTOR HOVLAND: That's a little different. That's a little different.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports