September 14, 2023
Virginia Water, Surrey, England
Wentworth Golf Club
Q. Opening round 69 here at the BMW PGA. How did you find it out there?
VIKTOR HOVLAND: It was a little bit more difficult compared to other years that I've played here. The rough is a little bit thicker and fairways are firm. Greens are a little bit firmer as well. Didn't help that I struggled a little bit off the tee and I hit some bad shots.
So I was certainly scrambling, I'd say the first 12 holes, and then after that I started hit more fairways and started hitting the ball better and had a nice finish.
Q. Playing with Ludvig and Rory out there, is it tough for you guys to keep your mind on this week, knowing what's around the corner?
VIKTOR HOVLAND: Yeah, obviously this week is a big event, and very historic event, and we all want to do well here.
But I think especially after the trip we had to Rome and got to spend some time together, see the course, I think we are all a little bit in The Ryder Cup mindset. So it is a little bit weird to have to have two thoughts going at the same time.
Q. What's the verdict after that opening round?
VIKTOR HOVLAND: Happy with the score. I didn't play very good today. I started hitting it a little bit better towards the end there but a lot of bad shots today.
Q. Just obviously The Ryder Cup vibe, we can see it in the pairings as well. Do you sense it from the crowd as well just there is that sense of excitement of what's to come over and above what is a huge week as well?
VIKTOR HOVLAND: Yeah, it's really cool to have all 12 guys in the field. Obviously got to play with Ludvig and Rory. That was great fun. Ludvig was certainly on a heater mid-round and the crowd was loving it.
Hopefully we can make a few more birdies and less mistakes to get the crowds going but just a great atmosphere here.
Q. How important is it for Ludvig to be playing in such a big group, and with the big galleries with Rome around the corner?
VIKTOR HOVLAND: I think it's a good experience for him. The way he's played the last couple months, he has not been a pro very long but he certainly doesn't look scared of the moment.
So I think it's just a great experience for him but I don't think -- I think he's ready regardless.
Q. As a final thought, how important are the next three days for you in the wider context of things?
VIKTOR HOVLAND: Yeah, I mean, I'm trying to just focus on this tournament, just isolating this tournament. This is an historic event. Had a chance last year and was pretty disappointed how I played in the last round. So hopefully this year, I can be up there and have a chance and get the job done because this is a really cool place to come and play.
Q. As you can tell, we are struggling to keep our minds just on this week.
VIKTOR HOVLAND: I don't blame you.
Q. Is it easy or otherwise for you guys?
VIKTOR HOVLAND: I think we are all kind of thinking about the next couple weeks. We certainly want to play well for this week but we want to make sure that our game is in good shape so that when we get into The Ryder Cup, we can just kind of focus on just playing golf instead of working on stuff. That's not the right time to do it.
Certainly, trying to have two thoughts at the same time.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports