Padraig Harrington eager to run rule over Ryder Cup hope Viktor Hovland

Padraig Harrington eager to run rule over Ryder Cup hope Viktor Hovland

Viktor Hovland is 22, has been a pro for four months, is already a full PGA Tour member having shot a score in the 60s in each of his past 17 rounds, hails from Norway and has just made himself eligible for next year’s Ryder Cup. Little wonder, therefore, that Europe captain Padraig Harrington is excited to play with him for the first time on Thursday.
The pairing is no coincidence. Harrington signified his desire to be drawn with Hovland somewhere down the line and, at the first time of asking, the BMW PGA Championship organisers have obliged. Nor is it a quirk of fate that Hovland’s European Tour bow is the first counting event in the qualifying race for the match at Whistling Straits.
“From my perspective, there’s not many guys in the game of golf – well, there’s more and more now – that I actually say that I’m keen to go out and watch his game,” ­Harrington said. “Viktor really does look like a fine player – his play has been phenomenal. I’ve met him and he has a good attitude.
“He feels he belongs, which is the biggest key to coming on Tour. If rookies look like they are caught in the headlights, they disappear quickly, whereas Viktor really does look like he’s here to play golf.”
Hovland has made it known that he intends to do everything he can to make that plane to Wisconsin. 
“It would mean everything to be part of the team,” Hovland said. “Even though professional golf is really cool, I loved college golf and being part of a winning team and I still think about the times we had. There’s nothing better. I think it’s almost the pinnacle of golf. To have Suzann Petersen from Norway making Europe’s clinching putt at the Solheim Cup on Sunday was pretty cool and that gives me more inspiration.”

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