Standout amateur star Viktor Hovland has signed an equipment deal with Ping ahead of his first event as professional at TPC River Highlands this week
Viktor Hovland is a name the world of golf is getting to know quite well: He was the most recent World No.1 amateur, claimed the U.S Amateur last year, and went toe to toe with playing partner Brooks Koepka in the first round of the U.S Open on his way to a 12th place finish and low amateur honours.
It was his last outing as an amateur, and it was a memorable one. Hovland, 21, set the lowest 72-hole score (280) by an amateur in the tournament's history, one that was previously held by none other than 18-time major champion Jack Nicklaus. He also led the field in fairways hit and SG: Off the tee, and was ranked 3rd for greens in regulation.
If that wasn't enough, Hovland cemented his name in the history books further as he became the first player in history to finish as the low amateur in both Masters and the U.S Open in the same year.
This week, Hovland is not only making his debut in his first event as a professional at the Travelers Championship, but also as a PING staff player. Details, including the length of the agreement and financial details, have not been disclosed.
As part of a multi-year agreement, Hovland will play a minimum of 11 clubs, including a driver and putter. His headwear will display Ping and he’ll carry a Ping Tour staff bag.
For Ping, it seems a perfect fit: Hovland, who is from Norway, have roots that are traced to Bergen, which was the birthplace of Ping founder Karsten Solheim. Hovland’s resumé includes a win at the 2014 Norwegian amateur championships, and he’s been building his credentials ever since.
“Viktor’s connection to Norway makes the relationship even more special. The country has been fully behind him since he burst onto the scene as a young junior, and he’s continued to impress on so many levels,” said John K. Solheim, PING President and Karsten’s grandson.
“He’s polite, humble and always smiling. His talent is unbelievable and he’s already amassed a great career. His performance at Pebble Beach last week was a spectacular way to end his amateur career. We’re excited to watch his professional journey unfold. I know my grandfather would be honored to have a Norwegian golfer of Viktor’s character and talent representing PING.”
“Joining the PING staff is really exciting for me as I’ve always had tremendous respect for the company and what it represents,” said Hovland.
“The technology behind the equipment and the service they provide allows me to focus on getting better and not worrying about my equipment. The Norwegian connection is also really cool. Karsten Solheim and his family have done so much for the game of golf. Their support of Oklahoma State’s team and their role in developing Karsten Creek are just a couple of examples of the wonderful things they do for golf. I’m honored to be part of their golfing family and look forward to working with them as I begin my professional career.”
Why Hovland has signed with Ping
Hovland’s relationship with Ping began three years ago at Karsten Creek Golf Club, Oklahoma State’s home course named in honor of Karsten Solheim, whose family was a major contributor to the development of the facility in 1994. Oklahoma State is part of Pings College Golf Program, which has been supporting schools around the country since the mid-1970s.
“We’ve been impressed with Viktor since we first met him when he was a freshman at Oklahoma State,” said Chance Cozby, Vice President of Sports Development.
“During his time in Stillwater, he played Ping equipment at various times and we continued to keep in touch with him through our regular visits to the school. When it became clear he was going to turn professional this summer, we identified him as someone who would be a perfect fit for our staff. We had a very productive testing session with him at Karsten Creek this spring, which ultimately led to where we stand today. We are extremely pleased Viktor is joining the Ping staff.”
At the U.S. Open, Hovland switched to PING’s new G410 LST driver and saw tremendous results – leading the field in Strokes Gained: Off the Tee by nearly two full shots.
“The G410 LST driver is a great fit for my game,” Hovland added. “I don’t usually make significant changes to my equipment before such a big tournament, but after testing it during the week with the Ping tour reps, it was clear the G410 LST driver was the best choice for me. It looks really good and I know I’m going to hit the center of the face. It flies in the window I like and the spin is right for my game. I can swing with confidence off the tee knowing the results will be long and straight.”
Viktor Hovland: WITB
His current set-up, confirmed through PGA Tour, although this is likely to change
Ping G410 LST (draw setting, 9 degrees), Project X HZRDUS 6.5-flex 62 grams shaft
Ping G410 LST (14.5 degrees), Project X HZRDUS Smoke 6.5TX 80 grams shaft
Callaway X-Forged UT (21 degrees), Graphite Design Tour AD-DI 85X hybrid shaft
Ping iBlade (4-6 iron), Ping i210 (7-PW), KBS Tour-V 120X shafts
TaylorMade Tour Preferred EF Spin Groove (50, 56 ATV and 60 ATV)
Shafts: KBS 610 Wedge 115 (50 and 56 degrees), KBS Tour-V 130 (60 degree wedge)
TaylorMade TP Collection Mullen 2