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Viktor Hovland heads to Augusta National still searching for his first major championship. As he revealed on Tuesday, he’s also still searching for answers with his golf swing.

The Norwegian can surely now be regarded as one of the best players in today’s game who lacks one of golf’s big four titles, but if he’s to break that duck this week, he’ll need to overcome some golf swing battles.

Hovland has had a fairly slow start to 2024 by his standards, with his best finish of the calendar year coming at the Genesis Invitational, where he came home in a tie for 19th. That run comes after a surprising announcement that he had split from Joe Mayo, the man who had been credited with helping Hovland to much of his success over recent years.

The 26-year-old spoke about the lengths he has been going to to get his game in check for the year’s first major, detailing the seven-to-eight hour range sessions he endured at the tail end of last year.

This week, however, Hovland has been seeking the advice of swing coach Dana Dahlquist. As he explained, it’s in an effort to get to a point where things start to “click” in his swing.

“The problem’s been when, and I kind have been dealing with this recently, it’s like you’re trying to work on something, but it doesn’t necessarily feel exactly right, and then that’s when you kind of have to go back to the drawing board to keep figuring out until things start to click.

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“I feel like I’m in that situation now. Now I just have to keep practicing and get the reps in and we’ll see how long that takes.”

The Norwegian star explained that while he was playing great golf at the end of last year, he didn’t think his great play was sustainable, which has lead to him making adjustments.

“I feel like I’m on a good track right now and we’ll see where that takes us,” he said.

Viktor Hovland Masters swing
Viktor Hovland comes to Augusta National without a top ten on the PGA Tour this year. (Credit: Getty Images)

“Like, I was playing great golf last year, but it’s not like I’m trying to change my golf swing. It’s just sometimes the game of golf you try to do the same every day, but then things aren’t the same every day when you go to the golf course.

“I took a huge break after last year and when I came back, things were a little bit different and I had to kind of find my way back to where I think I’m going to play my best golf.

“Even at the end of the last year I still felt like, yeah, I was playing great, but I got a lot out of my game and it didn’t necessarily feel sustainable, but it’s not like I consciously went in and said, ‘Hey, we’re going to change everything up.’”

So, where does this leave Hovland heading into the first major of the year?

For a start, he admitted that he’s spent no time working on his short game in recent times, instead focussing on trying to find answers in his full swing.

A quick look at Hovland’s stats on the PGA Tour show that although he is driving the ball relatively well, his approach play and sharpness around the green isn’t quite where he would like it, as he ranks outside the top 100 in Strokes Gained: Approach and outside the top 180 in Strokes Gained: Around the Green.

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“I just have not spent any time on the short game at all kind of the last few months because I’ve been prioritising the long game stuff. When you’re not hitting your best, you’re putting more pressure on the short game out there in the tournaments and I’ve definitely short-sided myself quite a bit recently, so I’m sure the stats look a little bit worse than they feel like they should be.

“But when I get up there, I still feel like I know what I’m supposed to do and I’m still hitting some really nice shots around the greens. It’s just short-siding myself definitely pads the short game stats a little bit better and, yeah, just trust the technique and that it will work.

“Now I’ve still played some really, really good golf having to think about some stuff, so it’s not like I’m ruling myself out of a tournament. I’m just aware that, hey, we have some additional challenges that I haven’t had in awhile, but that’s how it goes.”

While tournament favourite Scottie Scheffler comes into this week not working on anything in his swing, the world No.6 cannot say the same.

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Lewis Fraser As bunkered’s Performance Editor, Lewis oversees the content that’s designed to make you a better player. From the latest gear to tuition, nutrition, strategy and more, he’s the man. A graduate of the University of Stirling, Lewis joined bunkered in 2021. Formerly a caddie at Castle Stuart Golf Links, he is a member of Bathgate Golf Club where he plays off four.

Performance Editor

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