Viktor Hovland’s mom, though on the other side of the world, likely saved him from a disqualification at TPC Sawgrass on Thursday.
Hovland was assessed a two-stroke penalty in the opening round of The Players Championship after he accidentally putted his ball from the wrong spot on No. 15. He signed for a 2-under 70 after his round, and was actually on his way home from the course when he got a call.
It was his mom, Galina, who had watched his round on TV back home in Norway.
During the brief conversation, Galina asked her son if he was going to be penalized for what happened on the 15th hole.
“What do you mean?” Hovland asked his mom.
“Well, you didn’t put your mark back in the right place,” she answered.
While on No. 15, Hovland moved his ball mark to clear the putting path for Justin Thomas. When he went to replace the ball mark after Thomas’ putt, Hovland accidentally moved his mark in the wrong direction instead of back to its initial spot.
Though he signed an incorrect scorecard, Rule 3.3b3 allowed him to be retroactively penalized for unknowingly violating a rule — something that saved him from disqualification.
“He and his caddie reached out to our committee and and asked if we had any video of it, because he had no recollection of doing it,” rules official Gary Young said, via the PGA Tour.
“He had left the property. I sent him a clip of the video, and he’s very comfortable with the result, that he’s getting the penalty. He understands the rule. He didn’t know he did it.”
Hovland finished the day with an even-par 72, and posted a 2-over 74 on Friday — which put him outside of the cut line. Had he not been penalized, Hovland likely would have made it into the weekend.
Hey, even when they’re on another continent, mom’s are always right.
Lee Westwood leads the field after carding a 6-under 66.
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