You may have some ride-or-die golf buds, but it's highly unlikely that any of your crew has done anything quite like Viktor Hovland did for his old college mate on Monday.
Less than 24 hours after winning The Memorial and a mammoth $3.6 million paycheck, Hovland hoisted a golf bag on his shoulders and began caddying in a U.S. Open qualifier for Zach Bauchou, his college golf teammate at Oklahoma State. (Hovland, of course, has already qualified, given that he's the No. 5 player in the world and all.)
Now THAT is a teammate!
Not even 24 hours after winning @PGATOUR's @MemorialGolf, Viktor Hovland is back out on Golf's Longest Day caddieing for his former @OSUCowboyGolf roommate Zach Bauchou. pic.twitter.com/SBXgqCVeL6
— U.S. Open (USGA) (@usopengolf) June 5, 2023
Bauchou will be trying to survive golf's longest day, a marathon of drama, exultation and heartbreak as the final qualifiers attempt to get into the upcoming U.S. Open. (Literally anyone can play their way into the tournament, hence the name "Open," but it's not easy.) Bauchou will be playing 36 holes in Columbus, Ohio, conveniently enough for Hovland, who just won at nearby Muirfield Village on Sunday.
The USGA is holding 10 of its 13 qualifiers around the country on Monday, as 878 players will compete for just 45 remaining spots at next week's Open at Los Angeles Country Club. Also in the field in Columbus, for instance: David Lipsky, who was a 54-hole co-leader at The Memorial on Saturday. PGA Championship legend Michael Block will be attempting to play his way in, as will Block's son Dylan. The field of hopefuls even includes a middle-schooler, 13-year-old Jaden Soong.
At the Lakes Golf & Country Club, about 15 miles from Muirfield Village, Bauchou and Hovland will be fighting their way through a field that includes major winners Zach Johnson, Lucas Glover, Geoff Ogilvy and Stewart Cink. But if Hovland can supply Bauchou with a little Memorial mojo, things might just break the two Pokes' way. Hovland won on the first hole of a playoff, securing his first victory on U.S. soil and establishing himself as a formidable force in the U.S. Open ... as well as a wealthy one.
"My largest tournament win on the regular tour was the Masters in 1986, $144,000," Memorial host Jack Nicklaus said, and then joked to Hovland. "$3.6 million? You guys are way overpaid."
Maybe so. Probably so. But Hovland hasn't let all that money get in the way of loyalty to his friends.