The U.S. Open is a notorious gauntlet of obstacles and pain. That applies in the bunkers as well.
World No. 13 Viktor Hovland was forced to withdraw from the tournament on Friday when a warm-up bunker shot blew some sand into his left eye ahead of the second round. After playing 10 holes that left him 6-over for the round, he made the decision to withdraw.
In an Instagram post after the round, Hovland blamed the "unique San Diego sand" of Torrey Pines for lingering in his eye longer than usual. He said he had "greatly diminished eyesight" in the affected eye and said things took a turn for the worse after his ninth hole:
The full Instagram caption:
First time for everything.. Hit a bunker shot in my warm up today and caught some sand in my left eye. Typically, when faced with such an unfortunate circumstance, the remedial action is to blink a few times for the sand to clear. However, the unique San Diego sand decided to linger. Much like the stubborn belly fat we all possess even after countless of hours of cardio. After coming to terms with reality, my tee time time was quickly approaching. With a greatly diminished eyesight in the oculus sinister (left eye), the plan of attack was to try not to implode on the first few holes in order to have a chance to make the cut when eye sight had been regained. After miraculously remaining unscathed for the first four holes, I sensed some improvement. I had just enough hope to keep going. A few more bogeys inevitably ensued and on hole 18 (my 9th hole), the slowly improving vision took a turn for the worse. We were back to where we started. The inkling of hope that was once present had sought refuge elsewhere. To withdraw, or not to withdraw. That was the question.
All jokes aside, hate to withdraw but will be back soon. Thanks for the messages!
Hovland shot 3-over in the first round and was 9-over for the tournament, so making the cut was highly unlikely at the time of his sand mishap (the cut line ended up being 4-over).
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