Viktor Hovland still making changes at Augusta National after last year’s swing reached ‘the pinnacle’

Viktor Hovland isn’t ruling himself out at the 88th Masters Tournament. But he’s honest about the additional challenges he faces as he works through swing changes.

Hovland, 26, has never missed at cut at Augusta National and has enjoyed an upward trend in his performances, cracking the top 10 for the first time last year with a share of seventh.

But while the affable Norweigian won three times last season, Hovland said winning the FedExCup title and the $18 million bonus came as a bit of surprise given how many hours he spent grinding on the range at the Scottish Open and British Open last season.

“I was always trying to learn, but at the same time, I just felt like I got to basically the pinnacle of what my golf swing was able to do last year,” he said during a pre-tournament press conference, “and just when I keep looking back at my swings from 2020, 2021, I just really had more control of the golf ball, in my opinion.”

Hovland said he went searching for other opinions on his golf swing because he felt like he got everything he could out his game last summer and didn’t believe that level of golf was sustainable. After an extended break during the offseason, Hovland said his game wasn’t the same when he returned to the range.

So far, Hovland said, the changes he’s working on haven’t clicked, which is why recent results have been lacking. In 2024, Hovland has only one finish in the top 20 at The Genesis Invitational, where he took a share of 19th.

Hovland worked with former PGA Tour winner Grant Waite earlier in the season and was seen with Dana Dahlquist earlier in the week at Augusta. With so much focus on his long game, Hovland said there hasn’t been any time left to work around the greens, an area where he had vastly improved as a pro.

Though he has yet to win one, Hovland has been a force at the majors over the past year. He leads the way with the best cumulative score to par at the last five majors at 30 under alongside Rory McIlroy. Scottie Scheffler is next at 27 under.

In addition to his top 10 at the Masters last year, he took a share of second at the PGA Championship in 2024 and tied for fourth at the British Open in 2022.

As a kid, Hovland liked to dive into YouTube videos to learn more about the why. While he’s not a student of other people’s golf swings, he does like to get technical about his own in terms of the biomechanics and forces and torques.

The goal though, of course, isn’t to have all those swing thoughts swirling around.

“Your confidence level is going to be a little bit different than when you don’t have any conscious thoughts,” he said. “That’s obviously the end goal when you play this game, is that you show up and you go through your routine and there’s almost, like, a blackout. You just react to what you’re doing, and you see the shots, and the ball flight translates into what you’re seeing. That’s the goal. When you’re not doing that, you have to obviously work to get there.”

Story originally appeared on GolfWeek