Viktor Hovland, the reigning Dubai Desert Classic champion, has admitted to being a “terrible planner”, but that has nothing to do with his struggle to schedule his title defense in Dubai next year.
The Norwegian said he was “still undecided” about making the trip to Dubai in a year when he has to incorporate the mandatory high events on the PGA Tour, then weave the added commitment with the DP World Tour into a year of Ryder Cup.
“You know, I haven’t made my decision there yet, but just looking at this schedule and with the amount of travel, it’s something that doesn’t seem too big. But we’ll see what happens,” said Hovland, the world No. 12, ahead of his title defense at the Hero World Challenge.
In January of this year, Hovland was unplaced on the back nine of the Majlis course on Sunday, before a birdie-eagle-birdie finish catapulted him into a play-off. He then beat Richard Bland with a birdie on the first extra hole.
The main reason for Hovland’s inability to commit to the $9 million Rolex Series event, scheduled for Jan. 26-29, is the PGA Tour’s new rule for high events: the new 13 $20 million tournaments that will be mandatory for the best. stars to attend. Players can only skip one of those high events, and combined with the four majors and three non-high events they have to play, it means a nearly 20-week commitment to the PGA Tour.
Hovland said he understands the new schedule is an attempt to make the PGA Tour a better product, but added, “With the schedule as tight as it is, it’s going to be difficult to play all of these events. I think in an odd year you can make this job, but hopefully the future of my career isn’t scheduled in such a way that I’m basically forced to play 23, 24, 25 events a year.
“Now, I could do it in a given year. But, being essentially forced to do it is not how I would like my career to go in the future.
“People who know me well know that I’m a terrible planner and that probably drives them crazy because I’m not really going to give them a straight answer about what I’m going to do tomorrow or next week. If I feel like I’m playing really well, I can go out and play four weeks in a row, no problem. But if I don’t feel like I’m on my A game, I don’t want to be in a golf tournament, I just want to go home and work on it until I feel like I’m in a good place again.
“That’s why freedom is so important to me.”
Hovland felt the schedule will also affect how he prepares for major championships.
“Some guys like to play a lot before a major, some guys don’t like to play a lot before a major and it’s very subjective,” he added.
“I took a week off before the majors and although I would like to play better in the majors, I think statistically it has shown that I tend to play better the first week coming back from a short break.
“That’s how I like to set up my schedule a bit. But obviously if you’re forced to play multiple times, you might not have the freedom to choose a schedule like that.”