Golf, from gulf to gulf

Viktor Hovland is the king of El Camaleon, and an LET tournament in Saudi Arabia raises some tricky questions


How many chameleon trophies is too many chameleon trophies to display in a living room?


In his patented cool, calm, and collected style, Viktor Hovland successfully defended his title at the World Wide Technology Championship at Mayakoba. Three shots back after two rounds, Hovland fired rounds of 62-67 to win by four. The 24-year-old now has four wins in his pro career and is up to No. 10 in the Official World Golf Ranking.

Hovland’s short game has typically been his Achilles’ heel, but his form around the greens has improved lately. At Mayakoba, Hovland finished fifth in scrambling, getting up-and-down after 14 of his 17 missed greens. He is already elite off the tee and on approach, and if he starts scrambling at a high level, Viktor Hovland could be No. 1 in the world before you know it.

In the news

Saudi Arabia, the topic of the month in the world of golf, hosted the Aramco Saudi Ladies International on the Ladies European Tour this past week. While the field wasn’t as loaded as the men’s version of the event, a few big names made the trip. Lydia Ko shot 63-65 on the weekend to win by five strokes, while Atthaya Thitikul (second), Carlota Ciganda (T-3), and Alison Lee (T-7) notched top 10s.

As Eamon Lynch explained for Golfweek, it’s not easy to know what to make of an LET event in Saudi Arabia. For many players in the field, the purse and appearance fees outweigh the murky morality of where the money comes from. They can look past the social issues, exemplified by the tournament’s strict dress code, because they might not have many other options for funding their careers. So the moral dilemma an LET player faces when deciding whether to take Saudi money has much higher stakes than it does for multimillionaires like Dustin Johnson and Jason Kokrak. Suffice it to say, though, that the conversations about how to deal with Saudi Arabia’s move into global professional golf are not limited to the men’s game.

The Must-Sees of Public Golf Architecture in America

McVeigh’s Gauntlet at Silvies Valley Ranch (Seneca, Oregon)


The most interesting short courses push the boundaries of golf architecture. Some explore sites too extreme to accommodate par 4s and 5s; others experiment with concepts that would seem gimmicky elsewhere. At their best, short courses open golfers’ minds to how fun unconventional design can be. That’s exactly what McVeigh’s Gauntlet does for guests at Silvies Valley Ranch. Its seven holes, designed with a sense of humor by Dan Hixson, traverse the single most severe piece of land I’ve ever seen used for golf. The 1st plays straight up a bluff, the 2nd vaults over a chasm, and the terrain just gets wilder from there. It’s a lark, but it’s also a relentless test of iron play. For golfers of lesser ability, the Gauntlet may work better as a hike (the views are sensational) than as a golf experience. Either way, if you’re at Silvies, don’t skip it.

Insider tip: If McVeigh’s Gauntlet whets your appetite for the unorthodox, stop by Bear Valley Meadows in nearby Seneca, Oregon, on your way out of town. It’s a true pasture golf course, complete with an honor box. -Garrett Morrison

Photo credit: Garrett Morrison


It was a good weekend for the game’s top male and female amateurs: Japan’s Keita Nakajima held on to win the Asia-Pacific Amatuer in a playoff, and Rose Zhang won for the fifth time in her past six amateur events at the Spirit International.

Thomas Pieters won for the first time in two years at the European Tour’s Portugal Masters.

After his victory at the Timber Tech Championship, Steven Alker has more career earnings in his first nine senior-tour events than he did in 304 PGA Tour starts.

Final Stage of Korn Ferry Tour Q-School will finish up on Monday, weather permitting.

Quick Hooks

Carlos Ortiz birdied six of his final seven holes at Mayakoba to vault into solo second. Next week, he’ll defend his title at the Hewlett Packard Enterprise Houston Open.

A double bogey on the 72nd hole soured Talor Gooch’s week at El Camaleon, but he still came away with a T-11. It was his fourth straight finish of T-11 or better, moving him to No. 51 in the OWGR. The top 50 at the end of 2021 earn invitations to the Masters.

Stephanie Kyriacou (T-9 in Saudi Arabia) needs to be on every golf fan’s radar. The 20-year-old Australian won on the Ladies European Tour this summer and hasn’t missed a cut in her last 19 worldwide starts.

The Latest from The Fried Egg

The Shotgun Start – Andy and Brendan talk about where Viktor Hovland falls on the Rahm-Morikawa scale, Keita Nakajima’s amateur exploits, and Steven Alker’s impressive milking of the senior-tour cash cow. Listen on iTunes, Stitcher, and Spotify.

Pro Shop

While a trip to Mexico would be a great present, the Photography Prints section has some more modestly priced options for the golfer in your life. Available in both paper and metal finishes, these prints make great holiday gifts. Shop today!

Photo credit: Andy Johnson