Hero World Challenge 2021: Viktor Hovland Comes Back from 6 Strokes Down for Win

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured Columnist IVDecember 5, 2021

Viktor Hovland, of Norway, holds the championship trophy after the final round of the Hero World Challenge PGA Tour at the Albany Golf Club, in New Providence, Bahamas, Sunday, Dec. 5, 2021.(AP Photo/Fernando Llano)
AP Photo/Fernando Llano

Just call Viktor Hovland the comeback kid. 

Facing a six-stroke deficit heading into Sunday's final round at the Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas, Hovland shot a sparkling six-under 66 to finish 18 under for the tournament and best Scottie Scheffler (-17) by one stroke.


A wild day in The Bahamas ends in victory for Viktor Hovland. <a href="https://t.co/AJ42wo4iNw">pic.twitter.com/AJ42wo4iNw</a>

Scheffler himself shot a 66 on Sunday, while the leader after 54 holes, Collin Morikawa, holed a shocking 76, blowing a five-stroke advantage. 

Hovland all but won the tournament in a wild stretch between the 14th and 16th holes, notching back-to-back eagles and a birdie to take a commanding lead. 


His third eagle of the week at No. 14. 👀<br><br>Viktor Hovland holes it from the bunker. <a href="https://t.co/rPqCwwbMiH">pic.twitter.com/rPqCwwbMiH</a>


Another one. 🦅<br><br>Back-to-back eagles for Viktor Hovland.<br><br>He leads by 2. <a href="https://t.co/Ds3wBQMMsF">pic.twitter.com/Ds3wBQMMsF</a>

Bogeys on the 17th and 18th made things more interesting, as Scheffler posted birdies on each of the last four holes. But Hovland had done just enough to earn the victory. 

"I didn't think a win was going to be very plausible, but I know this golf course is tricky," Hovland said of his mindset entering the final round. "You can make a lot of birdies and you can make up a lot of ground, but it's very easy to make bogeys and doubles. I knew if I put a good score up there, you never know what's going to happen." 

Golf Digest @GolfDigest

"I didn't think a win was going to be very plausible... You never know what's going to happen."<br><br>Even Viktor Hovland wasn't expecting his six-shot comeback win at the Hero World Challenge. <a href="https://t.co/K8FhRZYDhX">pic.twitter.com/K8FhRZYDhX</a>

Indeed, Sunday's final round included more than a few bizarre, unpredictable moments. Hovland's comeback, and Morikawa's collapse, were hardly the biggest surprises. 

Perhaps nothing was more odd than Patrick Reed having to switch to a lefty swing not once, but twice, and somehow only dropping a single stroke.


Left-handed from the bushes and still saves par.<a href="https://twitter.com/PReedGolf?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@PReedGolf</a> is tied for the lead at the turn. <a href="https://t.co/CZMKTllktI">pic.twitter.com/CZMKTllktI</a>


Going lefty again. <a href="https://twitter.com/PReedGolf?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@PReedGolf</a> saves bogey from the bushes.<br><br>He's 1 back. <a href="https://t.co/XkpJj6UAO3">pic.twitter.com/XkpJj6UAO3</a>

And then there was Jordan Spieth and Henrik Stenson each being penalized two strokes for incorrectly hitting off the wrong tee on No. 9, after the tee locations were changed before the final round.


Jordan Spieth and Henrik Stenson were assessed a 2-shot penalty for playing from the wrong tee box in Sunday's final round. <a href="https://t.co/09iXHHNDhJ">pic.twitter.com/09iXHHNDhJ</a>

Sunday even included Tiger Woods taking a few shots off the tee as he continues to recover from injuries suffered in a February car accident. 


Sunday red. 🐅 <a href="https://t.co/FehCVHhzCX">pic.twitter.com/FehCVHhzCX</a>

Woods, who hosts the Hero World Challenge, did say earlier in the week that he wasn't expecting another comeback like the one he saw four years ago at this tournament, which led to wins at the 2018 Tour Championship, 2019 Masters and 2019 Zozo Championship.

"I don't see that type of trend going forward for me," he said, per the Golf Channel. "I won't have the opportunity to practice given the condition of my leg and build up. I just don't. I'll just have a different way of doing it and that's OK and I'm at peace with that, I've made the climb enough times."

Dylan Dethier of Golf.com did report that Woods was considering a comeback appearance at the PNC Championship with his son Charlie on Dec. 18-19, however. So a Woods return may be in the cards soon, even if it progresses more slowly than past comeback attempts.