US Open: Viktor Hovland gets sand in his eye and has to withdraw during second round
By Keith Jackson
Last Updated: 19/06/21 8:27am
Viktor Hovland was forced to withdraw from the US Open midway through his second round due to a problem with his eye.
Hovland had problems before teeing off on Friday at Torrey Pines when sand lodged in his eye as he went through his warm-up routine in the short-game practice area.
The exciting young Norwegian was unable to alleviate the issue which clearly affected his focus as he bogeyed four of his first six holes after starting at the 10th, and he then double-bogeyed the first to slump to nine over par for the tournament.
The world No 13 consulted a doctor after playing only two holes and requested medical assistance again as he left the first green, when he decided to hand in his card before heading off to get treatment, and the USGA soon confirmed that he would play no further part.
A statement from tournament officials read: "Viktor Hovland has withdrawn from the 2021 US Open Championship on Friday, June 18, because of an eye injury.
"Hovland, the 2018 US Amateur champion who was fully exempt and competing in his third US Open, had completed 10 holes of the second round after carding a three-over 74 in Thursday's first round. He started at the 10th hole at 1:25 p.m. PDT and was grouped with Matt Fitzpatrick, of England, and Tyrrell Hatton, of England."
Hovland posted an image on his Instagram account with his eye bandaged up, where he said: "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 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 eyesight 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!"
The Ryder Cup prospect was among the pre-tournament favourites after a consistent season, posting six top-10 finishes in his 12 starts including back-to-back podium finishes at the Valspar Championship and the Wells Fargo Championship last month.
Hovland is listed in the field for next week's BMW International Open in Munich along with Sergio Garcia and early second-round US Open leader Richard Bland.