Viktor Hovland is a rising star on the PGA Tour, and was a popular pick to break through at this week’s U.S. Open at Torrey Pines.
Instead, he’s heading home on Friday, though it wasn’t due to a missed cut. Rather it was after a withdrawal, due to the kind of freak injury that we don’t see very often: sand in his eye.
Obviously that wasn’t an instant WD, but it lingered and continued to irritate his eye to the point that he couldn’t continue. (Golf, as with most sports, is tough to play with one eye closed.)
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His caption is incredible, too, if you can’t read it for some reason:
First time for everything.. 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 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 eye sight 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!
— deepfriedegg (@deep_fried_egg) June 18, 2021
The broadcast touched on it briefly:
— Carson Cunningham (@KOCOCarson) June 18, 2021
Obviously this is a weird way to go out of a tournament, but it’s actually kind of interesting that it doesn’t happen more often. Every week we see shots of players hitting out of a bunker and spinning around to avoid sand being blown back in their faces.