Sand in an eye is often no more than a minor irritation, but for Viktor Hovland on Friday it was enough to prompt him to withdraw from the US Open and seek medical attention.
Hovland, a likely member of this year's European Ryder Cup team, posted a photo on social media later that revealed a bandage taped over his eye.
Earlier, the former US amateur champion from Norway tried to play through the issue at Torrey Pines, but decided it was a bridge too far after nine painful holes.
“First time for everything,” Hovland said on his Instagram page. “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.”
Hovland said he was hoping that time would be his friend and that if he could get through the first few holes without dropping too many shots the eye issue might resolve itself.
But it was not to be and he called it quits after nine holes.
“After coming to terms with reality, my tee time was quickly approaching,” he added. “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!”
Hovland carded a two-over-par 74 in the first round.