Tyrrell Hatton: Rank and file to highly ranked

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Tyrrell Hatton: Rank and file to highly ranked

PGA Tour

Tyrrell Hatton: Rank and file to highly ranked

Editor’s note: This story first appeared in the March 2017 issue of Golfweek Magazine.

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Every once in a while, a new face sneaks past the guards at golf’s gate and plays so consistently well that folks have to circle him in the program. Ladies and gents, we give you Tyrrell Hatton, a gritty 25-year-old Englishman who keeps elbowing his way to the top of our Sunday evening golf scores.

“It’s amazing where he’s come from,” says Danny Wardrop, director of golf for the Georgia Golf Company, Hatton’s British management firm. “It’s a great ride. Every week he seems to be top 10. Every week.”

Right on cue, there’s Hatton, finishing 10th at WGC-Mexico. A week earlier he contended at Honda and finished T-4. Since the start of 2016, Hatton has piled up 13 top-10 finishes from Dubai to Mexico City. And you’ll be seeing plenty of Hatton in the weeks ahead. He traded the steely gray skies of Marlow, in County Buckinghamshire, for the radiant sunshine of Orlando and three months in the U.S.

Five years ago Hatton also made Orlando a stop as a fledgling pro bankrolled by members of his English club (Harleyford) with three roommates trying to scratch his way on the Hooters mini-tour. Today he is entrenched inside the top 20 of the Official World Golf Ranking – just behind Bubba, just ahead of Phil. With his primo status comes great spoils: starts at the WGC-Match Play, Masters, Players and U.S. Open. Hatton’s goal: 319 FedEx Cup points, which would deliver temporary PGA Tour membership.

In eight months, Hatton has covered considerable ground. He turned up at July’s Scottish Open at Castle Stuart ranked 98th in the world, got in some quality swing work with his dad, Jeff – his coach since Tyrrell was 11 – and placed second. That got him into Troon, where he tied for fifth at the British Open. Two weeks later, yet another solid major (PGA Championship, T-10). In October he broke through for his first European Tour victory, winning the Dunhill Links. One year after stating that he didn’t much care for the Old Course at St. Andrews, he fired 62 there, tying the competitive record.

Some ride.

“It’s been a nice sort of eight months for me,” Hatton said, “and it’s nice to climb up the world rankings. Hopefully I can climb even higher.”

Hatton drives it straight, and when his irons are off, his exquisite short game bails him out. He has a knack for making those 6-foot, par-saving putts that keep momentum on his side, and he plays with fire. On the course, his theatrics can spike like the Dow Jones.

“He’s a bit of a gunslinger, very aggressive,” Wardrop said. “He’s an emotional player. Is that good? Is it bad? To me, it’s good. He’s getting results.”

Hatton’s dad operates Jeff Hatton Golf out of Tyrrell’s grandmother’s garage in Marlow. Jeff, a 7-handicap, is an instructor and master clubfitter. His homemade golf studio features a mat and a simulator. Tyrrell prefers playing to practicing, but on rainy days you’ll find him there.

“If I’m struggling a little bit when I’m away, I can just send him a video,” Tyrrell said. “There are a few little things we look at. The most important thing is setup. The basics. Those are the hardest things to get right.”

Tyrrell won’t have to worry about sending videos during Masters week, as Jeff will be in Georgia. Tyrrell already is looking forward to having his father caddie for him during Wednesday’s Par 3 Contest at Augusta, and fancies handing his dad a wedge at the ninth tee.

“I’ll start taking bets soon on whether he’s going to fat it in the water,” Tyrrell said, grinning. “No, it’ll be great fun. It’s obviously a special day for us.”

A special day indeed. Yes, Tyrrell Hatton has arrived. Enjoy him.

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