With 10 wins to his name after a decade on tour, including four Rolex Series titles, Tyrrell Hatton is looking to transfer his winning form to the game’s biggest events as he goes in search of a longed-for major title
We’re half-way through the year, and just have the Open Championship left to play of this season’s majors. How are you feeling about your performances so far this campaign compared to last year?
I feel like I’m beginning to get a little more consistency into my game. Although I’ve missed a few cuts, I feel like my bad weeks aren’t as bad, and my good weeks are better. I have had a tendency to blow hot and cold in the past, but I’d say I’m a lot more consistent now than I once was.
Apart from the win in Abu Dhabi, 2021 was a bit of a disappointing season for me and although I came into the DP World Tour Championship in November still in with a chance of winning the Race to Dubai, it felt a little bit like a false position, as I hadn’t played that well through the middle part of the year.
I lost a bit of focus after the Ryder Cup and it took me a while to get my head back into tournament golf. I had a reset over Christmas and went out to Orlando in the New Year and had a bit of a boot camp to get my fitness and training back in shape, but it’s always a bit of a struggle to put in the work away from the golf course.
Do you find practicing a chore?
My dad would say that I do. I remember in the winters when I was probably ten years old, he would say ‘Come on Tyrrell, let’s go to the range’, and I’d be trying to come up with reasons not to, so that I could stay inside or play football with my friends. Some guys really enjoy their practise and they play games and have good routines to try to keep it interesting, but I’ve always really struggled with that kind of thing and it can often feel a little bit of a waste of time. It’s something I know I have to work on, as you can’t always play your way into form, but I couldn’t tell you that practising is something I really enjoy.
What do you need to do to keep moving your game forward?
It all comes down to performing at a high level week in week out. It’s obviously hard to do that over a long period of time, but that’s what takes you to the top, as does winning a lots of tournaments, as Scottie Scheffler has shown. The big thing for me is staying motivated. I’m not a big one for setting goals, so I don’t always have a clear target or something specific to aim at. Of course, I want to win more tournaments, win a WGC and a hopefully a Major, but they are kind of quite general ambitions that a lot of players aspire to, so it might be something I need to look at, otherwise you can kind of start to just go through the motions, and I don’t want to get into that position.
But you still have the hunger and the appetite to compete on the golf course?
I’m a very competitive person and I always go out there with an ambition to play my best and try my hardest, but there’s always that extra buzz when you’re in the mix and you’re in contention. Unfortunately, that doesn’t always happen and you’re out the back making up the numbers a bit, so those weeks aren’t quite so enjoyable and you sort of have to struggle your way through.
You’ve made the cut at all three of this season’s Majors, so that’s definitely an improvement on last season, but what do you think is holding you back from playing your best in these events?
It’s hard to put my finger on one thing, but you need to putt well to contend in the majors and I’ve not always brought my best putting game to these events. I’ve putted pretty horribly at the Masters, to be honest, so that’s been disappointing, as I’m normally a pretty decent putter. And my short game probably hasn’t always been as sharp as it needs to be to score well around there. Augusta is all about knowing when to attack and when to defend, and sometimes I’ve not always got that right, but every time you come back there, you learn a little bit more.
Given your track record around the Old Course, how much are you looking forward to playing in the 150th Open Championship at St Andrews?
I’m obviously very excited about playing at St Andrews. My first ever Open was there in 2010, when I was just 18, so it will be special to be back there with a bit more experience in the locker. I’ve won a couple of Dunhill Links Championships, which involves two rounds over the Old Course, so it’s a track I know well and have good memories of. Given a bit of luck with the draw, I’m hopeful of playing well. The Open is always a special week, but even more so at the Home of Golf.
Your swing looks so simple it’s often hard to wonder where things might go wrong. What are the main things you focus on when you’re working on your swing?
I really haven’t changed my swing since I was maybe 14. I’ve always worked with my dad, and we’ve always looked at kind of two key points of the swing, where it’s like a quarter of the way or half-way back and then at the top of the backswing. So, it’s always just a case of kind of keeping a check on those positions. When things do go wrong, it normally tends to be when the club is too far outside. And then I’ve always had high hands, so at the top of my backswing, it would be like too steep, and that’s where sort of issues will kind of arise from there.
My downswing is very consistent, so as long I can get it in the right positions I need to on the backswing, and stay in a good rhythm, I generally don’t have to many problems. But I feel like the swing is in a good place.
How has having Mick Donaghy on the bag helped take your game up a level?
Mick and I started working together at the British Masters in 2019. I’ve loved every tournament that we’ve been together. He’s got so much experience. He’s been on Tour for over 30 years and been on the bag for over 25 wins with different players, so he obviously seen a lot and he’s worked for a lot of fantastic players. Mick brings calmness, which is a good thing for me, and we get on really well. We have a really good relationship, and I think you definitely need that when you spend as much time together as players and caddies do. He’s always pretty good at making me laugh, which I definitely need at times.
You’re known for being hard on yourself. Are you getting less critical of yourself as you get more experienced or is that just the way you are?
Yes, I can be hard on myself, but that’s the way I’ve always been. I am getting better at putting bad shots behind me, and trying to look forward and be more positive, but it’s not something you can change overnight. It’s a work in progress.
You’ve been hovering around the top 20 in the world rankings pretty much since 2016, with a career high ranking of five after you won in Abu Dhabi at the beginning of 2021. What’s been the key to your consistency and what’s next on the career goals list?
It’s long been a career goal for me to break inside the top-10 in the world, so to achieve that after my win at the BMW at Wentworth in 2020 was very special. And then to get into the top five after the win in Abu Dhabi last year was amazing. Staying there – as I’ve shown – is another thing, but it was pleasing to kind of get that box ticked and I feel like I’m comfortable at this level.
I’m in my ninth season on the Tour now and have been lucky enough to win a few times in Europe and once in America, so I feel the next step for me would be to win a World Golf Championship event and then a major. That would be very special. It is very hard to win tournaments. You have to go out each week, try your best, and some weeks it works out better than others.
You had a pretty rough ride at the Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits. Has that defeat served to intensify your desire to get back in the team for Rome next year?
There’s no question that it hurt to lose at Whistling Straits, but we were just beaten by a better side on the week, and they played the better golf. It was disappointing, but it was also an amazing experience, and it was something that I look back on with some very good memories.
There’s no doubt that I want to be a part of the team to go to Rome in 15 months’ time and try and win back the Ryder Cup, but it’s still a long way off, and the qualification period hasn’t even started yet, so it’s not uppermost in my thoughts right now. Obviously, I want to be on that team again, and hopefully I will be, but it’s not something for me to waste any energy on until that qualification process begins. Getting on the team is a consequence of playing good golf, so that’s going to be my focus.
BORH: HIGH WYCOMBE. BUCKS
TURNED PRO: 2011
WORLD RANKING: 26 (HIGHEST 5TH)
WINS: 10 (6 European Tour, 1 PGA Tour, 3 Other)
TOURNAMENTS PLAYED: 220
CAREER PRIZE MONEY: €17.5m DP World Tour, $12.4m PGA Tour
WHAT’S IN TYRRELL’S BAG?
Driver: Ping G425 LST (8.1°)
Fairway Woods: Ping G425 LST 3-wood (15.7°), Ping G425 Max 7-wood (20.5°)
Utility: Ping G410 Crossover (20.5°)
Irons: Ping i210 (4-PW)
Wedges: Ping Glide Forged 3.0 (50°), Titleist Vokey SM8 (54°, 60°)
Putter: Ping Vault Oslo
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