'It's not a fair test': Tyrrell Hatton risks backlash with attack on Augusta National

'It's not a fair test': Tyrrell Hatton risks backlash with attack on Augusta National - AP
'It's not a fair test': Tyrrell Hatton risks backlash with attack on Augusta National - AP

Tyrrell Hatton launched a remarkable attack on "unfair" conditions at Augusta National after he endured an awful end to his Masters challenge.

Augusta is generally considered beyond reproach within golf but Hatton, never one to hide his true feelings, admitted he had hated playing it after shooting an 80 in his final round.

“I’m glad it’s over,” he said, after a round which included five bogeys, with doubles at 11 and 13. “I think that’s a pretty good way to sum it up. Obviously, I’m disappointed. But I just never do well here.”

Asked why that might be, given it looked as if he was beginning to master Augusta National, finishing with a 68 last year and making it through to the weekend this time around with something to spare at two over, Hatton said he felt the course was “not always fair”.

“You can hit good shots here and not get any reward for it,” he said. “It’s unfair at times. I don’t agree with that. If you hit a good shot, you should end up near the hole. Not then short-sided into a bunker because of the slopes that they’ve created and stuff. Yeah, I don’t think it’s a fair test at times.”

Hatton’s comments may be interpreted by some as sour grapes, but it is always refreshing to hear players speaking their minds, particularly when they are also able to poke fun at themselves. Hatton, who has a reputation as one of the Tour’s most colourful and short-tempered characters, his chuntering and swearing and self-admonishment following poor shots a frequent feature of his play, may get angry, but he does not take himself too seriously.

Earlier this month, the European Tour released one of their viral social media videos purporting to be of a self-help group, with Hatton at the centre of a circle of chairs. “Hi, my name’s Tyrrell Hatton,” he says. “And I’m an angry golfer.”

“Hi Tyrrell,” intone the rest of the attendees, a group that includes Ian Poulter, Tommy Fleetwood and Henrik Stenson. There follows a 10-minute highlights package of famous Hatton meltdowns.

Might Hatton be an even better player if he was able to control his temper? Sir Nick Faldo was one of quite a few pundits to tip him to do well this week, but he cautioned: “We all know he can lose his head. If he can make sure that losing his head is just for entertainment and doesn’t affect the next shot, then he could be, with his ball striking, keeping himself [in contention].”

Who knows to what extent his chuntering affected his round yesterday but it was on full display almost from the word go. Hatton drove right into the trees at the first, then into the right side bunker at the par-five second (before a magnificent wedge shot, which set up his only birdie of the day), missed right again at three, and missed the green at four. By the time he drove straight towards the bunkers at five, he was furious with himself.

“I can’t wait to drive home,” he shouted at no one in particular. Hatton later admitted he would have liked a “time machine to fast forward to the end of the round” then and there. Hatton is very relatable as well as being colourful.

It did not help, perhaps, that he had to carry his clubs for part of his round, with caddie Mick Donaghy struggling with a knee injury.

“This is actually his last event for a while,” Hatton later revealed. “He is going to go home and see a doctor and find out what the next step is for him.

Hopefully he is not out for too long, but for his sake, he needs to get it right before he comes [back] out.

“This is a tough walk for even the fittest caddies. Obviously, the bags are pretty heavy, and with the slopes that they’re walking up and down, it’s tough. I did it the other day walking up 8, which I can say wasn’t a fun walk.

“Maybe I’ll be better off if I come back being a caddie here rather than trying to hit golf shots.”