Tyrrell Hatton hits out at Masters officials for not punishing slow play after near six-hour round

Tyrrell Hatton –Tyrrell Hatton hits out at Masters officials for not punishing slow play after five-hour round
Rounds of 72 and 74 have allowed Tyrrell Hatton to survive the weekend at Augusta National - AP/George Walker

Tyrrell Hatton hit out at Masters officials for not putting the group ahead of him on the clock earlier in their round, describing it as “poor”, as golf’s Mr Angry admitted he allowed his frustrations to boil over during a two-over-par second round 74.

Hatton became increasingly exasperated that the group, which consisted of Patrick Reed, Sungjae Im and Kurt Kitayama, was not put on the clock until near the end of their second round, despite consistently slow play.

“It’s pretty poor from the officials that it took 32 holes to put them on the clock,” Hatton said, noting it was the second day running they had fallen behind the group in front of them.

“Yesterday they’d lost a hole and a half. And then they weren’t any better even this morning [when completing their first rounds]. And then for the second round they were just brutal.

“It’s fine for them; they’re not waiting on any shot that they hit. But for us, we stood in the fairway, we stood on the tee. It was really hard to get a rhythm. So it was disappointing that it took 32 holes for an official to go ‘Oh, we’ve put the group in front on the clock.”

Slow play was a big talking point last year, too, with Brooks Koepka becoming frustrated at the length of time it took Patrick Cantlay’s group in front of him to clear the greens during his final round. Rounds on Friday were taking almost six hours to complete as the wind gusted.

Hatton said he understood why rounds were taking a long time with conditions as they are, admitting that was “just the reality of it”. But he felt there was no excuse to fall so far behind the group in front.

“We stood on the eighth waiting to hit our second shots in, and they’re still putting out,” he said. “And the lads in front of them have teed off 10. It’s a small field. It’s not hard to keep up with the group in front. I understand if you’ve had a tough hole, but when it’s just like every hole, then it’s a bit more frustrating.”

Hatton had a particularly long wait to play his approach at the par-four 14th, during which time he was overheard telling his caddie Hugo Dobson: “I don’t think these guys could take any longer if they tried. It’s actually disgraceful.”

Hatton went on to bogey that hole, and the next one as well, throwing his ball into the water by the 15th green in disgust, which elicited some boos from the patrons for a player often seen as something of a pantomime villain.

Hatton admitted he had allowed his temper to boil over, saying he was particularly upset by that bogey as he had had a chance for birdie.

“I’m always frustrated, but with how I played 15, to walk off with a six this afternoon was . . . that was a bit of a low blow,” he said. “I had just missed a short one on 14. And then I kind of stood over the putt on 15. Okay, I didn’t really hit a great pitch in. But you’ve got a 15-foot birdie putt and you walk off with six. It’s pretty tough.”

Hatton has a strained relationship with Augusta. Two years ago Hatton described the course, generally regarded with something approaching holy reverence, as “unfair” after a final round 80, saying it did not always reward good golf.

He has not revised that opinion. Hatton said he felt he had played better than his score suggested. “It’s hard. You can hit a great shot and you get a gust of wind, and all of a sudden it ends up where it probably wouldn’t have done. It doesn’t give you a fair showing of how you’ve played. Certainly I feel like I’ve played better golf than what my score currently suggests. But at least we’re here for the weekend.”

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