Interview with Tyrrell Hatton: I don’t expect the Ryder Cup rules to be changed for me

Tyrrell Hatton opens up about the £50m deal that persuaded him to join LIV Golf – Reuters/Raquel Cunha

The point of taking calculated risks is that you won’t know if your calculations are accurate until sometime in the future – and then it may be too late. So it is for Tyrrell Hatton and the Ryder Cup. “Yes, time will tell,” he says.

Hatton isn’t the type to hide behind well-crafted sound bites or indulge in cheap justifications. Jon Rahm, his LIV team captain and undoubtedly a big factor in the Englishman’s move, said earlier this week here at the Las Vegas Country Club that “your feelings change when they hit you in the face with a big wad of money.” Hatton agrees.

“There’s no point in lying,” says Hatton, who reportedly agreed to a £50 million deal. “But there is more to it than money and there are concerns.”

For Hatton, beyond what he calls “a leap into the unknown,” there is a fear of qualifying for the Ryder Cup and the Majors. The 32-year-old remains hopeful about both, but as for Europe and next year’s match in New York, he does not believe his defection will, like Rahm, cause panic and calls for a massive regulatory rewrite.

“Jon is in a different position than I am; you can’t really imagine the European Ryder Cup team without Jon. Yes, it’s nice to hear your teammates say nice things about you and your contributions, but when you talk about the ‘certainties’ of the Ryder Cup or whatever, in my own mind I don’t feel like I’m above that . hook up with those guys. I’m sorry, I simply cannot and do not trust my reputation.”

Hatton’s insecurity as a former top five player may come as a surprise to those who have regularly seen him scream to the heavens when his ball doesn’t dare to go exactly where he expects it to. It’s just another contradiction of a personality that is as relaxed in the clubhouse as he is on the course. “Maybe I underestimate myself, but it’s that self-doubt that motivates me, I think.”

The boy from Buckinghamshire clearly doesn’t know his own worth and in the weeks back and forth between his camp and LIV – with Rahm regularly on the phone as his friend, Ryder Cup captain and future team captain – there was a price tag to be paid. . There were also people to consult.

“I talked to Rory [McIlroy]Lucas [Donald] and others, figures I really respect and whose opinions I wanted to take into account, to see where things could go in the game. Of course, they couldn’t give me any guarantees, because no one can, but their opinion was valuable.”

Jon Rahm and Tyrrell Hatton played together at the Ryder Cup last yearJon Rahm and Tyrrell Hatton played together at the Ryder Cup last year

Rahm and Hatton formed ‘Team Angry’ at the Ryder Cup in Rome – PA/Mike Egerton

Donald, in turn, remains in the frustrating darkness. Even if the peace deal with the Public Investment Fund – LIV’s Saudi bankrollers – falls through, Hatton is still optimistic there could be a way for him to comply with the bans and still play the minimum four regular events he need. his DP World Tour card and thus qualify for the biennial dust promotion in Bethpage. Yet nothing is certain.

“Luke can only control what he can control,” Hatton says. “And he’s right when he says actions have consequences. But he supported us. They all have. I’m still on the team WhatsApp and haven’t felt any bitterness. No one judged me.”

Of course, they do that among the general public, too, but Hatton “purposefully turned off Twitter” to escape the wrath of social media. In recent weeks there has been criticism from the likes of Rickie Fowler and Justin Thomas over McIlroy’s call to welcome the LIV players back into the PGA Tour fold ‘without penalty’. But these are quiet setbacks and a far cry from the cross-media slang that greeted the first LIV exodus two years ago.

“I know the guys who first came here got flak, but because of everything that’s happened, with the ‘framework agreement’ [between PIF and the Tours]The attitude has softened, hasn’t it?” says Hatton. ‘Either way, what matters is what your family and loved ones say and whether you think this is good for them. I didn’t rush and discussed everything.”

Perhaps the most important conversation was with his father, Jeff, who also serves as his coach. Hatton Snr, a former senior corporate manager, knows all about risk. “I sat him down and explained it all, went over the terms and conditions and he looked at it all and said, ‘Well, if I were your position, I’d go’.”

Legion XIII's Jon Rahm, Tyrrell Hatton, Kieran Vincent and Caleb Surratt pose with the team trophyLegion XIII's Jon Rahm, Tyrrell Hatton, Kieran Vincent and Caleb Surratt pose with the team trophy
Hatton (right) as part of Legion XIII, won the team prize in Mexico last week – Reuters/Raquel Cunha

Still, Hatton Jr. hesitated. until the last few hours. LIV was adamant that the team component and actual competition element needed to be completed before last week’s first event in Mexico, but a day before traveling, Hatton still had a decision to make.

On Sunday evening his caddie, Mick Donaghy, stayed at Heathrow, unsure whether he would travel to Pebble Beach for the PGA Tour event the next morning – or to Mayakoba for the LIV opener. Hatton simply struggled with the action-consequence dilemma.

“There was fear of the unknown and leaving my comfort zone. I have been on the DP World Tour for ten years and the PGA Tour for six years and I am grateful for what they have given me. I looked at the LIV schedule and knew I would miss Wentworth in September and the BMW PGA Championship [which he won in 2020] is a week that I have always loved and consider one of the most important of the year. I can’t be 100 percent sure. I’ll be back there soon. Like I said, I can only hope.”

In the majors, however, his fate is in his own hands. Ranked number 15 in the world, he is already qualified for this year’s Masters and Open and is virtually assured of places at the US Open and USPGA. But with no ranking points available on LIV, he realizes that his status will plummet all too quickly. Unless he can perform at Augusta, Valhalla, Pinehurst or Royal Troon.

The problem with that is that his form in the major league has been terrible in recent years. Hatton recorded four top 10 finishes in three seasons as a young pro starting in 2016, but failed to post another in the last four years as an established member of the game’s top 20.

“No, it hasn’t been good. But there is an urgency now because if I can play well enough in these majors, I can guarantee my spots for 2025. I wouldn’t say I lacked motivation at those events before, because that’s my ultimate ambition. But this could be the spark I need. There will be no excuses. It’s up to me. It doesn’t matter if I’m on LIV or not. I have the opportunity.”

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