Hatton bringing passion – and profanity – to the Ryder Cup

Hatton bringing passion – and profanity – to the Ryder Cup
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GUIDONIA MONTECELIO, Italy – At the game’s most pressure-packed event that frays nerves and strains reason with no regard for nationality or allegiances, Tyrrell Hatton feels strangely at home.

It doesn’t make sense. The Englishman is one of the most volatile players in the professional game and his outbursts have become ubiquitous. But at the Ryder Cup, the raw emotions and unrelenting pressure seem to fit perfectly with Hatton’s fiery demeanor.

Once you get to level 10 there’s not a lot of room for more rage, and when everyone is emotional it becomes the strange norm for the likes of Hatton.

“Playing a home Ryder Cup, and you’ve got everyone on your side, naturally I think that gives you a lift. And when you do something great and the way the crowd react to that is a cool feeling,” Hatton said Wednesday at Marco Simone. “It makes you want to basically do it every hole and have the crowd on your side being loud and having that momentum. I don’t think that’s a negative.”

Hatton’s relationship with the Ryder Cup is complicated. As a European it is the height of competitive achievement, but in practical terms his 2-4-1 record is bittersweet.

In his first turn on the Continent’s team in ’18 in Paris he managed a single fourball victory paired with Paul Casey over Dustin Johnson and Rickie Fowler, and in ’21 at Whistling Straits he won a single outright point in four matches.

“It’s hard to win a point. It just is what it is. I sound boring repeating it, but you are going out there giving it your best every single time. It’s not going to work out perfectly,” he said.

But if Hatton’s take on his record sounds a bit more reasoned than you’d expect, consider that during the last Ryder Cup Jon Rahm took to calling him “Ty-Rel” as a form of motivation.

“He started calling me that at Whistling Straits and I might have actually hit a decent shot after that. They were few and far between that week, so hopefully I fare better this week,” Hatton explained.

Whether the European side gets Tyrrell or “Ty-Rel” this week will likely factor heavily in the outcome. Without the experienced likes of Ian Poulter, Sergio Garcia, Lee Westwood or Casey – who were ineligible for this year’s matches after resigning their European tour membership – leadership will fall to Rahm, Rory McIlroy, Viktor Hovland and Hatton.

It might well end up being Luke Donald’s best bit of captaining if Hatton delivers, and the European boss started the subtle pep talks months ago.

“Most of us have an inner voice, his inner voice is a loudspeaker, isn’t it?” Donald said of Hatton. “We know how hard this game is and how frustrating it is. I think sometimes he doesn’t realize how good he is. I sent him a stat he’s gained 13.5 shots the last three events in strokes gained. He’s like, ‘No, I’m not playing that well.’ You have to keep reminding him how good he is.”

Donald is perfectly aware of what and who Hatton is and when asked if what fans see on the course and telecast is an accurate representation of Hatton, the captain said with a laugh, “It’s not too far off from what you see.”

“I think he’s very quiet in general; he does have a strong personality when he wants to so there’s always a wisecrack and there’s always a joke,” Donald said. “He beats himself up now and again on the course, but you don’t really see that off the course.”

Donald understands that in order to get the best out of Hatton he will need the good and the bad. In practical terms that means fans will be treated to plenty of solid golf and probably a good bit of salty language. This is where he and Rahm are kindred spirits, although Hatton admits he’s got the Spaniard beat in the blue language department.

“Just any time of day, anywhere. No holding back,” Hatton laughed at his presser. “Doesn’t matter what we’re doing. I’m swearing. F*** off.”

Hatton’s secret power isn’t that he can’t control how fiery he is. The real secret is that he’s always fiery.

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