Social distancing forbids hugging a hoodie, but we really should embrace Tyrrell Hatton after a Wentworth triumph that highlighted another fine weekend for British golf.
In some quarters Hatton’s unorthodox choice of clothing was the main talking point, but the conversation of substance should surround the quality of his golf which has taken the Englishman into the world’s top 10 for the first time.
Within hours of him lifting the BMW PGA Championship trophy, British fans were also able to celebrate another win, with Scotland’s Martin Laird claiming victory on the PGA Tour in Las Vegas.
These are good times for British golf
Wolverhampton’s Aaron Rai had already demonstrated his rich potential by winning this month’s Scottish Open and in the Women’s PGA, Charley Hull enjoyed a creditable share of seventh at the tough Aronimink Golf Club in Pennsylvania.
Still only 24, that was Hull’s sixth top 10 finish in a major and followed consecutive wins on the LPGA Tour for fellow Englishwomen Georgia Hall and Mel Reid.
Indeed, on pretty much every tour, British players are showing up well, even among the seniors where Colin Montgomerie lost only to a 40-foot winning putt from long-time nemesis Ernie Els in South Carolina.
In their pomp, Monty and Els were dominant forces around Wentworth and they would surely have been impressed by the way Hatton tackled the West Course to finish 19 under par. “I just have to stay patient; a lot can happen in 18 holes,” Hatton admitted. “And I feel like that lesson kind of served me pretty well.”
Like Montgomerie, Hatton does not disguise his emotions and there are times when the petulance and self-absorption come over badly. But there are also much more valuable and admirable similarities.
The veteran Scot, who collected eight orders of merit, simplified the game by relentlessly finding fairways and greens in a way that yielded 31 European Tour victories.
Hatton’s game is not far removed from that blueprint. He hits it straight, locates the short stuff, rarely wastes shots and when he finds a spot of bother, he possesses a deft and secure short game.
In 2020 Hatton has played only 11 events, winning two of them with four more top 10s. Having claimed the Arnold Palmer Invitational in March, he has now won the year’s biggest golf event in the UK. The trajectory is more than encouraging and with five majors in the next nine months his goals are understandable.
“It would be nice to obviously win a WGC (a World Golf Championships event) and then a major,” he said. “That would be very special. Hatton will be competing in that one and some will wonder whether the hoodie will be in this Augusta luggage. But, is it really that big of a deal? Smart, athletic, fashionable clothing, with the option of extra protection from the elements seems pretty fitting golfing attire to me. It is certainly not an “erosion of standards” as has been suggested on social media.
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Article source: https://www.bbc.com/sport/golf/54511904
By Iain Carter BBC golf correspondent