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‘Sadly didn’t find a happy place’: A visual history of Tyrrell Hatton’s on-course reactions

September 5, 2018

Golf’s most expressive character had a banner Labor Day weekend in Boston. Tyrrell Hatton, the 26-year-old English firecracker, was must-watch television as he played his way into – and out of – contention at TPC Boston.

Hatton is a master of on-course demeanor. He dabbles in joy and elation but specializes in disbelief, exasperation and occasionally pure rage. He once dubbed himself “Headcase Hatton” and has graded his mental game as low as a three out of 10. It’s a combination that endears him to a large swath of fans but dismays others. Whatever your feelings are on the way Hatton expresses his, there’s no doubt it makes for compelling viewing.

Hatton stepped into the emotion jukebox over the weekend at the Dell Technologies Championship and selected “Play All.” He began Sunday’s third round one shot back of the lead and actually got some fantastic breaks early on. At No. 4, his tee shot looked like it was destined for the woods before spitting out to safety. He ended up making birdie and taking the outright lead.

Something similar happened at No. 10, when Hatton’s ball sailed over the green toward the hazard before it was redirected by the curb of the cart path. Hatton took full advantage of the break with a fantastic flop that rolled directly into the hole.

But Hatton, like nearly every golfer, take the good luck in stride and seized on the bad ones as a sort of personal betrayal. His round changed suddenly when he fired a seven-iron off the cart path on 12 and into the woods, leading to a lost ball and a double-bogey 6. That drew a distinct reaction. Hatton, though, insisted he’d actually done quite a good job maintaining his composure.

“I feel like I took it well,” he said. “In the past maybe my head would have probably come off, which is always a battle with me. But no, I was pretty chilled out. I took it on the chin. Tried to feel comfortable on the 13th tee and just forget about what just happened.”

A compilation put together by NBC’s crew told a different story.

Tyrrell Hatton is suddenly the most relatable golfer on the #PGATour pic.twitter.com/b2a2c0Bdly

— Matt Kellogg (@Matt_Kellogg) September 2, 2018

The PGA Tour added its own version.

It was only fitting that Hatton’s day ended with a rollercoaster of emotion. After waiting for the resolution of a showdown between Webb Simpson’s caddie and a spectator, Hatton hit a wedge shot into the 18th green that was very nearly perfect. It checked up against the pin before spinning several full rotations on the inside of the cup and then exiting out the front. Hatton pulled his cap down over his face in disbelief – though he went on to make the birdie putt to stay in contention and would enter the final day just one back.

Early in Monday’s final-round broadcast, Golf Channel announcers suggested that viewers could expect a toned-down Hatton, in contrast to the hothead who had shown up the day prior. That wasn’t the case. Hatton began the day just one shot off the lead but never got fully going. He made birdie at 5 but gave it back with a bogey at 7, and as Bryson DeChambeau began to pull away from the field, Hatton stalled out. He missed a four-footer for birdie at 10 that he later said effectively ended his round.

Hatton turned amateur greenskeeper at 12, missing a par putt from up against the collar and swinging his putter rather aggressively at the spot of fringe in question. “That’s not really called for,” deadpanned NBC’s announcer.

He capped off his round with a new move, the “Thumbs Up,” on the 18th green after suffering another torturous lip-out. Just don’t ask us to transcribe what Hatton was telling his ball – this website has standards of decency, after all.

While many viewers praised Hatton’s relatability (and entertainment value), not everyone enjoyed the show.

Rich Beem suggested he will learn to express himself in a more productive manner.

Hatton took to Twitter after the round, and while he stopped short of apologizing for his actions he cited his attitude as a reason he came up short. “Attitude on the back 9 wasn’t good enough to be able to win a golf tournament,” he wrote. “Sadly didn’t find a happy place today!”

Hatton’s history of, uh, expressive behavior is well-documented. He has been known to blame a spike mark or two for greens troubles:

And ’twas less than a year ago that Hatton broke his putter at the Turkish Airlines Open — though that led us to this moment of brilliance:

But Hatton also (generally) maintains the ability to laugh at himself, too. Sometimes, it’s best just to cool off after a round.

And it’s tough to dislike a guy who celebrates back-to-back wins with a trip to…Burger King. Especially with a grin like this.

We just can’t wait for Hatton to make his Ryder Cup debut next month.