‘Blow it up to oblivion’: Tyrrell Hatton goes nuclear on Abu Dhabi hole design

Tyrrell Hatton didn't hold back his disdain for the 18th hole at Yas Links in Abu Dhabi.

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It’s hard to know for certain, but Tyrrell Hatton might not love the 18th hole at Yas Links in Abu Dhabi.

And why do we say that? Oh, well only because he’s dedicated consecutive post-round sessions with gathered reporters at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship to the subject of the 646-yard par-5, and his critiques have been … not sterling.

“That must be one of the worst par-5s I’ve ever seen in my life,” Hatton said Saturday. “And over the last two days, I’ve clearly played it about as well as it was designed.”

As for the offending issue, Hatton had … a few thoughts.

“What’s wrong with it? Where do you start? It shouldn’t have a bunker in the middle of the fairway, and it shouldn’t be over 600 yards from a forward tee,” he said Saturday. “If you hit a good drive as a pro, you should have at least a chance to go for the green in two, otherwise the hole becomes a par-3, and that’s if you play it well. Hardly anyone will get there in two with the wind even slightly against you.”

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Now, it is noteworthy that these quotes came mere minutes after Hatton’s tournament hopes were dashed with a quadruple-bogey nine on the hole. And it is also noteworthy that particularly brutal winds affected play for the majority of the week. Still, Hatton’s disdain for the 18th was decidedly pointed.

“I honestly can’t remember the last time I got a nine,” he said. “I certainly haven’t had one that I can recall as a pro. I was probably about 14 the last time it happened.” 

Hatton’s criticisms also weren’t restricted to only Saturday. After a final-round 67 on Sunday left him with a respectable T6 in Abu Dhabi, Hatton once again took aim at the 18th.

“I definitely still think it is an awful hole. Today we were off the very back tees, and you wonder why when you want to encourage aggressive golf and make it exciting for the spectators,” he said. “I’m obviously not a fan. If we’re coming back here next year, it would be nice if they redesigned it.”

Should the membership at Yas Links consider Hatton’s rather pointed criticism, the 30-year-old pro also has a suggested recourse.

“I would love for a bomb to drop on it and blow it up to oblivion, to be honest,” he said.

After his week, Tyrrell Hatton suggested he might take a more reasoned approach to the hole, should the tournament return to Yas Links in future years.

“Perhaps I may not be back.”

James Colgan

Golf.com Editor

James Colgan is an assistant editor at GOLF, contributing stories for the website and magazine on a broad range of topics. He writes the Hot Mic, GOLF’s weekly media column, and utilizes his broadcast experience across the brand’s social media and video platforms. A 2019 graduate of Syracuse University, James — and evidently, his golf game — is still defrosting from four years in the snow, during which time he cut his teeth at NFL Films, CBS News and Fox Sports. Prior to joining GOLF, James was a caddie scholarship recipient (and astute looper) on Long Island, where he is from.