Tyrrell Hatton played great. His hilarious, revealing press conference was even better

Tyrrell Hatton at the U.S. Open.

Tyrrell Hatton reacts to a tee shot during the 2024 U.S. Open on Pinehurst No. 2.

Getty Images

PINEHURST, N.C. — Tyrrell Hatton would like to clear up one misconception. No, he has not been fined as much as you might think.

“You’d actually be shocked because you’re thinking it’s ridiculous amounts,” he told a reporter on Friday before pausing for a beat. “Now, don’t get me wrong — it’s still a lot of money. Give me your best guess.”

“One-hundred thousand dollars.”

“Mate,” he said beginning to laugh, “you are not even close.”

In a button-downed sport where the majority of players rarely dare venture much beyond their birdies and bogeys and the conditions, Tyrrell Hatton is a global treasure.

The 32-year-old Englishman, who now plays for LIV Golf, has riffed on slow play, pin positions, Augusta National holes that haunt him, unfair major setups and literally burying his putter. He’s cussed and snapped clubs and bashed tee markers and barks orders at his ball. And when that ball (or those clubs) fail him, he berates himself. It’s a constant inner (outer?) monologue that plays out over hours on the course. Everyone gets a front seat. If you aren’t watching, you should be.

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“Half the stuff I say on the golf course, I don’t even know where it comes from,” Hatton said on Friday, after he shot a one-over 71 to stay in contention in this 124th U.S. Open. “There are some times where I’m sort of like, Oh, I probably shouldn’t have said that, or cringe out a little bit inside at some of the stuff. But it’s just a reaction. It’s not like I’m thinking, I’ve hit a bad shot, I’m going to let it rip. It just comes out. I don’t know where from. But sometimes people find it amusing. Other times it’s maybe not amusing, and as I said, that’s probably more of the times when I think to myself, yeah, I probably shouldn’t have said that.”

On Thursday, after he shot a two-under 68 to start his U.S. Open, Hatton gained yet more attention for his viral comments afterward, when he noted that the difficulty and stress of a U.S. Open makes a lot of pros lose their heads.

“It sort of brings them to my level because I just lose my head every week,” he said, smiling. “They can kind of experience what it’s like in my head for a week.”

That candor — and self-awareness — is refreshing, and appreciated. Even on the 17th tee on Friday, as Hatton walked over to grab a fresh water, one volunteer took a step in his direction.

“Your comment on TV was great,” he said.

Hatton returned a blank stare. The volunteer repeated himself, and then it registered.

“Oh, about everyone losing their heads?” Hatton asked. He smiled and walked away.

“It was cool, wasn’t it?” the volunteer said, now talking to a reporter. “People think he is so pissed sometimes. But fans like that aggression. It’s great.”

Hatton is a lot of things. But he’s also smart and thoughtful. When reporters ask questions, he thinks. He delivers long, deliberate answers and — if he gets comfortable — can provide entertainment worth paying for. Like he did on Friday.

Referring to his comments from Thursday, Hatton was asked what exactly it was like inside his head during a major week.

“Sort of internally screaming for the most part,” he said.

“I think everyone knows me well enough by now to know what I’m like on the golf course, that I’m pretty honest,” Hatton said. “I’ll just say it how it is.”

Tyrrell Hatton signs autographs on Wednesday at Pinehurst.
Hatton signs autographs on Wednesday at Pinehurst. getty images

Hatton has six top 10s in 36 major appearances, but he hasn’t finished inside the top 20 in a U.S. Open in six years. His best U.S. Open finish was a T6 in 2018.

He bogeyed the opener on Friday but made two more birdies before making the turn. He was still one under for the day — and three under for the tournament, which was two off the lead — when he reached the par-4 13th. He had just 81 yards left for his approach and nearly jarred it — only to have it spin off the green and into a bunker. He splashed out, missed a 6-footer for par and made bogey.

“I hit a really good second shot in — obviously too good,” Hatton said. “I hit four good shots there and walked off with 5.”

Hatton three-putted from off the green on 14 for another bogey, and he closed with four straight pars.

“I guess one over in a U.S. Open isn’t the end of the world,” he said.

No, it’s not.

Hatton enters the weekend with a late tee time, and at three under he’ll be within striking distance of the lead. He seems prepared for the test. He said winning the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill in 2020 was huge for his confidence. Bay Hill is a tournament that attracts one of the best non-major fields of the year, and it’s a tough step; similar to a U.S Open, Hatton said.

“I know if I play the kind of golf I’m capable of, then I’ll give myself a chance,” he said. “I haven’t really done that so far in majors. I haven’t had a chance going into Sunday. But I’d like to think if I got myself into position, then I’d deal with it as well as I can. But yeah, ultimately all you can do is try your best, and yeah, the biggest thing for me is trying to stay out of my own way.”

But there is one more misconception we need to clear up. Hatton isn’t always mad, like what some people think. Sometimes he’s smiling behind the agony. He’s often talkative. He laughs a lot, too. In the final question of his Friday press conference, he was asked when he’s been the “happiest” all week. He thought for a second — remember, we said he was thoughtful — and then said he’s staying with Matt Fitzpatrick while in Pinehurst. Fitzpatrick travels with a chef during major weeks.

“Last night we had peanut butter brownies,” he said. “The night before that he did a chocolate mousse with shortbread. Off-the-charts good.

“I’m in my happy place there.”

Makes you wonder how a U.S. Open win might make him feel.

Josh Berhow

Golf.com Editor

As GOLF.com’s managing editor, Berhow handles the day-to-day and long-term planning of one of the sport’s most-read news and service websites. He spends most of his days writing, editing, planning and wondering if he’ll ever break 80. Before joining GOLF.com in 2015, he worked at newspapers in Minnesota and Iowa. A graduate of Minnesota State University in Mankato, Minn., he resides in the Twin Cities with his wife and two kids. You can reach him at joshua_berhow@golf.com.

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