Tyrrell Hatton paused over the short pitch, looked up quickly at the pin on the par-5 6th at Club de Golf Chapultepec and paused again, aware that he had played the hole “like an absolute dog” to that point, aware that this fourth shot could blow up to double bogey or worse, aware that this was maybe the sternest test of his surgically repaired right wrist.
Seconds after hitting, Hatton slid that wrist off the club — that assured move you make when you hit it just right — and he watched as the ball trickled in for birdie on Friday.
Playing in his first tournament since undergoing surgery late last November, Hatton is plenty right again, firing rounds of 69 and 68 to sit in a tie for seventh entering the weekend at the WGC-Mexico Championship.
The wrist “was fine again today,” Hatton said after the second round. “There was no pain out on the golf course, which is good. Similar to yesterday, in the sense when I was warming up, it was a little bit uncomfortable. That’s just how it’s going to be at the moment until it gets back to full strength.
“But as long as I can practice how I want to and be pretty much pain-free from 9-iron up, then that’s kind of good enough for me to be able to come out here and play. The back end of last year, I was in a lot of pain and had a pretty decent end to the year. The little twinge I have at the moment shouldn’t stop me from playing well.”
Following the European Tour’s season-ending tournament in Dubai, where he tied for 46th, Hatton had the surgery, and he had hoped to return for the Abu Dhabi Championship in mid-January — but the delay nor the wrist seem to be an issue in Mexico City. Teeing off first on the first hole on Thursday, Hatton made birdie.
“Yeah, obviously it’s good to be back out playing again,” Hatton said. “It’s been a long time away, obviously with wrist surgery and stuff. Just kind of excited to be playing tournament golf again.”
Hatton’s wrist was uniquely challenged last October.
During Hatton’s second round at the Italian Open, while he aimed to play his approach into the 11th green, a sound from outside the ropes stopped him mid-swing. When he noticed what it was, he couldn’t help but chuckle.
His fiancee, Emily Braisher, had just slammed a toilet door shut.
Hatton paused, stood behind his ball and shouted out to his future wife, “What are you doing?”
“That’s my fiancée,” Hatton said, whipping around to the TV cameramen.
“You put me off,” Hatton then shouted to his fiancée a bit sarcastically. “You should be ashamed.”
Hatton parred the hole, and when he completed his round, he added to the joke by tweeting #weddingsoff.
To receive GOLF’s all-new newsletters, subscribe for free here.