Daniel Berger And Tyrrell Hatton Involved In Drop Drama

On the par-4 9th, the Ryder Cup stars couldn't agree on where Hatton's golf ball had crossed the penalty area

Hatton and Berger talk
(Image credit: Twitter)

Match play is arguably the most intense format in the whole of golf and, during the third round matches of the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play, that was on full display, as Daniel Berger and Tyrrell Hatton were involved in a slightly tense altercation about where Hatton's golf ball had crossed the penalty area.

Hitting his second shot into the par-4 9th, the 30-year-old pulled his approach left, finding one of the many creeks at Austin Country Club. After Berger played his third, which he hit to around 4-feet, a discussion then took place between the two, as they couldn't decide where the ball should be dropped.

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With a lengthy discussion in place, it appeared that Hatton felt the ball crossed the line around the green. However, he couldn't confirm whether this was the case or not. Berger meanwhile, would neither agree or disagree, stating to Hatton: "It was so close, I literally knew we were going to have this conversation," before then telling him “It’s up to you, man.”

The rules on penalty areas state that you must drop your ball back in line with where it crossed the penalty area, or within two club lengths of where it crossed. You also have the option to go back to where you originally played the shot from.

Whilst the conversation was going on, Hatton's caddie, Mick Donaghy, was actually standing just short of the penalty area, some 120-yards back from the green. The two players then asked him to move roughly to the line that Hatton played from so they could gauge where it may have crossed.

As that didn't work, the players consulted the cameramen around the green to see if they had any footage. The response was a no and, with it still being uncertain where the ball had crossed, Hatton was forced to walk back to the front of the creek. 

Failing to get up-and-down, the Englishman went on to make a six and lose the hole, with Berger's putt for par being conceded.

Hatton and Berger walk off the fairway

(Image credit: Getty Images)

If this situation sounds familiar, you may remember that Berger was involved in an incident with Viktor Hovland and Joel Dahmen at The Players Championship. At TPC Sawgrass, the American was left visibly angry after Hovland denied him what he felt was the correct spot to drop during the final round.

The 28-year-old had hit his second shot into the water on the par-5 16th hole at TPC Sawgrass and hoped to take his drop much further up the fairway where he felt his ball had crossed the penalty area. However, his playing partners were uncomfortable with Berger dropping nearer hole and insisted he dropped it further back. 

Matt Cradock
Staff Writer

Matt joined Golf Monthly in February 2021 covering weekend news, before also transitioning to equipment and testing. After freelancing for Golf Monthly and The PGA for 18 months, he was offered a full-time position at the company in October 2022 and continues to cover weekend news and social media, as well as help look after Golf Monthly’s many buyers’ guides and equipment reviews.


Taking up the game when he was just seven years of age, Matt made it into his county squad just a year later and continues to play the game at a high standard, with a handicap of around 2-4. To date, his best round came in 2016, where he shot a six-under-par 66 having been seven-under through nine holes. He currently plays at Witney Lakes in Oxfordshire and his favourite player is Rory McIlroy, despite nearly being struck by his second shot at the 17th during the 2015 BMW PGA Championship.


Matt’s current What’s In The Bag?

Driver: Honma TW747, 8.75°

Fairway Wood: TaylorMade Rocketballz Stage 2, 15°, 19°

Hybrid: Adams Super Hybrid, 22°

Irons: Mizuno MP54, 5-PW

Wedges: Cleveland 588 RTX 2.0 Tour Satin, 50°, 56°, 60°

Putter: Cleveland TFI 2135 Satin Cero

Ball: Titleist Pro V1x