‘I Lost My Appetite For The Game Last Year – But It Is Back Now’ – Tyrrell Hatton Targets Abu Dhabi Double

The Englishman has not won since victory at the Abu Dhabi Championship last year – but a recent health kick to get his body back in shape has given his game a much-needed boost

‘I Lost My Appetite For The Game Last Year – But It’s Back Now’ – Tyrrell Hatton Targets Abu Dhabi Double
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Tyrrell Hatton has gone through a gruelling, two-week 'boot camp' to try to regain the drive that saw him romp to a memorable Abu Dhabi Championship triumph at the start of last year after admitting he had lost a bit of his 'appetite' for the game.

Hatton accepts his season was mostly downhill after that win, and puts the slide down to a lack of motivation and a growing sense of frustration at the fact he was not in great shape.

The Englishman, 30, admits the way he feels about his body shape has a big impact on how he performs as a golfer.

That was the reason for the intensive two weeks of training in Florida before he flew out to defend his title in Abu Dhabi, with hours of gym work interspersed with 90-minute tennis sessions and plenty of jogging.

He said: "It wasn't a case of me running up and down hills with a large backpack – this was boot camp, not hell camp! It has always been a big thing for me, being body aware and weight-conscious. So getting back into the gym and working hard was very important, especially after three weeks around Christmas where I did very little and had a few drinks most nights.

"Thankfully, I feel better in the clothes I'm wearing, and I've lost a couple of inches around the waist. But it wasn't just about those few weeks at the end of last year. Winning in Abu Dhabi was obviously an amazing way to start 2021. Sadly, from that moment on, it didn't sort of get any better.

"To pick up a victory like that early on is good for confidence. And I was on a great run at that moment in my career – it was my fourth win in 20-odd months, and obviously that was great. But I seemed to let things slip, and I think it's down to where I was at mentally to be honest.

"In 2020, I was working pretty hard in the gym throughout the whole year. I was in a much better place fitness-wise, more comfortable with my own skin. And I think that just actually allowed me to go play better golf. 

"Certainly in the back half of last year, I was doing no training. I wasn't that motivated to practice either. I'm about to start my ninth year on the European tour and to be honest maybe I lost a bit of the appetite last year. And I need to get that back. So there's a combination of things. It's not always plain sailing."

Tyrrell Hatton

Tyrrell Hatton after winning the championship in 2021

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Hatton says he has always been somewhat reluctant when it comes to hitting the range to practise – "I much prefer to play" – but he knew the time had come to put the hard graft in and try to rediscover the missing fire.

He added: "That was why I flew out to Orlando on New Year's Eve and did that two-week boot camp of training and practice, to just get back into it, really. I needed to find the motivation to go and do it. The training has gone well, but I still struggle with the hours of practice, and when I get on the range there is still a sense of just going through the motions.

"I find it a chore at times, so that's a work-in-progress for sure. My dad would say I wasn't keen on practising from the time I was about ten, so it's nothing new. But at the moment, it certainly seems harder to get myself to go to the range to go through that process. I'm doing it though, because I know I need to turn my results around.

"Luckily I'm a very competitive person. My results haven't been going that well, and that's disappointing. When you're up there in the mix and you know, you have that nervous energy, that's what we want to experience every week.

"It's not going to happen every week, but I know if I put in the hard miles, it will happen more often. So that's the path I'm on just now."

David Facey
Contributing Writer

David brings a wealth of experience to Golf Monthly as a freelance contributor having spent more than two decades covering the game as The Sun's golf correspondent. Prior to that, he worked as a sports reporter for the Daily Mail. David has covered the last 12 Ryder Cups and every Masters tournament since 1999. A popular and highly-respected name in the press tents around the world, David has built close relationships with many of the game's leading players and officials.