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Tyrrell Hatton hit out at Si Woo Kim and Christiaan Bezuidenhout after the pair hit their tee shots at the driveable 13th at the WGC-Match Play while he and opponent Daniel Berger were still on the green. The 30-year-old even had to interrupt Berger’s putting routine to warn him of the incoming danger as the pair behind threw the golfing etiquette book out of the window.
“I don't think that you should be hitting up when it's clearly a reachable par-4,” said Hatton, who went on to complete a 2up victory over Berger to sweep the group and advance to the last 16. “Obviously Christiaan's just pulled his a little bit, but it didn't cover. But Si Woo hits it further than him and, yeah, I mean, I don't think it was great of them to hit up while we were there. Si Woo had teed off prior and if his hadn't gone into the grandstand right then that would have pitched on, that would have landed on the green when we were there.
"I saw Daniel was kind of just about to go through his routine and hit his putt and I said, like, Hey, wait a second, Christiaan's now hitting. If that was coming towards us and they hadn't shouted "fore", I mean, there was going to be some serious problems there. Christiaan hadn't shouted "fore," whether or not he knew that it wasn't going to cover, it doesn't matter, they shouldn't have been hitting. Even if it missed us all it's not the right thing to do.”
Hatton admitted that confusion over where to take his drop on the 9th, when the Ryder Cup adversaries couldn’t agree where his second shot had crossed the penalty area on its way into one of the many creeks at Austin Country Club, had slowed down play, while Berger found the water himself at the 12th to further delay things. But even so, Hatton felt the pair behind should have exercised more caution.
“We had had our troubles down 9, where we were trying to figure out where my ball crossed the hazard," he said. "And so we were there for a really long time and then obviously we didn't play the 12th that fast either. So I imagine it was a pretty slow round for the guys just behind us. I don't know if that was some frustration in there where they just were fed up waiting and thought that they should hit, which I sympathise the fact that it was slow for them. You don't want it to be slow for the group behind and you want to keep moving. It felt like a long morning for everyone.”
Hatton, who faces Seamus Power in the last 16 on Saturday, even felt compelled to apologise to Berger for interrupting his putting routine at the 13th to warn him of the danger coming from behind. He added: “I said to Daniel on the next hole it's like, I'm really sorry if I put you off there, but obviously I didn't want you to hit when I can clearly see that the group behind are playing up. So there was no issues there from Daniel and he was like, no, you did the right thing.”
Fortunately the 13th hole didn’t prove crucial in the Hatton/Berger match, with both players making a par-4 to leave Hatton one ahead. Berger birdied the par-4 14th to level the match, but the Englishman finished the stronger, making birdies at 16 and 18 to take the victory. Kim beat Bezuidenhout 6&4 in the match behind to finish second in group 13 while the South African rounded off a miserable week, losing all three games.
Jeff graduated from Leeds University in Business Studies and Media in 1996 and did a post grad in journalism at Sheffield College in 1997. His first jobs were on Slam Dunk (basketball) and Football Monthly magazines, and he's worked for the Sunday Times, Press Association and ESPN. He has faced golfing greats Sam Torrance and Sergio Garcia, but on the poker felt rather than the golf course. Jeff's favourite course played is Sandy Lane in Barbados, which went far better than when he played Matfen Hall in Northumberland, where he crashed the buggy on the way to the 1st tee!
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