Englishman Tyrell Hatton addresses the media following his first PGA Tour victory at the 2020 Arnold Palmer Invitational after finishing with a one stroke lead over Marc Leishman
PGA Tour: Tyrell Hatton speaks on first PGA Tour victory at the Arnold Palmer Invitational
JOHN BUSH: We would like to welcome our 2020 winner of the Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by Mastercard, Tyrell Hatton.
Tyrell, challenging week overall. Congratulations on your first PGA TOUR victory. If we can get some comments, please.
TYRELL HATTON: Thank you. Well, firstly, it’s an incredible feeling to win on the PGA TOUR and to do it at such an iconic venue that, I’ve grown up watching this event as a kid on TV and to be sitting here next to the trophy now is an amazing feeling and very thankful I managed to hold on at the end.
JOHN BUSH: Before we open up to questions, you move up to number 14 in the FedExCup standings. Talk a little bit about how this sets you up for the rest of the season now.
TYRELL HATTON: Yeah, that’s a big jump for me. Coming into this week I didn’t have any exemptions, so when the season starts you are kind of just playing to keep your status for the following year. Obviously, I’m trying to juggle both tours, which is never easy and I’m normally playing around 16, 17 events, so that makes things certainly a little bit tougher to try and keep your status over here where most of the guys will probably be doing mid-20s. So to wrap that up and — how long is it?
JOHN BUSH: A three-year exemption.
TYRELL HATTON: A three year exemption? Wow. That’s amazing. So obviously I kind of know where I’m at now for awhile, which is great and hopefully I can push on and keep climbing the FedExCup.
John Bush: All right. Let’s go right into questions.
Q. For a guy who looks like he’s on edge a lot of the times, on a golf course that keeps you on edge for all the four hours you’re out there, how did you do it?
TYRELL HATTON: Yeah, the setup was extremely tough. And I said yesterday the hardest thing for me will be to manage myself. And over the course of this week I feel like I did a decent job of that.
It was so tough and obviously everyone’s dropping shots quite easily. And after the double on 11, which was pretty tough to take, I’m happy with, I kind of — I feel like I could easily have blown up after that, and managed to kind of keep my head a little bit, although I did get a bit frustrated. That’s always going to happen with me. And as long as it’s not kind of keeping on over to the next shot, then I’ll be okay. And I’m just happy that I’ve managed myself well enough this week to be sitting here.
Q. A lot of us know Mick as a kind of colorful guy and a good time guy. But obviously he’s a very positive influence on you. Can you speak about how he’s done that and especially on a day like today when it’s really tough out there.
TYRELL HATTON: Yeah, me and Mick have been working together since the British Masters in May of last year, and I’ve loved working with him. He’s a national treasure, I think (Laughing). He’s so funny. He’s, he keeps — he’s good at talking to me on the course and we have had some really good results and he’s played a huge part in my success recently — or our success, I should say.
Q. Some players say that the tougher the challenge, the better they like it. Are you one of those players or have you come to become one of those today?
TYRELL HATTON: I think players kind of would look back at this week and it’s nice to play something different. Most weeks it’s not target golf, but the scores are super low. And this ended up sort of feeling like a Major with the setup and how firm the greens were and it was just, it was hard to hit it close. I don’t think there was, there was only a handful, not even a handful of guys that were under par for the weekend.
Q. Can I get you to comment just on a few shots in particular today, please? The putt on 11 for double was pretty big. The one out of the rough on 13, that was, looked very difficult. And then the 17th hole.
TYRELL HATTON: Yeah, so the, obviously, the putt for double on 11 isn’t, is never ideal to have a 6-footer with more than a cup right-to-left break. It was, I hit a terrible first putt. I kind of, I didn’t trust my line and I was worried about it coming out a bit soft and I end up rip pulling it and then you’re left with a really smelly putt. Thankfully that managed to go in.
The 8-iron on 13? Yeah, obviously, terrible tee shot to end up there. I kind of struggled with flighting the ball as low as I normally would like to and obviously I had just come out of it and with a spinny fade. But we didn’t, we actually had a decent lie in the rough over there. Although, I imagine I was the only person in the field to be over there this week. It came out perfectly. And the wind didn’t gust too much, although I think we only had 140 yards, we knew it was all carry.
And then the 5-iron into 17. It’s amazing the thoughts that you can have upon impact, because at impact I genuinely thought I had hit a spinny cut into the water. So to look up and see it having a little baby draw into the pin is, obviously, I was quite relieved at that.
Q. Well done, again. This time last week we were sitting here and there was a bit of controversy in relation to comments made of Tommy Fleetwood and Lee Westwood. Now, you winning here on the PGA TOUR for the first time, can this be a reflection and a statement that European Tour players are good players and they can win on the PGA TOUR, without getting to controversial?
TYRELL HATTON: No, I don’t think it’s a statement. I think whatever TOUR you play on it’s extremely hard to win golf tournaments and we’re all trying to do that each week. And more often than not, I guess things maybe don’t go your way and you end up not winning. So like I say, it’s tough to win and I’m sure, obviously, everyone’s time comes and thankfully my time was this week.
Q. When you came off 11 you made a pretty animated gesture back at the hole as you were heading to 12. I just wonder what was going on in your mind at that moment and how long did it take to you kind of flush that as you got back to 12.
TYRELL HATTON: Yeah, well, I was just annoyed because my third shot in was actually one of the best swings I made all day. We had, the run out on the TV tower, which was my line, we had 193 and I’ve hit a 5-iron at my target and the wind just completely dropped. So that kind of went against us on that hole and I was just having a little moan, like it’s the grass’s fault and the wind’s fault. It’s never my fault. But this is, like going back to a question about Mick, he was really good. Obviously, he just told me to kind of get focused again, it’s done, move on, and have a few practice swings and just kind of get some good feelings again. And I stood on the 12th tee and that was probably one of the best tee shots, certainly, that I hit today.
Q. You spoke of Mick’s influence, but why do you think you’re better equipped now to handle those potentially blow-up situations than you were maybe three or four years ago?
TYRELL HATTON: I guess it just comes with experience. This is my — well, third year on the PGA TOUR, my seventh season on the European Tour. You get yourself in, if you play well enough, often you get, you give yourself opportunities, and I guess you learn things, and I guess I was a little bit more comfortable out there today. And also, this is only my second event back from wrist surgery. So it might sound daft, but my expectations maybe aren’t as high as they would be in a middle of the season if I was, been playing quite a bit. But this is still kind of part of the comeback for me and maybe that helped.
Q. I remember a couple years ago at Honda you talked about living in this town probably at about age 20 or so, you had a few roommates, trying to play the Hooter’s Tour, scratch out a living. At the time did you have a lot of belief in yourself or did this seem a far, far ways away?
TYRELL HATTON: I think you have to believe in yourself, otherwise you’ve got no chance. So obviously the goal was to, at that time, to be playing the European Tour and hopefully eventually PGA TOUR as well. And I think this was 2012, I think that we were out here playing Hooter’s Winter Series. I’ve got good memories from that time and we’ve, me and Emily, my fiance’, we have rented a place here in Orlando now, so it kind of feels like home away from home, which is nice to have. And that’s one of the reasons we come back.
Q. When your wrist injury was taking longer than you hoped, your recovery, did the thoughts of events like this one help sustain you? And also, living in this area, has your appreciation of who Arnold Palmer and what he meant, has it grown?
TYRELL HATTON: Well, at the time, obviously, the surgery took longer to recover from, but as it became more apparent that the, that I was kind of getting back into golf, I knew that I was going to be starting my season in Mexico and I was going to have two weeks in Orlando before then. And we were actually really excited to come out, come back out here, and obviously, we feel very comfortable here and that’s why we have kind of made it our second home. And to, I guess to have your own, to sleep in your own bed on a tournament week is something that we don’t get to experience too often. And home comforts, I think maybe helped keep me a little bit more relaxed as well.
Q. No Englishman has won next week. Just with your form and Tommy, do you think it’s as good a chance as any to break that drought?
TYRELL HATTON: Time will tell. It’s hard to kind of think about next week at the moment with the sort of potential celebrations we have got later today. I don’t think I’ll be in any fit state but, at least until Wednesday. But yeah, I think we’ll savor this one quit a bit. But next week’s going to be, it will be interesting and hopefully an Englishman can finally win that trophy.
Q. Curious, how frustrating was it today to sort of be grinding the way you did? And given, if there was a level of frustration, how rewarding is it to battle through that?
TYRELL HATTON: Yeah, it was really tough out there and obviously I was getting frustrated at times, but nowhere near the blowups that I am capable of. And it’s just one of those days where you just got to stick in there, and patience is one of the hardest things with me. To think that I’ve shot, what was it? 3-over for the weekend and ended up winning the tournament. If you told me that on Friday night I wouldn’t have believed you. But it just shows how tough it was. And obviously, like I said earlier, I’m very thankful to sit next to this trophy.
Q. But does that in some way make it more rewarding, I guess, when you have to battle through that, not only the challenge of the golf shots, but battling yourself?
TYRELL HATTON: Yeah, I think this is, it was, it’s such a tough week and to come out on top is a great feeling and you certainly feel like you’ve played a lot more than 72 holes by the end of it.
Q. I got two for you. The first being, do you have, what do you think you’ll do with the red cardigan?
TYRELL HATTON: Well, I don’t want to ruin it and with the celebrations that will occur tonight I think it’s best to put on a coat hanger. But it’s very special to have this and it will take quite a place in the wardrobe.
Q. The other thing is, in the broadcast David Feherty made this comment, he said that you’re nice to everyone but yourself. Do you agree with that?
TYRELL HATTON: That’s probably a good thing to say, actually. Yeah, like I’m a shy person, but I feel like I’ll be, I’m nice but obviously to myself I give myself a hard time and that’s one thing that I should probably get better at.
Q. I don’t think you came over here until, U.S. membership until about 2017 or so. But even from your days in the Hooters Winter Series, have you ever had any occasion to either come over here or meet Arnold?
TYRELL HATTON: No, I never sort of had the opportunity to. Yeah, sorry. Yeah.
Q. A quick one. You were saying at the start of the week that this event is the first of seven over eight weeks. Do you think that may change now, the sort of schedule over this sort of part of the season that includes the Masters as well?
TYRELL HATTON: Potentially. That’s something that I’ll sit down and talk to my management company about and we’ll kind of go from there. Obviously, like I said, the immediate thought is to kind of get celebrating, so I’m sure the relevant conversations will be had, but obviously I want to be playing golf, give myself a good run into the Masters and so we’ll see what happens.
JOHN BUSH: All right, congratulations once again to our 2020 champion, Tyrell Hatton.
TYRELL HATTON: Thank you.
March 8, 2020
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