SAN ANTONIO — Amid a stream of questions about his golf game, his first-ever appearance at the Valero Texas Open, and an impending return to Augusta National, Tyrrell Hatton fielded a question about his beloved Liverpool Football Club on Wednesday, a team that faces a mighty challenge in Manchester City this weekend.
A look of bewilderment came over Hatton’s face. Liverpool this season has at times looked the part of a dominating force, routing long-time rival Manchester City but then falling to clubs that have spent far less.
“If the team that played United show up, then absolutely. If the team that played Bournemouth shows up, then it could be another sad week,” Hatton said, looking perplexed.
Hatton is also uncertain of what can help reverse his personal fortunes at the Masters. Next week will mark his seventh appearance at the storied event, yet he’s never even made a dent, only once finishing inside the top 40.
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And to be frank he’s making an appearance here at this last stop before the major season kicks off to shake things up, hoping to put a little Texas two-step into a rhythm that has previously not played well in Georgia.
“Typically, I’ve not played before the Masters and my Masters record is nothing to get excited about,” he said. “We’ve had a nice start to the season and figured it would be nice to add this event into the schedule. We’ll try our best to have a good week and take some momentum into Augusta.”
If Hatton is to finally make a run at the season’s first major, perhaps it’s this year. The Englishman has top-six finishes in three of his last five starts, and even though he didn’t win a single match at last week’s WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play in Austin, he felt pretty good about his game. He felt a weird sensation in his hand prior to his first match, but insisted the pain quickly subsided, and overall he hit the ball well, but just missed a few putts that would have put him in the running to get out of pool play.
And this week he’s making his debut at TPC San Antonio’s Oaks Course, hoping to get firing on all cylinders properly. It might work. It might not.
Hatton seemed about as confident as he is in his Liverpool side.
“Next week will be my seventh Masters, so it’s not like I’m short of experience around there. Generally speaking, I’ve not putted particularly well there, which again going back through stats and stuff throughout the years, putting’s normally a strength of mine,” Hatton said of Augusta. “I’ve just not holed the putts. I’ve broken 70, was it, once in my 17 or 18 tournament rounds. You know, it’s not a record to get excited about.
“Having said that, you don’t always have to shoot low around there to have a great week. Typically scores are pretty … the winning score’s higher than normal weeks. It’s not often where the winning score’s gone lower than 10 under. It’s not really the kind of week that you have to shoot low, so I guess in that sense it’s not too concerning. It’s an interesting golf course.”
This week, Hatton is the betting favorite in a weaker field. Next week he will not be.
He insists it doesn’t matter either way. He’s simply looking for answers.
“Golf’s a pretty silly game. Just on paper you could say about every week there’s favorites, but it doesn’t often turn out that way,” Hatton said. “I mean, it makes no difference to me where — I don’t feel — world ranking-wise I’m one of the high-ranked players playing this week, like that makes no difference, you’ve still got to go out there and play good golf. Like what’s the field size this week, 144?
“There’s 143 other players that are fantastic at playing golf, like, on their week they can go and win this tournament, there’s no doubt about it.”