ABU DHABI — Tyrrell Hatton is never shy to speak his mind. Which is something the defending champion at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship did loudly and clearly on Saturday and Sunday as he discussed the finishing hole at the new home for this DP World Tour event, Yas Links.
Suffice to say, Hatton’s play exasperated his frustration, explaining why he came close to vowing he would never return should the 646-yard par 5 not see some modification in time for next year’s event. On Saturday, the Englishman finished his third round by making a quadruple-bogey 9, which was only two shots more than he had needed to hole-out in Round 2.
“It must be one of the worst par 5s that I’ve ever seen in my life and, over the last two days, I’ve clearly played it about as well as it was designed,” Hatton said on Saturday. “What’s wrong with it? Where do you start? It shouldn’t have a bunker in the middle of the fairway, and it shouldn’t be over 600 yards from a forward tee. If you hit a good drive as a pro you should have at least a chance to go for the green in two, otherwise the hole becomes a par 3 and that’s if you play it well.”
On Sunday, even a closing birdie for a round of 67 that took him to seven under par for the week and three shots shy of the winning score did nothing to diminish the famous Hatton temper. He still hates the 18th. And yes, he had more to offer on the subject. Asked how he felt when he arrived on the 72nd tee, he was off and running.
“That I would love for a bomb to drop on it and blow it up to oblivion to be honest,” he said. “It’s just such a terrible finishing hole. And the fact that they moved the tee back today is ridiculous. I hit a really good tee shot and still got 290 front. I could peg-up driver up and still not get there. It would be a much better finishing hole if you’re actually rewarded for hitting the fairway, which as it stands, you’re not.
“I’m obviously not a fan,” he confirmed, just in case anyone was left in any doubt. “If we’re coming back here next year, it would be nice if they redesigned it. But I think that’s a bit of an ask. Perhaps I may not be back.”