TULSA, Okla. — If there were a category for Strokes Lost: Grumbling, Tyrrell Hatton would be top 10 in the world.
Hatton, “The Angry Golfer,” is angry again this week, and he isn’t shy to voice his displeasure.
The English golfer, ranked No. 24 in the world, continued his attack on the course setup at majors on Wednesday ahead of the 104th PGA Championship at Southern Hills.
“I think the PGA and USGA seem to be in a bit of a fight about who’s got the longest golf course and who’s got the longest par-3. It would be nice if they were a bit more creative with course setup rather than just trying to make it hard through length all the time. PGA seems to just be getting longer each time we come back and play,” Hatton said.
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In this case, he isn’t wrong.
The par-70 Southern Hills measures 7,566 yards on the scorecard with two par 5s over 600 yards and three of the four par 3s between 214 and 228 yards. But the course renovation by Gil Hanse in 2018 has forced players to hit the shots original course architect Perry Maxwell intended. The added length means some of the best players have had to hit long irons and even pull a headcover off to reach par 3s. That included former World No. 1 Dustin Johnson, who used a 9-wood this week at the par-3 8th hole. Hatton’s temper also got the best of him there on Thursday when he caused a minor social media kerfuffle by leaving his mark on the putting surface. (By his standards, it was really nothing but still poor etiquette.)
On Friday, Hatton was asked about the greens at Southern Hills, which weren’t cut between the first and second round due to anticipated high winds.
“I mean, we’re playing a major championship, not a monthly medal,” Hatton said. “You know, they’re bubbling all over the place. It’s so hard to hole putts. So you can hit a great putt and they just don’t look like going in, which is hard to accept when we’re playing in a major championship.
“From my point of view, obviously, I hope that the greens are nicer over the weekend.”
Hatton’s view was shared by many players, including Bubba Watson, who became the 17th player in PGA Championship history to shoot 63.
“I was nervous on every single putt. I had no clue,” Watson said. “The greens are bumpy. Let’s just call it like it is. They’re bumpy and they were a little bit hairier today. It was tough. My putts bounced my way and they went in today.”
Hatton delivered his harshest criticism of a major venue after the final round of the Masters in April, where he called Augusta National “unfair,” “didn’t fit his eye,” and he ought to come back next time “being a caddie.”
“I think it’s how the course is set up in general. You don’t really have to miss a shot, and your next one, you’re really struggling to make par. With how it runs off the greens here and the slopes that you are then chipping into and how obviously it’s cut, it just makes it really hard to even get chip shots close. I think everything is exaggerated here,” he said of Augusta National. “It’s just one of those weeks that I feel like if I come back in the future, it’s just a case of trying to get through the best that I can.”
And then he added this kicker: “I can say it wasn’t a fun walk,” Hatton said, “but maybe I’ll be better off if I come back being a caddie here rather than trying to hit golf shots.”
For all his barking, Hatton shot 2-under 68 on Friday at Southern Hills and enters the third round of the PGA at T-10 and very much in the thick of the championship.