Hatton adds more salt to McIlroy’s Abu Dhabi wounds

Bernie McGuire

Tyrrell Hatton and Rory McIlroy bump fists on the 18th green during Day 4 of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)

Bernie McGuire

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Tyrell Hatton has added further insult to Rory McIlroy’s Abu Dhabi pain in elbowing his way past McIlroy into No. 5 on the World Rankings.

Hatton continues to make his push to the top of the Rankings pile and is up four places on the back of his comprehensive demolition not only of McIlroy but many of the best in Europe. At the start of last year, the now 29-year-old Englishman was No. 31 in the world and over the past nine months has picked-up victories in the Arnold Palmer Invitational, the European Tour’s flagship BMW PGA and now in Abu Dhabi.

As well, victory has seen Hatton bump both McIlroy and Jon Rahm out of their spots and up into second place overall on the now restarting 2021 European Ryder Cup team standings  with Rahm third and McIlroy fourth respectively on Padraig Harrington’s team. And if to rub salt further into McIlroy’s Abu Dhabi wounds, Hatton needed only to wait for a second question of Sunday’s victory press conference before being asked how ‘satisfying’ it was to win in denying McIlroy and his four-time major winning last round playing partner.

“Well, it’s tough to win any tournament as every single week there are world-class golfers at the top of the leaderboard, and you know that you have to go out there and play well,” said Hatton.

“Obviously starting the day one back behind Rory, I always knew it’s going to be a tough day. I also knew if Rory plays as good as he can, he’s basically the best in the world. It was always going to be really tough to get past him. For me, I’m really happy with how I played, how I managed the conditions, to shoot 6-under, bogey-free. Obviously very happy with that”.

Not fully content, there was a follow-up ‘McIlroy theme’ return question to Hatton – if he felt finishing in front of McIlroy would serve as a long-term confidence boost going forward.

“Any time you win, it gives you massive confidence and to win in my first start of the season is a great feeling with Ryder Cup points starting again this week, that’s definitely a goal of mine for the year ahead,” Hatton said. “So, to pick up a lot of points this week is great. And yeah, I want to secure my place on that team as fast as possible, and this week’s certainly gone a long way to helping me achieve that goal.”

McIlroy jetted-off to the US West Coast and this week’s PGA Tour Farmers Insurance Open now just a week away from exactly 15-months since his last success and that being on November 1st, 2019 at the HSBC Champion in Shanghai.

His prior long-time early season commitment to teeing-up on the European Tour has meant McIlroy has contested the Farmers Insurance at Torrey Pines near San Diego on two prior occasions.

And after coming off his ninth top-5 finish in 11 Abu Dhabi appearances, you really don’t want to know his Torrey Pines results – T3rd (2020) & T5th (2019)


  • Rory McIlroy – 7 (Down 1 spot)
  • Shane Lowry – 36 (Down 1)
  • Graeme McDowell – 87 (Down 5)
  • Padraig Harrington – 302 (Down 2)
  • Jonathan Caldwell – 332 (Down 8)
  • Cormac Sharvin – 400 (Down 5)
  • Seamus Power – 434 (Down 1)
  • Paul Dunne – 781 (Down 12)
  • Gavin Moynihan – 807 (Down 5)
  • Darren Clarke – 1847 (Up 4 – Winner Champions Tour)

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