Tyrrell Hatton will tee it up alongside European Ryder Cup Captain Pádraig Harrington as the Englishman defends his BMW PGA Championship at the third Rolex Series event of the 2021 Race to Dubai.
The 30-year-old will no doubt receive a warm welcome this week at the prestigious Wentworth Club, where fans will return in their droves after last year’s event was played behind closed doors due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
He will be one of a popular trio teeing it up on Thursday afternoon, joined by three-time Major winning Irishman Harrington and Norwegian Viktor Hovland, who will make his Ryder Cup debut at Whistling Straits.
“It kind of feels surreal being back and being defending champion here,” said Hatton. “Firstly, it’s amazing to see the stands back and all the players this week, obviously looking forward to welcoming fans back and I’m sure they will create a great atmosphere for us to play in this week. The course is in great shape and yeah, it’s just nice to be back here.
“I guess I’ve been lucky to play well during these big events. I certainly don’t try and change my routine or anything like that. They have fallen on good weeks for me and obviously I’m very thankful for that.
“It’s obviously good memories coming back here. To be honest I only live sort of 25, 35 minutes away anyway. Been lucky enough to play here numerous times when I’ve been back here in the UK to the point where it almost feels a bit like a second home course.
“I feel pretty comfortable out there, and hopefully I can have a good week this week. I know my form’s not been that great for the last sort of three or four months maybe but hopefully I can find something this week that if I make the Ryder Cup team, certainly I can help the team out.”
Harrington will be looking at the progress of Hatton intently, hoping the Englishman can rediscover his winning form of last year in time for Whistling Straits. The Dubliner was able to reveal a number of guaranteed starters ahead of this week’s Surrey assignment but he admits the door is still open for a late bloomer to force his way into the reckoning.
“It’s an interesting week,” said Harrington. “There’s obviously a number of players who are 100 percent qualified (for the European Ryder Cup team) at this stage, Jon Rahm, Rory McIlroy, Paul Casey, Tommy Fleetwood and Viktor Hovland, so they are all in 100 per cent, with a few more players that are virtually there.
“I’m told Tyrrell Hatton is not 100 per cent, if he’s not in on Sunday, so many things must have happened that it would be something strange. So, he’s virtually there and Matt Fitzpatrick is virtually there and Lee (Westwood) is right up there as well.
“But there are a number of players who can push their way into the team and a lot of points to play for this week. We wanted a bit of drama at the end and a bit of excitement, so yeah, it’s going to be an interesting week.”
Harrington tees off alongside Hatton and Viktor Hovland at 12.40pm on Thursday.
- Full tee-times HERE