In this week’s Player Blog presented by Enterprise Rent-A-Car Englishman Tyrrell Hatton – who grew up a 30-minute drive away from Wentworth Golf Club – looks back at when he came to watch the BMW PGA Championship as a child.
My first trip to Wentworth? I think I must have been five – or that’s what my dad tells me. I would always come with just my dad, he always managed to get tickets whatever way he could, and when I look back now my earliest memory is being here for the World Match Play in the late ‘90s. We were stood on the right side of the 18th and Vijay Singh, I can't remember who he was playing against, blocked his second shot right into the green and it rattled round in the trees and dropped down near us – that’s something I’ll always remember. For me, who wanted to be a pro when I was older, to come to a tournament here and see all the guys inside the ropes was incredible. You think they're superheroes at the time, as you can’t believe just how good they are. I always remember being excited walking around the fairways. When I left Wentworth to go back home, I couldn't wait to go to the golf course the next day and start practising again.
At the time Colin Montgomerie was my favourite player. He won three in a row in the ‘90s and at the time it seemed as though he’d never lose when he came to Wentworth. Maybe my on-course demeanour is similar to his in a way! I was actually looked after by Callaway from the age of five to the age of ten or 11, so I've got a picture of going on the Tour Truck with him, which was pretty cool but he was obviously in his peak at that time. I played one hole with him in Turkey a few years ago as a pro, but I’ve never had the chance to properly play a round with Monty.
Once Simon Khan went to give me his golf ball – and my dad saved me from getting hit on the head! I was always too shy to ask for a ball and put my hand out, so I had my hands in my pockets stood at the green on the fourth, the par five down the hill, and I'm just stood on that green and Simon Khan chucks a ball at me and I wasn't ready for it. It was going to be a headshot, it was going straight towards to my face but my dad literally just put his hand out and caught it. He properly saved the day there, but it would have been quite funny if it had hit me in the face. I still think about that now, although I only occasionally throw balls out to fans. I generally give the ball to my caddie on the green if we're changing and he'll throw a few out as and when.
When it comes to choosing my favourite hole at Wentworth it’s an easy decision. It has to be the 11th. Even now when I stand on that tee, there's something about that tee shot that makes you feel like you can stand there and nuke it down there! Sadly, more often than not, I just hit it off the planet for some reason, but I like the shape of the hole.
No matter how much you travel, there is no place like home. Even though I rent a place in the States now, the UK is – and always will be – home, and it’s always great being back here. I've had a really nice break recently. I've had five weeks off and four of those weeks were spent in the UK. We had a holiday in Croatia which was nice, but to have a long period of time at home is amazing and to play here at Wentworth while being able to stay at home makes it more special as well. I was in a group with Matt Fitzpatrick and Billy Horschel this week, so I got a good draw, and although I didn’t play well it was great to be out there in front of the home fans again. The support, as always, was fantastic and I’m looking forward to coming back to Wentworth soon.