Tyrrell Hatton celebrated his 29th birthday three days early yesterday when he won the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth, prevailing by a comfortable four shots from Victor Perez. This was his first appearance in Europe in 2020. The last time he’d played on this continent he had also been a winner, in Turkey last November.
There were six birdies in Hatton’s closing five-under-par 67. “It’s very special to be standing here holding this [trophy]”, declared the new champion. “It’s been a dream of mine since I was a kid to play the tournament and hopefully win it one day, and thankfully this year is my year.” Indeed, although if he wins it again, or whoever does next year, one hope spectators will be there to watch the proceedings.
By way of a sartorial footnote, let it be noted that Hatton achieved his victory while wearing a hoodie to keep out the autumn chill. As was pointed out, time was when that sort of kit would have got him kicked out of the clubhouse. “People are split but I think it’s a cool thing,” said Hatton. “We should be open to creating a more open sport. We don’t want it to be snobby. We need to move on.” Well said.
Also concluding yesterday was the Campeonato de Espana de Profesionales Masculino (alternatively known as the Spanish Closed Championship) at Logrono, where there were a couple of distinguished names on the scoreboard, names that had won the PGA at Wentworth in times gone by. There was José Maria Olazábal, who won it in 1994 but on Friday in northern Spain had to disqualify himself after his second round once he realised he had incorrectly taken a drop from what was in fact out-of-bounds. He would have missed the cut in any case, albeit four shots ahead of the most famous name in Spanish golf: Ballesteros.
Seve Ballesteros won the PGA Championship in 1983 and 1991. The guy teeing it up at Logrono was his 30-year-old son, Javier, who would not have been happy to have failed to make the weekend. In fact, he didn’t even finish low Ballesteros. One Manuel Ballesteros (no, not Seve’s brother, but the son of, therefore Javier’s cousin) finished four shots better. There was small consolation for Javier in that he finished three shots better than Miguel Angel Jimenez, the eldest son of… well, I’m sure you can figure that one out. On reflection, to reduce the likelihood of confusion, one can see why the Spanish are keen on the use of matronyms.
Finally, having referenced Seve and Ollie, two Spaniards to have won the Masters, I’ll leave you with the third, Sergio Garcia Fernandez. Last night he finished tied 43rd at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open on the PGA Tour. (The winner was Scotland’s Martin Laird.) Nothing too remarkable about that, agreed, except for one stat to emanate from the tournament. The cut fell at six under par. Yes, under. Since the PGA Tour began keeping detailed records in 1970, the mark has never previously been that low. What was that old phrase – “these guys are good”?
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