Capturing his first win in 3 years, Tyrrell Hatton shakes off U.S. Open disappointment to dominate LIV Golf Nashville

June 24, 2024

Tyrrell Hatton was temporarily blinded by champagne when LIV Golf’s announcers stuck a microphone in his face to ask how his first win in the league, and first professional victory in more than three years, felt.

“Pretty special,” the colorful Englishman said at LIV Golf Nashville, moments after his teammate, and close friend, Jon Rahm, soaked him in bubbles and called him a “f—ing legend.”

Hatton, who joined LIV days before the season opener in January to play on the Legion XIII team captained by Rahm, earned his first win worldwide since the 2021 Abu Dhabi HSBC on the DP World Tour. Hatton shot 65-64-65 for three rounds at the Grove to finish at 19 under par (194), six shots ahead of countryman Sam Horsfield in second. Hatton pocketed $4 million for his individual win, as well as a quarter of the $3 million Legion XIII secured for its team win. Rahm was tied for third at 12 under alongside last week’s U.S. Open champion, Bryson DeChambeau, as well as Joaquin Niemann and Lee Westwood.

“For all those out there didn’t know how good Tyrrell is, he’s a player with a lot of anger inside of him in a good way,” said Rahm, Hatton’s Ryder Cup teammate in Rome last year. “He’s gotten it done it on PGA Tour and DP World Tour and now here. That was some performance.”

An elite ball striker and world-class putter with a three-shot lead starting the final day, Hatton’s biggest battle was against himself. He said as much on Saturday after he followed nine straight pars with six birdies in seven holes to close Round 2.

“Most things test my patience,” Hatton said through laughter.

Hatton, a six-time DP World Tour winner and the 2020 champion at Bay Hill on the PGA Tour, is beloved in the golf world for his colorful outbursts after bad shots or following rounds on courses and setups he doesn’t like. On Sunday in Nashville, he appeared calm but admitted, “in my head, it was stressful.”

No more stressful than at the par-4 10th, where his temper was first tested. Hatton drove into a fairway bunker from the tee before he thinned the approach over the back of the green. “These guys [my teammates] know, I’m internally screaming in fairway bunkers,” he said. But the World No. 22 made a tricky par putt to keep Rahm, who was two shots back, at arm’s length.

Another test came when the horn blew after heavy rain caused a 23-minute suspension. Hatton and his LIV peers remained on the course given there was no lightning. Once play resumed, Hatton hit a wedge to tap-in distance for birdie at the par-4 14th to increase his lead.

At the party hole, the par-3 15th, a massive crowd in a grandstand surrounding the tee playfully chanted “whoooooaa” during Hatton’s backswing. But Hatton almost slam dunked the tee shot for a near ace, walking away with another birdie.

Hatton credited last week’s U.S. Open at Pinehurst No. 2, when the firm, fast conditions and crowned greens meant every shot was on a knife’s edge, for raising the threshold of his temper. He had started the final round well in contention at one under par but plummeted to a tie for 26th after a seven-over 77 at Pinehurst.

“I was happy that I proved to myself [I can win], especially bouncing back after the disappointment of last Sunday when I struggled the way I did,” Hatton said. “[Today] was going to be a really important day for me. It was nice to play the last few holes and it not be super tight. I guess having not won for three and a half years, you wonder if you’d be able to do it again in some way.”

The Nashville crowds gave Hatton plenty of support, but that warmth paled in comparison to DeChambeau, who was cheered and saluted on every hole. DeChambeau did well to finish only seven shots behind one week after an epic battle against Rory McIlroy at Pinehurst, which preceded a complete New York City talk show tour where he showed off his second major championship trophy.

In Hatton, and DeChambeau, LIV has two of professional golf’s biggest characters and the home of country music seemed a good fit for the fledgling league’s “golf, but louder” mantra. Crowds were healthy for the first and final rounds while the second round on Saturday was sold out. Merchandise sales for LIV increased 308 percent in the week after Pinehurst, while DeChambeau’s team, Crushers GC, also enjoyed a 985 percent sales surge. LIV Golf experienced a Bryson Bump, and it will need to lean on Hatton, DeChambeau and Rahm to sustain the momentum it may lose in the U.S. this summer. The rival circuit now rests for two weeks before heading to Europe for July.

Locally, LIV Golf Spain in mid-July—which goes up against the PGA Tour’s Scottish Open—should get plenty of traction given it will be played at the famed Valderrama course in Andalucía, a former DP World and PGA Tour host course. On top of that, the country’s own hero, two-time major winner Rahm, will headline the field along with DeChambeau. The golf world will also be paying attention to European golf given the Scottish Open and LIV Spain will be played the week before the Open Championship at Royal Troon. The question is whether the league can sustain that buzz until its next event in the U.S., seven weeks from now at The Greenbrier in mid-August.

Not that Hatton is worrying about any of that. When asked about the Open, where he tied for fifth place at Royal Troon in 2016, he deflected to celebrations post-Nashville and a golf trip to Ireland the week before Valderrama.

“I’m going to enjoy this one, with two weeks off at home,” he said. “Then a lads’ Guinness golf tour in Ireland before Valderrama. It’ll be nice to have a bit of downtime and then try get ready for Valderrama and take some momentum into the Open.”