After a positive end to the year in which he was pleased to have found his game again, Tyrrell Hatton has turned attention to continuing that trend in 2020.
The goals are clear: another win, to add to his November triumph at the Turkish Airlines Open; a first victory on the PGA Tour; and to sample once more the white-hot heat of a Ryder Cup.
Hatton had that in 2018, as a member of the victorious European team. An away match, next September in the United States, offers a significantly distinct challenge, though.
“I imagine it’s going to be a completely different atmosphere,” said Hatton on the sidelines of a golf day for sponsors Audemars Piguet. “A home Ryder Cup was incredible. The support we all received that week was something I’ll always remember – I just get goose bumps thinking about it.
“It’ll be a completely different feeling being on a Ryder Cup team playing in the States. If I am lucky enough to be there hopefully I would be able to manage it well.”
Hatton, 28, coped well enough in France last year. One of Thomas Bjorn’s five rookies, he won one of his three matches – a morale-boosting victory alongside Paul Casey in the fourball against Dustin Johnson and Rickie Fowler – and generally handled the stresses and strains unique to the Ryder Cup.
It is something he believes will stand him in good stead, should he make Padraig Harrington’s side for Whistling Straits in nine months’ time.
“It’s the highest pressure that I’ve been in,” Hatton says. “I felt like I dealt with that pretty well. And my game was in good shape, so there'd be no problems in me going out to the States and performing well and doing my bit for the team. But obviously there’s a long way to go for that to happen.”
The win in Turkey has certainly put him on the right track. In Antalya, Hatton emerged from a six-man play-off to end more than two years without a victory. It was his fourth European Tour title. Being a Rolex Series event, it also set him up well in that quest for another Ryder Cup spot.
“It’s been a pretty tough year up until then – just had a few things going on off course and generally struggled for form throughout the year,” Hatton says. “So winning in Turkey changed the whole look of the year, to be honest. Turned it into a good year.
“Finishing ninth in the Race to Dubai is really good, so I’m delighted with that from where I was a few months ago. And winning in Turkey gave great points for the Ryder Cup, so hopefully I can take some form into 2020 and we’ll go from there."
Despite what he considers an otherwise disappointing campaign until Turkey, Hatton still racked up some decent finishes, including a tied-6th at the Open in July and again at the CJ Cup in October.
He returns to action in a few weeks at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship presented by EGA, followed immediately by the Omega Dubai Desert Classic, events at which he has performed well in the past.
Hatton was tied-6th in Abu Dhabi in 2015, while he finished third in Dubai in 2017 and 2018.
“I love starting my season in the Middle East and it’s been pretty kind to me the past few years,” the Englishman says. “Obviously I enjoy the golf courses and hopefully I can do well there when we go back out.
“Because it’s big Ryder Cup points, as most events are for next year. The main goal would be making the team again. It was amazing to be part of that in 2018 and, this being an away match, that’d be great as well. Hopefully I can play well and do it, but we’ll see what happens. Turkey gave me a lit of confidence.”