Ryder Cup postponed until 2021 due to COVID-19
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Tyrrell Hatton admitted he was ‘surprised’ to not already have his Ryder Cup place secured ahead of his BMW PGA Championship title defence this week.
Hatton’s astonishment came after Team Europe announced the first five players to automatically qualify for the event, with Jon Rahm, Rory McIlroy, Tommy Fleetwood, Paul Casey and Viktor Hovland all booking a spot at Whistling Straits this month.
Hatton finds himself in and around his already qualified teammates in the Ryder Cup standings, sitting third in the European Points List ahead of McIlroy, and fifth in the World Points List ahead of Fleetwood.
As a result, not having his name confirmed alongside Rahm, McIlroy and co came as a surprise to the BMW PGA Championship winner.
Speaking ahead of his title defence at Wentworth he said: “Paddy [Harrington] told me, it was a touch surprising.
“It’s something like 99.99 per cent in but I think the best thing is – it’s not guaranteed and it saves any awkward stuff on social media I guess if that was to go out and someone was to point out, if this situation happened.”
Despite not being named alongside Europe’s first five names, it seems Hatton will not need to worry, after captain Harrington assured the Englishman his second Ryder Cup appearance was all-but secured following this week’s event.
The 29-year-old is taking nothing for granted however, as he eyes another strong week in Surrey.
He added: “So obviously not guaranteed but that doesn’t change anything going into this week. Yeah, there’s a lot of points up for grabs and hopefully I can have a strong week.”
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The six-time European Tour winner secured his fifth title at last year’s BMW PGA Championship, and admitted he was happy to return as reigning champion to Wentworth, a course he holds close to his heart.
The defending champion commented: “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.
“So 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 hopefully I can help the team out.”
One thing that was missing from the Englishman’s 2020 win was the famous Wentworth crowd, after the event was played behind closed doors due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
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Fortunately the 2021 tournament sees the return of supporters to the course stands, something Hatton is looking forward to.
He added: “It kind of feels surreal being back and being defending champion here. 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, and the course is in great shape and it’s just nice to be back here.
“It would be great to put up a good defence this week, so I’d love to have another chance to win. I know it would certainly make it very special. I’m going to have all my family here this week. So it will be nice to play well in front of them.”
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