Tyrrell Hatton won a tournament last year for the third consecutive season but said on Wednesday that he’s struggling to remain motivated.
In a brutally honest self-assessment ahead of his title defense at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, Hatton said that he’s never been a range rat but that he’s finding it particularly challenging now to get up for practice sessions.
“Some guys obviously really enjoy their practice and they’ve got a good routine in that sense, and they do games and stuff to try to keep it interesting. But I’ve always really struggled with that kind of thing,” he told reporters. “I definitely don’t switch on to it, so I’m not really focused whilst I’m there. It can be a little bit of a waste of time.
“Going through the motions is almost what I do when I warm up before I go and play; just kind of going through every other club in the bag, and that’s kind of me on the range. Generally, that’s how I’ve been for a long time. But at the moment, it certainly seems harder to get myself to go to the range to go through that process.”
Full-field tee times from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship
That lack of dedicated, serious practice time could partly explain why Hatton’s form has tailed off. Over the past year he has dropped from 10th to 22nd in the world rankings while floundering in the majors, missing two cuts and never finishing better than 18th.
Hatton said he recently flew to Orlando to complete a two-week boot camp to get his body and mind right for the new year. “In 2020, I was working pretty hard in the gym throughout the whole year, in a much better place fitness-wise. More comfortable in my own skin, and I think that allowed me to go play better golf.”
But over the past half year? “I was doing no training. Wasn’t that motivated to practice either. I just tried to get back into it, really. Find the motivation to go and do it. Training-wise has been good. Still struggle with how to practice and what actually, when I get there, is just going through the motions. But that’s a work in progress, for sure.”
Hatton described himself as a “fair-weather golfer,” who, even as a junior, would struggle to get up and go practice in the winter months. He was content staying inside or playing soccer.
Now that he’s 30, and in the athletic prime of his career, he senses a change is necessary.
“I much prefer playing than practicing on the range – I’ve always said that,” he said. “And I haven’t really been out on the course a huge amount when I’m back home. So that’s something that I probably need to get back into and try to find some enjoyment and a reason to go out there and do it, too.”