Saying that Tyrrell Hatton loathes Yas Links’ 664-yard, par-5 18th might be an understatement.
Hatton was the defending champion of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, though, last year it was played at Abu Dhabi Golf Club. This year, he had a chance to successfully defend his title if it wasn’t for Yas Links’ closing hole.
On No. 18, he carded a double-bogey 7 on Day 2 and a quadruple-bogey 9 in Round 3. If he would have just made a bogey — or better — there each of those two days, he would have won the event by a stroke (theoretically). But instead, he placed T-6 at 7 under, three strokes behind winner Thomas Pieters, despite a closing 67.
“I would love for a bomb to drop on it and blow it to oblivion to be honest,” he said to reporters on site. “It’s just such a terrible finishing hole. And the fact that they moved the tee back today is ridiculous. I hit a really good tee shot and still had 290 [yards to the] front. I could peg-up a driver and still not get there. It would be a much better finishing hole if you’re actually rewarded for hitting the fairway, which as it stands, you’re not.”
Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship
The 30-year-old Englishman’s Round 3 quadruple-bogey resulted in him breaking his club in half. However, on Sunday, he managed to record a birdie on his 72nd hole in Abu Dhabi. But that didn’t mend his relationship with the daunting par 5.
“I definitely still think it is an awful hole,” he said following his final round. “Today we were off the very back tees, and you wonder why when you want to encourage aggressive golf and make it exciting for the spectators. I’m obviously not a fan. If we’re coming back here next year, it would be nice if they redesigned it.”
The DP World Tour’s 2023 opener is set to head back to Yas Links. But because of its closing hole, Hatton is undecided if he’ll return to the event.
“We are due to come back here next year and it would be nice if they redesigned it,” he said. “But I think that’s a bit of an ask. Perhaps I may not be back.”