To use his own words, Tyrrell Hatton “had a bit of an incident in Mexico.”
No, he didn’t get into any trouble; that’s just how he described the scenario where he was put on the clock during the final round of the WGC-Mexico Championship a few weeks ago. Hatton was playing in the final trio with Shubhankar Sharma and Phil Mickelson, and the incident was not so much getting timed more strictly, it’s that Mickelson wasn’t put on the clock at all, according to Hatton.
The world No. 14 told the story on the Sky Sports Golf Podcast this week, saying that both he and Sharma were put on the clock down the stretch while Mickelson wasn’t.
“Sharma wasn’t that slow, to be honest. He was fine,” Hatton said. “But Phil, I feel like, was taking a lot of time. We’d had a warning earlier on in the round to speed up. We kind of did, but not massively. I’ve just birdied 14 so I’m tied with Phil. You’ve got four holes left to play, it’s sort of crunch time. We’ve all hit good tee shots on 15 and one of the officials drives over and says, ‘Phil, you’re exempt, but Tyrrell and Sharma, I’m going to start timing you.’
“Phil goes, ‘Well, he obviously likes me.’ I was raging. Danny, my player manager, was walking with me. I walked over to him as I got near the ball and said, ‘Can you believe what this referee has just done?'”
As Hatton goes on to note, he would make eagle on that 15th hole, but felt rushed on the 16th green and very nearly bogeyed the hole. He eventually bogeyed the 18th hole to miss the playoff by one stroke.
“That’s the first time I’ve been in that situation in a WGC,” Hatton continued. “Obviously I’ve grown up watching golf and Phil has been around a helluva long time, and I’m trying my best to beat him, but I just found that slightly off-putting. When I come away from the tournament, it’s frustrating that actually happened.'”
Mickelson went on to win in a playoff against Justin Thomas for his first victory on the PGA Tour in nearly five years.
The Tour did not immediately return a request for comment.
You can catch the entire podcast and breakdown from Hatton on the Sky Sports Golf Podcast here. The pace of play discussion begins around the 37-minute mark.