Hatton a Ryder Cup Captain’s dream
Pádraig Harrington described Tyrrell Hatton as a "Ryder Cup Captain's dream" following his impressive victory at last week's Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, the first Rolex Series event of 2021.
Since having an operation on his injured wrist in November 2019, Hatton has won three times around the world.
The first of these came at the Arnold Palmer Invitational on the PGA TOUR in March 2020, followed by two Rolex Series victories on the European Tour at the BMW PGA Championship and most recently at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.
Such form has propelled the 2018 Ryder Cup rookie into fifth position in the Official World Golf Rankings.
“He’s everything you'd want in a player,” said Harrington. “Tyrrell seems to have it when he comes under pressure on the big occasions with big players staring him down, like he was going against Rory (McIlroy) and Tommy Fleetwood last week.
“He's a Ryder Cup Captain's dream, isn't he? That's exactly what you want, a player that has that gumption and can really get it done.
“Even though he's won four times over the last year, they have been nicely spread out and it is not flash-in-the-pan stuff. He keeps delivering.
“I was very impressed with his win in Bay Hill last year down the stretch and again he proved it last week. From a captain's point of view it was very impressive. That's the sort of stuff I'd like to see all my players doing.”
The 49-year-old was keen to stress that players who were in form during the original qualification period, before the global health crisis postponed The 2020 Ryder Cup – now set for this coming September at Whistling Straits - have not been forgotten about.
"I do agree that the points are set up so that if you play well over the next eight months then you will make the team, but I hope I set the points up - I was very involved in this - to respect those players who have already played well," he added.
"So Victor Perez, he's almost there with his points. The work he's done when it was the (original) qualification period, that hasn't been thrown away.
"Part of the Ryder Cup is about being fair to all the players and giving everybody as fair a chance of making the team.
"One hundred per cent, there will be a few stalwarts that are definitely going to be there.
"An extra year is going to be a year too far for the older guys. There is a little bit of the changing of the guard. I am looking forward to seeing a few rookies come through in the next eight months and set themselves out as the new stars."
The 15 time European Tour winner also spoke of the reasons that he has chosen to stick with three wildcard picks, despite the disrupted 2020 Race to Dubai season, as he believes players who qualify through the points system deserve the right to be in Team Europe.
"I did have a choice of how many wildcards I had and I didn't want any more than three," Harrington said.
"I believe players should have the right to qualify. Those who qualify deserve to be there, I think that's why we are good in Europe, because of the system. It gives everybody a chance.
"It shouldn't be exclusive that it is only limited to those who are supposedly the best players. You have to give the rookies a chance to qualify, you have to give them the fair crack of the whip.
"Giving me six picks, while it would have given me a hell of a headache, I don't think it will help the morale of the team. You don't want any doubt in your team. My three picks are to build on the nine that qualify."