Tyrrell Hatton has talked about how a motivational video featuring former Ryder Cup captains Sam Torrance, Jose Maria Olazabal and Brian Huggett moved Europe’s players to tears before they handed out a hammering to the strongest American team in the event’s history in France last week.
Released this week by the European Tour through social media, the short video, which was played by home captain Thomas Bjorn in the European team room the night before the biennial event got underway, had a galvanising effect.
It started with Welshman Huggett, a six-time Ryder Cup player before captaining Great Britain & Ireland in 1977, the last match before it became a European team, saying: “As you get older, things get taken away from you and that’s a part of life. You learn to treasure the opportunities you’ve had and reflect on those moments that have defined you, both good and bad.”
Taking over, Torrance, the man who raised his arms to the skies in celebration after holing the winning putt at The Belfry in 1985 before captaining a winning side at the same venue 17 years later, added: “This is more than just a game. You live it, you breath it and you’ve worked hard to be here and it’s not just about taking part.....it’s about winning, nothing else.”
Olazabal, who formed one of the event’s great partnerships with fellow Spaniard Seve Ballesteros, was unable to contain his emotions as he delivered part of his message. With tears in his eyes, he said: “Seve showed me there are times where you need to reach into the depths of your soul to get you through. Honesty is everything. You only get out what you put in. But you never give up.”
Other messages from the trio included Torrance saying “you give it absolutely everything, so come Sunday night you can honestly say to yourself, I had no more to give”, while Olazabal, recalling a line from his closing ceremony as a winning captain at Medinah in 2012, added: “All men die but not all men live. Well, this is the time to feel alive”.
Speaking at St Andrews as he prepared to try to win the Dunhill Links Championship for the third year in a row this weekend, Hatton told The Scotsman: “I think everyone had a lump in their throat. There were a few tears and it’s hard not to well up a bit watching something like that.
“For me personally [as a newcomer to the event], it was a great video and you can’t wait to go out there and give it your all. That’s all you can do. It was a special video. There was a quote in there which said ‘wear them down with excellence’, which is a good quote, and I guess you can say by the end of the week we did.”
In another video released since the match in Paris ended, Tommy Fleetwood and Francesco Molinari were filmed waking up in the same bed after they won four out of four points together before the latter became the first European player in the event’s history to claim five out of five. “It was real, we just got caught, and I don’t know how it happened,” joked Fleetwood, the only other member of the triumphant team in the field for this week’s £3.85 million event at St Andrews, Kingbarns and Carnoustie, where the Englishman shot a course-record 63 a year ago.
“Separation anxiety is high right now,” he added of the partnership that was dubbed ‘Moliwood’ such was its strength. “I sent Frankie a text last night to say I missed him and I haven’t spoken to him this morning, so it’s a struggle.”
Adopting a more serious tone, Fleetwood continued: “I haven’t really come out the bubble of the Ryder Cup team yet so it’s back to reality a bit here. It’s nice to hit balls again and we spoke last night with the guys I work with about resetting. It’s nice to keep reliving that winning moment of such a special week in my career and it is the best moment I’ve experienced in my career as a golfer.
“I have a good mentality and a good perspective on things. I was a rookie, but I was playing with one of my best friends in Fran and he doesn’t make you nervous when he is next to you and he led me very well so I was lucky to have that.”
Hatton’s rivals in that bid for an historic Dunhill Links title hat-trick also include Brooks Koepka and Tony Finau, two members of the losing US team last week, as well at Matt Kuchar, who was one of Jim Furyk’s assistant captains at Le Golf National.
Others in the Dunhill field include Matt Wallace, who just missed out on one of Bjorn’s wildcards after recording his third win of the season in the final qualifying event, the Made in Denmark, as well as Matt Fitzpatrick, who claimed the European Masters title the following week.
Hatton, though, is definitely the man to beat, having been a combined 48-under for his last eight rounds in this event. “I enjoy the courses and winning here the previous two years it’s great to be back,” he said. “I don’t feel too bad after Sunday’s celebrations and I feel my game is in a good place. I don’t see why I can’t [win again].”