TYRRELL Hatton will compete against arguably the best golfer who has ever lived this week.
The 22-year-old from Marlow is playing in the Omega Dubai Desert Classic at the Emirates Golf Club alongside 14-time major winner Tiger Woods.
Woods finished inside the top five in five of his six previous visits to the event and heads a field that boasts 25 majors, 85 European Tour winners and 401 Tour victories However, keeping this sort of company is no longer a one-off for Hatton, whose European Tour card places him within the boundaries of golf’s inner circle.
Out of more than seven billion people in the world, he is now the 275th best golfer. He was 308th last week and 375th at the turn of the year. Twelve month earlier he was in the 900s.
It’s an incredible surge up the rankings and a long, long way from the six year old who once played a round with the deputy editor of the Bucks Free Press.
A place in the world’s top 50 is within his grasp now, according to his manager John Fay, chief executive of Georgia Group, and the signs this year are good.
He finished inside the top ten in his first signifcant tournament on the European Tour when rounds of 69, 71, 70 and 71 earned him more than £25,000 at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship.
And he proved that was no fluke last weekend at the Qatar Masters when rounds of 69, 71, 71 and 68 took him to 22nd place and another big cheque.
Going back to the end of last season, Hatton has now finished inside the top ten in four of his last eight events and inside the top 30 in nine of his last 12 tournaments.
Hatton tees off at 12.45 on Thursday alongside Edoardo Molinari and Graeme Storm.
The following weekend he will be in South Africa for the Joburg Open.