Hatton's hoodie, major breakthrough: golf talking points

Hong Kong (AFP) –


An Englishman's unusual apparel and a South Korean's long-awaited win feature in AFP Sport's golf talking points this week:

- Fashion snobs dealt a blow -

Tyrrell Hatton moved into the world's top 10 for the first time with a brilliant victory in the European Tour's flagship PGA Championship on Sunday, but had to spend much of the weekend defending his choice of clothing at a chilly Wentworth, near London.

The hoodies he wore to keep warm in the autumnal weather divided golf fans on social media and sparked a debate about so-called traditional attire in the sport, often seen as a stuffy barrier to young people taking up the sport.

Hatton, who added a second 2020 win to his Arnold Palmer Invitational triumph, defended his sartorial choice, an option also favoured in the past by world number three Justin Thomas to raised eyebrows from golf fuddy-duddies everywhere.

"The hoodies look good and there's no reason why there should be an issue with it," the forthright Hatton hit back.

"It creates a bit of debate. People are split, they don't know if they like it or not, but I think it's a cool thing that people are talking about it.

"They should be open to the idea of creating a more open sport rather than being kind of snobby."

- Kim casts off unwanted record -

Kim Sei-young finally shook off the tag of being the best player never to win a women's major when she broke through at the PGA Championship in Pennsylvania on Sunday -- and she did it in style.

The 27-year-old, who had recorded more LPGA Tour wins than any other active player yet to win a major, carded a bogey-free 63 to win by five strokes from Park In-bee, matching the lowest round in the 66-year history of the Women's PGA Championship and finishing with a record 14-under par 266 total.

Kim became the 18th South Korean to win a major since Pak Se-ri triumphed at the same tournament in 1998 to inspire a generation on the east Asian peninsula.

It was Kim's 11th victory on the LPGA Tour to stand third in the list of Koreans behind only five-time major champion Pak's 25 LPGA titles and runner-up Park, who has seven majors among her 20 wins on the elite women's tour.

"I dreamt of winning a major championship after seeing Pak Se-ri winning the first one for our country," Kim said.

"I didn't know it was going to take this long. I won't lie, I did feel the pressure. I'm so excited. I'm actually really hiding my tears."

- Sleepless in Seoul -

Talking of South Korea, the world's leading men should have been teeing on the country's picturesque southern island of Jeju on Thursday for the CJ Cup, the first event on the US PGA Tour's nearly $30 million dollar "Asian Swing".

However, Justin Thomas will defend the CJ Cup title -- which he has won for two of the past three years -- at Shadow Creek in Las Vegas, Nevada, where the tournament has relocated because of coronavirus travel restrictions in Asia.

Brooks Koepka, who pulled out of his title defence injured last year, is the only other player to have won the tournament since its inception in 2017, and he will play alongside Thomas and leading Korean Im Sung-jae for the first two rounds.

Other signature groups include world numbers one and two Dustin Johnson and Jon Rahm playing with big-hitting youngster Matthew Wolff, while Rory McIlroy will make his tournament debut alongside Sergio Garcia and another leading Korean Kim Si-woo, whose biggest win came at the 2017 Players' Championship.

It all makes for a feast of golf for Korean fans, the only problem being that they will have to stay up all night to watch. It's a 15-hour time difference from Las Vegas to Seoul.

- World rankings -

New world top 10 rankings as of October 12, 2020:


1. Dustin Johnson (USA) 10.06

2. Jon Rahm (ESP) 9.85

3. Justin Thomas (USA) 8.65

4. Rory McIlroy (NIR) 7.77

5. Bryson DeChambeau (USA) 7.51 (+1)

6. Collin Morikawa (USA) 7.49 (-1)

7. Webb Simpson (USA) 7.11

8. Xander Schauffele (USA) 6.60

9. Patrick Reed (USA) 6.08

10. Tyrrell Hatton (ENG) 5.96 (+5)


1. Ko Jin-young (KOR) 7.83

2. Kim Sei-young (KOR) 6.87 (+5)

3. Nelly Korda (USA) 6.59 (-1)

4. Park In-bee (KOR) 6.18 (+5)

5. Danielle Kang (USA) 6.15 (-2)

6. Nasa Hataoka (JPN) 5.91 (-1)

7. Brooke Henderson (CAN) 5.77 (-3)

8. Park Sung-hyun (KOR) 5.23

9. Minjee Lee (AUS) 5.15 (-3)

10. Lexi Thompson (USA) 4.81