The Brit was ordered to hand over everything of value when he and his manager were sat on a hotel shuttle bus
BIRKDALE will hold no fears for Tyrrell Hatton — after he suffered the genuine terror of being robbed at gunpoint.
The Brit was ordered to hand over everything of value when he and his manager were sat on a hotel shuttle bus.
It happened during a tournament in South Africa and Hatton — England’s most successful player at last year’s Open, when he finished joint fifth — still shivers at the memory of the nightmare incident.
He said: “It happened after I’d gone into a shopping centre in Johannesburg and was on the shuttle bus back to the hotel.
“Two guys burst in on us and one of them screamed in my face and pushed a gun to my chest.
“When that happens you are obviously terrified.
“You think even if he doesn’t want to shoot you, what if he does it accidentally? It’s a scary thing to go through.”
He added: “I’d had a premonition trouble was coming.
“We were at Mandela Square and while waiting for the hotel shuttle I noticed a red car go past us three or four times.
“I was thinking, ‘What is this guy doing? It all looks a bit suspicious’.
“Eventually our bus came and I saw the car reverse past us and speed off. But as we got near to the hotel the same car pulled out in front of the bus, forcing the driver to stop.
“Two guys jumped out and pointed guns at the driver, who took his hands off the wheel and held them in the air.
“Then the nearest one thrust a gun into my chest and said, ‘Give me your watch, give me your wallet’.
“I was with my manager, who was the only other person on the bus. I handed over my watch and opened my wallet — I only had about eighty rand in it, which is about five pounds.
“I was quite lucky really. I ended up losing my watch and a small amount of cash but my manager lost quite a bit more.
“They’d taken the watch he was wearing, which was a wedding present from his wife, and took his phone and wallet as well. He’d also bought a watch while we were shopping.
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“But at the end of the day we could thank our lucky stars we weren’t hurt — or worse.
“Items can be replaced but it was a really scary experience.”
Hatton, 25, reported the ordeal to the police but none of the items was recovered.
The world No24 added: “When I look back I’m more shocked than anything else.
“Even though you’re warned Jo’burg can be dangerous, I’d always walked around the area and thought nothing of it.
“You are kind of naive, imagining that kind of thing won’t ever happen to you.”