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Five Minutes With: Matt Fitzpatrick

March 17, 2014

The US Amateur champion reached the fourth round of last week’s Sunningdale Foursomes before embarking on a five-week trip to the States during which he will play in The Masters and two other PGA Tour events. He talks about his hopes for Augusta and his plans moving further ahead.

THE POST What made you decide to play in this year’s Sunningdale Foursomes?
FITZPATRICK When I decided not to go back to college in Chicago I realised I had a lot of free time so put it into my schedule. My partner is Barry Downing who is a clubmate of mine at Hallamshire Golf Club. Dad and I have known him for years. I think I’m right in saying he’s won two European Mid-Amateurs so he can play a bit. It’s the first time I have played at Sunningdale so it was all new for me.

THE POST How would you assess your game at this early stage of the season?
FITZPATRICK It’s not far away from being good. Last week I was in Spain playing for England in the European Nations Cup and I was a bit rusty after the winter break. I didn’t score very well but I felt as if I was hitting it pretty well. I just struggled a bit from 120 yards in and didn’t hole any putts. But, other than that it was okay.

Matt Fitzpatrick

THE POST The European Nations Cup was the start of a hectic spell for you wasn’t it?
FITZPATRICK Yes. I was at Sotogrande last week and then was home for one day before coming down here. Then on Saturday I’m lying to America for ive weeks which is going to be great.

THE POST What is your schedule once you get to the States?
FITZPATRICK I’m playing the Arnold Palmer tournament at Bay Hill and then have a practice week at Augusta before playing against Garrick (Porteous) in the annual Georgia Cup (in which the reigning US Amateur champion plays against his British equivalent). After that it’s back to Augusta for The Masters and then on to Harbour Town for the Heritage. Winning the US Amateur has opened a lot of doors for me. It has changed everything for me.

THE POST Was that why you decided not to go back to Northwestern University after Christmas?
FITZPATRICK Yes, it was. I didn’t feel I could turn down the opportunities I got from winning the US Amateur. If I’d stayed at college, I wouldn’t have been able to play at Bay Hill or Harbour Town. These might be once-in-a-lifetime opportunities for me so I didn’t feel I could turn them down. I discussed it with my family and we all agreed it was the best thing to do. It wasn’t an easy decision to take because I enjoyed it at Northwestern. But it was deinitely the right thing to do under the circumstances.

THE POST Who is making the trip to Augusta trip with you?
FITZPATRICK I’ve got a lot of family and friends coming out to Augusta so it’s going to be great fun. I still have to pinch myself when I start thinking about playing in The Masters. It’s the sort of thing you dream about when you’re growing up but doesn’t happen to many people. I just want to enjoy the occasion and do the best I can. My goal is to make the cut and push on from there. I’d be happy just to play all four days.

THE POST Where are you staying at Augusta?
FITZPATRICK I’m going to stay in the Crow’s Nest in the clubhouse because that’s part of the tradition of The Masters. Over the years a lot of the amateurs have stayed there so it’s all part of the occasion as far I’m concerned. I’m not sure how many nights I will stay there. Maybe one. Maybe more. The chances are I will stay there for the whole week.

THE POST What are your plans for the rest of the year?
FITZPATRICK I’m just going to wait and see. If I have a couple of good results it might potentially be worthwhile turning pro after playing in the US Open and the Open. It’s all a bit up in the air at the moment. We’ll reassess things once I have a few events under my belt and see how I do. I might play a few of the top amateur events but, to be honest, I think I will be concentrating more on playing in pro events this season just to see where I am in comparison with the big guys. I will deinitely be playing in the AT&T National which is Tiger’s tournament. I’m playing the Scottish Open and we’re trying to get invites for a couple of other things as well. It’s going to be a very exciting year.

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