There are other notable contenders in this year’s Majors who, bar a couple of inches here or there, would have had their names engraved on those trophies.
These being; McIlroy, Zalatoris, Rahm, Smith and Morikawa. It's less than three weeks to go until the final Major of the year which is a very special Major championship as it's the 150th Open Championship being held at The Old Course at St Andrews. Needless to say, it's a big one and winning this event will be a huge feather in the cap of the Champion Golfer of the year.
If you've managed to watch the last 2 events; the Canadian Open and the US Open, you have been treated to two incredible final rounds with Rory just pipping Thomas to the title in Canada by shooting a 62 in the final round; then the to-ing and froing of the lead of the US Open's final round was little short of mesmerising. Fitzpatrick’s game has been trending in all the right directions which has notched up seven top 10s in his last 11 events, including a tied 5th at the USPGA Championship.
The Country Club, it's safe to say, has been very kind to him in the past, as it is the venue where he won the US Amateur Championship 10 years ago. In winning The US Open at the same venue he has just joined a very elite club of people that have won both titles at the same venue, Jack Nicklaus being the other.
Fitzpatrick is an immensely likeable player and person, a little bit like Hogan he doesn't do anything remarkable, but he does everything extremely well. His work ethic is highly noted by his peers, his company is sought after, and his competitive metal is as tough and reliable as the steel produced within his hometown of Sheffield.
A great example of his likability is the Brookline members, who put him up 10 years ago when he won the US Amateur, also hosted the Fitzpatricks this last week. Matt said that he wanted to keep the memories of his great victory a decade ago at the forefront of his experience this past week. Preparation is everything after all but to remain in contact with the family who hosted you 10 years ago and for them to open up their doors again, shows that family Fitzpatrick don't just leave and forget you, they maintain their relationships.
The Hogan reference comes from the incredible stats he produced at Brookline in the final round where he hit 17 of the 18 greens in regulation. That is ‘Hoganesque’ and if you saw the shot he hit out of the bunker on 18, shaping it some 40 feet in the air left to right to avoid the upslope of the island in the bunker, you would appreciate why his fellow competitors respect his competitive steel. His playing partner Zalatoris didn't think the shot was on, the Yorkshire man thought differently and hit one of the best golf shots of his life, under the extreme pressure of the 18th hole, final round, of the US Open.
Billy on the bag
The final touching and poignant story of the week is that his Caddy, the great Billy Foster, who has four decades experience caddying for the very best players, courtesy of Fitzpatrick, had a significant monkey taken off his back. His past players include Severiano Ballesteros, Darren Clarke, Lee Westwood and on occasion Tiger Woods, the one common denominator which Billy Foster has with these players is that they never won a Major championship with Billy on the bag. So when you see his reaction to Zalatoris’ putt going past the hole, his head down, hand on the bill of his cap, not able to look at Fitzpatrick you know that this nearly 40 years of disappointment was being wiped clean with one spectacular afternoon’s golf from his new player. The gratitude, relief and joy was there for everyone to see.
What makes this really interesting if you fast forward 20 days or so, one of Matt Fitzpatrick's favourite golf courses is St Andrews. Just a thought for you readers who like to have a flutter.