Twelve months on from his breakthrough win at last year’s British Masters, Matt Fitzpatrick talks about life changes, family cars, his Ryder Cup debut, getting lost at The Grove and being idolised by a winner of the Ballon d’Or.
It’s been a crazy year since my win at Woburn. It all seemed to happen so fast so I’ve spent a fair bit of time just trying to get used to it to be honest. A lot has changed, there have been plenty of doors opened and I managed to squeeze into the top 50 at the end of the year. But it was massive. I remember speaking to Chubby after I had won and we were both saying that it hadn’t really been on either of our radars to win so soon and so in that way it was a nice to tick off a goal straight away. It was a special week.
This time last year I was driving a Ford Mondeo but it’s no longer with us. It’s actually quite a long story behind it but I never actually owned that car! A member at my golf club had the car on his company insurance and gave it me to use for as long as I wanted it but it has been returned to him now. I guess that car has a bit of a story behind it now so there you go. I was talking about buying an Ascari A10 but I’m being sensible saving my money up and will hopefully buy a house eventually. But if you’re wondering, I’ve got a BMW X4 now…
I felt like I handled my nerves well at The Ryder Cup but that first tee is something else. All I could think was: ‘Just hit a good one, make contact, get it down there.’ I had a few swing thoughts with the driver that week because I hadn’t been hitting it as well as I’d like which added a bit of spice! But thankfully it went pretty well.
I grew up watching my Ryder Cup team-mates play so the experience at Hazeltine was very special. Sergio, Stenson, Westwood, Rosey – lots of them – so for me to be on the same team as them, in the team room with them, spending time with Rory as well, was incredible.
This is an amazing place we are in this week but I keep getting lost in the hotel! The Grove have been very kind to give me a very nice room to stay in and they’re looking after us fantastically. It’s a really nice hotel, I just need to start learning to find my way around!
I first met Luke Donald when I got into The Open in 2013 and ever since, we’ve got to know each other very well. Having both been to Northwestern University in Illinois we have that connection via our coach there, Pat Goss. There have been a few times when Luke has been around when I’ve been over there and we have done some practice together and he’s a great guy. And now he’s hosting this week as I’m defending so that’s a nice circle of events. It’s going to be a great week!
Seve is a legend and to have a chance to be mentioned in the same breath as him is an honour. I heard that if I were to defend my title this week at The Grove, I would become the youngest player to retain a European Tour title since Seve at Crans in 1978. Everybody knows what he achieved in the game so I think if you asked any player on earth they would say it would be amazing to be compared to him in any way.
It’s great to have someone like Luis Figo supporting you. He sent me a message of congratulations on Twitter after I won the British Masters last year – I didn’t see it at first but my dad spotted it and it was one of those ‘Bloody hell, it’s Luis Figo’ moments! So I replied and we got talking and he came out to watch at the DP World Tour Championship last November. He sent me a shirt and I sent him one earlier this year and then he came to play with me in the Dunhill Links last week. It was a fantastic experience because he’s one of my sporting heroes and a great person – even though he said it was a better experience for him! I don't know how he worked that one out.
I think physical conditioning is going to make the biggest difference to my game now so I’ve been training very hard in the gym for the last three or so months with my trainer Kev Duffy. You would have to say it was Tiger, and then Rory more recently, who broke the mould and changed the game into a much more physical sport. Now everyone is wanting to do the same thing, including me! I’m just trying to get a bit bigger, stronger and faster. We do a lot of power stuff, not too much weight and work on the faster movements and the more explosive side of things.