News All Articles
Matt Fitzpatrick admits he 'wasn't necessarily ready' for Ryder Cup debut

Matt Fitzpatrick admits he 'wasn't necessarily ready' for Ryder Cup debut

Matt Fitzpatrick admitted his Ryder Cup debut in 2016 came too early in his golf career as he prepares for his first biennial event on home soil in Rome, Italy.

Matt Fitzpatrick

The 29-year-old secured his third appearance at the event after pipping Tommy Fleetwood to the last automatic qualifying berths on the World Points List alongside Viktor Hovland and Tyrell Hatton.

The Sheffield native has eight DP World Tour titles to his name, with the latest being the biggest victory to date - his first Major Championship at the 2022 U.S. Open at The Country Club, Brookline.

That victory catapulted Fitzpatrick on to the world scene, despite years of success in Europe, and he believes the Major win gives him confidence that he belongs at the top table of elite golf.

He tees up at Marco Simone Golf & Country Club - the venue where he lost in a play-off to Ryder Cup team-mate Robert MacIntyre at the 2022 DS Automobiles Italian Open - admitting he was not ready for his first experience of the team event at Hazeltine National Golf Club.

"I think looking back, you could argue that I probably wasn't necessarily ready for 2016," Fitzpatrick said during his press conference on Wednesday morning.

"I think 2016, I was still 19 or 20. Maybe 21 or whatever. I was still really young. I look back at that experience, and I was very young, and my game wasn't necessarily ready for that.

"I probably would have been ready for 2018. 2021, obviously very different from 2016, as well. Better player. Quite a bit older. And then obviously now, also different player to then as well. So obviously a lot has changed in those two years for me.

"You definitely feel much more like you belong (after winning a Major). You know, you feel like you've had that success at the highest level before and you feel that you always have that feeling that you can repeat that. I think just having that confidence is a big help."

Nicolai Højgaard and MacIntyre are two of eight Rookies playing at Marco Simone this week, with the split evenly divided between the two teams.

They both spoke about the Team Europe environment as they enter unchartered waters in Rome.

"I wouldn't say probably worried, but more about making sure that we are all part of the team and we are all interacting with each other and we all make that team room the best possible place to go," Højgaard said.

"Everyone is very good at it, and you always are like a little worried or scared getting into a team room where you haven't been before, and you're getting into a team room with your idols, the guys you've been looking up to your whole life.

"Sometimes you're here and you have to pinch yourself a little bit, but it's reality now and now it's about going and preparing those guys and get ready for Friday."

Robert MacIntyre

World Number 55 MacIntyre said: "Yeah, it's brilliant. There's a football changing room feel to it. You've obviously got the lockers on the one side and then you go through to another room, it gives you goosebumps when you walk into that room and you see, they have got a shirt of Seve. It's special.

"You're in a special week. You're in a golf tournament that means the world to the best players in the planet.

"Nothing's going to prepare me for that first tee shot. It's just plain and simple. It's something bigger than I've ever been involved in and ever experienced."

Justin Rose is set to embark on his sixth Ryder Cup appearance and, at the age of 43, is the oldest playing member of Luke Donald's 12-man squad, but he insists he still feels "like one of the boys".

He said: "I still feel like one of the boys and one of the team members. From an experience point of view, yeah, the youngsters do seem very self-assured, and that's part of what they bring to the team, and you don't want to kind of talk them out of that. I think this team has a beautiful blend."

Read next