Matt Fitzpatrick responds to ‘abuse’ from Jack Nicklaus after matching icon in US Open win
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Matt Fitzpatrick took his place alongside Jack Nicklaus in the golfing record books on Sunday as he became only the second man to win the US Amateur title and the US Open at the same venue. Fitzpatrick held his nerve on the final day of the US Open at The Country Club in Brookline as he claimed his first ever victory as a professional on US soil courtesy of his maiden major. And the Briton then took the opportunity to respond to the “abuse” he had received from Nicklaus earlier this year.
“I don’t know if Jack is listening to this but he gave me some abuse at the start of the year when I won a member-member competition at his club and he said, ‘congratulations on finally winning in the United States,’” Fitzpatrick said after his victory.
“I can go back to him now and say I’ve won twice. It’s what you grow up dreaming of winning and I’ve worked so hard for such a long time. I had the big monkey on my back of not winning over here – it’s all everybody talked about. And to do it in a major – there’s nothing better.”
Fitzpatrick started the final day of the competition tied with Will Zalatoris at the top of the leaderboard on four under par. But world No 1 Scottie Scheffler soon took the lead after birdieing four of his first six holes. Fitzpatrick stayed in the contest with two early birdies of his own, while Zalatoris struggled to get going during the early part of the day.
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But the final day played out in dramatic fashion as Scheffler soon fell away and Zalatoris moved into the lead. Fitzpatrick then rolled in a putt from long-range on the 13th to pile the pressure back on his main rival. And that proved to be the turning point as the Briton took a one-shot advantage into the final hole. Fitzpatrick found the sand with his final drive, but soon joined Zalatoris on the green and kept his composure to ultimately clinch the title.
Following his triumph, Fitzpatrick admitted he was on cloud nine. “The feeling’s out of this world,” he gushed. “It is so cliche, but it’s stuff you dream of as a kid. To achieve it, I can retire a happy man tomorrow.”
And the 27-year-old also paid tribute to his caddie Billy Foster. “Billy had been saying for a while, ‘the time will come,’” Fitzpatrick added. “’You’re playing so well. Just keep doing what you’re doing. It will come. It will happen.’
“I put myself in position after two rounds and then played well yesterday. I just really believed this could be the time. For whatever reason, because of my success here before, it just felt like this was the time.”
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