It wouldn’t be a huge stretch to suggest that Matt Fitzpatrick is the hardest-working golfer on the PGA TOUR, and in episode five of Full Swing, American Dreams, we see why.
In episode three, Money or Legacy, Ian Poulter refers to Fitzpatrick as a massive stats geek, something Fitzpatrick would struggle to refute even if he wanted to.
The Englishman has documented every single shot he’s hit since he was 16; what club he used, how far it went, even how far off line it was, and that’s not restricted to tournaments, but extends to the driving range too.
He pulls out a storage box full of yardage books, finding one from when he was 10 years old, revealing how far he hit a 6-iron at one tournament.
It reveals an almost freakish dedication to betterment, but despite a successful amateur career culminating in the US Amateur win of 2023, Fitzpatrick struggled to break through on the PGA TOUR.
It could be explained by Fitzpatrick’s lack of length; after all, he won the British Masters, European Masters (twice) and DP World Tour Championship (twice), but struggled across the pond, where long driving is paramount.
It sparked a change in Fitzpatrick’s mindset. He was one of the best putters in the world and one of the most accurate iron players in the world. All that was missing was distance, with Fitzpatrick trialling ‘The Stack System’ – essentially weighted clubs to increase swing speed, and his driving distance leapt from 293.5 yards in 2021 to 303.8 yards in 2022.
But adding distance would only put him in position to contend for these tournaments. From there, you still need to get over the line, and it’s not something Fitzpatrick had done across the pond since turning professional.
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We see him in the final group in the PGA Championship, but he never quite got in a position to win, and a three-over-par round of 73 saw him finish two back of Justin Thomas and Will Zalatoris.
He then heads to Brookline, the site of his 2013 US Amateur win. Boston sports fans are perhaps the most passionate and vocal in all of the United States, and as we saw at the 1999 Ryder Cup – known as the Battle of Brookline – that’s not confined to baseball, basketball, ice hockey and American football.
It’s not difficult to get a reputation as a choker in golf. Dustin Johnson had one; Lee Westwood had one. Both supremely talented golfers who’d so often put themselves in positions to win majors but couldn’t get over the line. Johnson of course eventually did at the US Open in 2016, but Boston is perhaps the worst place to be when you’re a month removed from a Sunday in which you threw away a chance at a major and find yourself in the exact same position.
We see how Fitzpatrick dismissed the taunts and heckles of the locals to show nerves of steel to overturn a two-shot deficit on the back nine, playing the golf of his life, winning the US Open.
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Fitzpatrick talks about the 'validation' he felt after finally winning his first tournament in the United States, and not just any tournament, but the US Open.
And validation is probably the best way to describe how Fitzpatrick must have felt. Not just the thousands of hours spent on the range, not just the move to America, but the documenting of thousands of shots, poring over spreadsheet data, the constant search for improvement.
We see him logging data, insisting that he’s doing the right things, and at the 2022 US Open, he finally proved it.
bet365 is the Official Betting Operator of the PGA TOUR and you can watch all episodes of Full Swing exclusively on Netflix from 15th February.