Hazeltine-bound: Matt Fitzpatrick
As our series of profiles on the confirmed players for The 2016 Ryder Cup continues, we delve into the past and present of the youngest of the automatic qualifiers for Darren Clarke’s team, Englishman Matt Fitzpatrick.
At just 21 years of age, Fitzpatrick is already a two-time European Tour winner and now a Ryder Cup rookie. That meteoric rise went a long way towards justifying his decision to drop out of college just one year into his four-year scholarship at Northwestern University in Chicago, where Luke Donald also studied, and pursue a career in the game he loves. First rose to prominence at the age of 18 when, after winning the Boys’ Amateur Championship to qualify for The 2013 Open Championship, he earned the Silver Medal at Muirfield as the highest amateur. Later that year, he reached the pinnacle of amateur golf by winning the US Amateur Championship to top the World Golf Amateur Rankings, before finishing the summer with an appearance in the Walker Cup. After finishing as the leading amateur in the 2014 US Open Championship, Fitzpatrick turned professional and later that year earned his card for the 2015 European Tour season via the Qualifying School.
European Tour appearances: 59
European Tour wins: 2
Top ten finishes: 14
Career earnings: €2,985,498
Ryder Cup record
2016 Qualification highlights
Claimed his maiden European Tour title courtesy of a glorious home victory at the 2015 British Masters supported by Sky Sports, getting him off to a fast start in the race for The Ryder Cup. Two top ten finishes in the Final Series proved he was more than comfortable among the world’s elite and, although he got off to a slow start in 2016, a tied seventh place finish at the Masters Tournament was just the fillip he needed and, two months later, he was a European Tour champion once again after marching to a three-shot triumph at the Nordea Masters. Finished the job at the D+D REAL Czech Masters, where a fifth place finish was enough to secure his place at Hazeltine.
Fitzpatrick’s form during the points race:
“It’s very exciting now. I’ve probably been in the team for the longest period of time. It started two weeks before I won at the British Masters and jumped into the team, and I’ve managed to stay there since then. It’s been absolutely phenomenal, and I’m just delighted to be in the team.
“I get on well with everyone, the guys that I’m close to would be Danny Willett, Martin Kaymer and Lee Westwood. All those guys on the team, I know them pretty well and I feel I could play with most people.”