BROOKLINE, Mass. — Earlier than Sunday, England’s Matt Fitzpatrick had by no means gained an expert golf match in the USA.
Now, he has gained two of the most important golf occasions on this planet on the identical course. 9 years after successful the U.S. Novice at The Nation Membership outdoors Boston, Fitzpatrick captured his first PGA Tour victory on the 122nd U.S. Open on the identical course on Sunday with a 1-shot win over Will Zalatoris and Masters champion Scottie Scheffler.
Fitzpatrick joins Jack Nicklaus as the one male golfers to win a U.S. Novice and U.S. Open on the identical course (Nicklaus did it at Pebble Seaside in 1961 and 1972).
Listed here are 5 issues we discovered on the U.S. Open this week:
1. It was Fitzpatrick’s time
Fitzpatrick grew to become the primary participant to get his first PGA Tour victory in a serious since fellow Englishman Danny Willett gained the 2016 Masters. However it’s not like Fitzpatrick hadn’t gained as an expert earlier than.
Fitzpatrick, 27, gained seven instances on the European Tour (now the DP World Tour), together with twice on the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai. He had been trending in the fitting route in majors, with a tie for 14th on the Masters and a tie for fifth on the PGA Championship at Southern Hills final month. The efficiency at Southern Hills, maybe greater than another, proved to Fitzpatrick that he might compete at this degree.
“With it being a serious, it is fairly totally different than a daily PGA Tour occasion,” Fitzpatrick mentioned. “On the finish of the day, they’re simply actually onerous to win. I believe up till Southern Hills, actually, I did not actually recognize how onerous it’s really to win a serious. Yeah, I’ve not challenged, actually, up till then.
“I believe, myself included, and folks on the surface possibly assume it is simpler than it’s. You simply have to take a look at Tiger [Woods]. He knocked off so many in such a fast span. That is why I believe folks assume, ‘Oh, it is a piece of cake; it is like a daily Tour occasion.’ However it’s not.”
And naturally, Fitzpatrick’s historical past at The Nation Membership supplied a bonus that others did not have. He stayed in the identical home with the identical host household that he had on the 2013 U.S. Novice.
“I actually assume it provides me an edge over the others, yeah,” Fitzpatrick mentioned the night time earlier than the ultimate spherical. “I genuinely do imagine that. It is an actual, clearly, constructive second in my profession. It form of kick-started me.”
2. Rory is the face of the PGA Tour
McIlroy, from Northern Eire, as soon as once more failed to finish his eight-year drought with out a main championship. He’s now 0-for-29 in majors since successful the 2014 PGA Championship at Valhalla.
McIlroy, 33, was 4 below heading into the weekend at The Nation Membership however by no means received something occurring Saturday and Sunday, a minimum of not till too late. He carded birdies on Nos. 14 and 15, however missed good possibilities on the ultimate two holes.
“It is not win or bust,” mentioned McIlroy, who completed tied for fifth at 2 below. “It is not as if the place I completed is similar as not taking part in on the weekend. I assume after I look again, will I bear in mind the fifth place I had at Brookline? Most likely not. … I performed properly sufficient to offer myself an opportunity to win. I did not get the job accomplished, however I am nearer than I’ve been shortly, which is sweet.”
However McIlroy’s finest work got here earlier within the week, when he as soon as once more stood up for the PGA Tour. He criticized youthful gamers who left for LIV Golf for taking the “straightforward manner out” and known as their choices shortsighted.
“I perceive. Sure, as a result of a whole lot of these guys are of their late 40s,” McIlroy mentioned. “In Phil [Mickelson’s] case, early 50s. Yeah, I believe everybody on this room would say to themselves that their finest days are behind them. That is why I do not perceive for the blokes which can be an identical age to me going as a result of I want to imagine that my finest days are nonetheless forward of me, and I believe theirs are, too. In order that’s the place it feels such as you’re taking the straightforward manner out.”
3. The USGA received it proper
The Nation Membership hadn’t hosted the U.S. Open since 1988, when Curtis Unusual defeated Nick Faldo in a playoff. Hopefully, the USGA will not wait 34 years to carry it to the membership outdoors Boston once more.
Total, the golf course and setup received rave opinions from gamers. Sure, it was tough. The wind was swirling, the third reduce of tough was ankle deep, and the greens have been small and agency. In a single day rain and fewer wind prevented the standard Sunday situations within the U.S. Open from ever growing.
“Apart from the tiniest chipping inexperienced, I believed it was the most effective place I’ve performed shortly,” Collin Morikawa mentioned Sunday. “There’s solely been a handful of programs the place I actually step foot on property, and also you see it for a brief time period, and you then assume you are going to adore it, and this was certainly one of them. There is no B.S. round that. It is a good golf course.
“You actually must plot your manner round. You have to assume by it. I believed it was a course that you could possibly play fairly properly at and a course that might form of harm you within the again fairly shortly. I believe I received each ends of that, however general, yeah, I cherished it.”
The USGA has been closely criticized for course situations on the U.S. Open within the current previous, however give it credit score for getting this one proper. Tyrrell Hatton did not even complain.
“The golf course, clearly, received some rain [Saturday], so it was slightly extra receptive than it has been all week, which in all probability is why you see some decrease scores coming down the stretch,” mentioned Gary Woodland, the 2019 U.S. Open winner. “The wind has died down slightly bit now. It might have been attention-grabbing if we did not get the rain final night time. I believe it will have been much like yesterday. However [Saturday] was what they needed, and that is what you need in a U.S. Open. It was onerous. Situations have been brutal. The golf course arrange completely.”
4. The LIV Golf guys did not have a great week
The buildup to the U.S. Open centered across the ongoing battle for skilled golf’s soul between the PGA Tour and LIV Golf, the breakaway circuit being fronted by former world No. 1 golfer Greg Norman and financed by Saudi Arabia’s Public Funding Fund.
The USGA was put in a tough place when PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan suspended 17 gamers for taking part in in LIV Golf’s inaugural occasion outdoors London final week. A few of these gamers, together with Dustin Johnson, Phil Mickelson and Kevin Na, had already made the sphere by exemptions, and it would not have been truthful to kick them out after the very fact.
As soon as the match began on Thursday, nevertheless, the LIV Golf roster wasn’t a lot of an element. Solely 4 of the 15 gamers who both competed within the London occasion or have introduced they will play within the subsequent one in Portland, Oregon, made the reduce within the U.S. Open. Not one of the ones who caught round for the weekend performed very properly. Johnson was the best finisher at 4 over. England’s Richard Bland was 8 over, Patrick Reed was 10 over and Bryson DeChambeau was 13 over.
That is the issue with LIV Golf proper now. Outdoors of Johnson, nearly all of the gamers who’ve defected from the Tour are both getting old ones or shells of their former selves. Reed hasn’t gained since January 2021 and has simply two top-10s in 20 begins this season. DeChambeau hasn’t gained since March 2021 and is working his manner again from left hand surgical procedure. He has made simply seven begins this season. It was his seventh consecutive end outdoors the highest 25 in a serious, the longest such drought of his profession.
The PGA Tour-LIV Golf feud is not going to finish anytime quickly. Whereas most prime gamers, together with Scheffler, Zalatoris, Morikawa and McIlroy, say they’re sticking with the Tour, a sluggish exodus of different gamers will in all probability proceed over the subsequent a number of weeks. LIV Golf is predicted to announce the 48-man discipline for the Portland occasion early this week. There’s hypothesis that a few notable gamers is likely to be among the many newest defections.
5. The followers nonetheless love Phil
The USGA could not have been too excited that Mickelson skipped the Masters, the main he loves probably the most, and the PGA Championship, an occasion he gained in 2021 to grow to be the oldest main champion at age 51. That put the U.S. Open within the crosshairs for Mickelson’s return to aggressive golf in the USA.
Though Mickelson’s information convention on Monday was fairly uncomfortable — he skated round probably the most tough questions — his reception from golf followers was fairly welcoming. Certain, there have been just a few catcalls about blood cash and betrayal, however general Boston sports activities followers, who’ve a status for being among the many most spirited, have been fairly heat to Lefty.
Regardless of the adulation, Mickelson needed to face a stark actuality this week. His days of taking part in aggressive golf towards the most effective gamers on this planet are over. Mickelson shot 11 over within the first two rounds, his fifth-worst 36-hole whole in his main profession. Whereas we’d have been anticipating an excessive amount of from a 52-year-old who hadn’t performed a aggressive spherical within the U.S. since late January, his finest days on the course are clearly within the rearview mirror.