“It’s good to be the king,” Mel Brooks said over and over again while playing Louis XVI in the remembered parody The Crazy History of the World. And Matt Fitzpatrick, with a healthy dose of British humour, gave the brilliant New York comedian a little wink. “There is nothing better than winning a major as your first title on the PGA Tour”released before winning the trophy that he will have on his shelves since yesterday as the winner of the United States Open. He modified it by finishing with a total of 274 strokes, six under par and one less than the Americans Will Zalatoris, who came from being second in the PGA Championship, and Scottie Scheffler, winner of the last Augusta Masters who was left with the desire to add its second largest in 2022.
Fitzpatrick, born 27 years ago in Sheffield and number 18 in the world ranking, maintained the advantage of a shot on the last hole, when Zalatoris brushed a birdie by millimeters that would have forced a playoff on the traditional course of The Country Club in Brooklyn, in Massachusetts, United States.
The Briton is the first player capable of winning a major to open his record as a champion on this circuit since Danny Willett did it at the 2016 Masters. He did so demonstrating extra large calm. The litmus test was on the last hole, when he sent the ball into a sand trap and still managed to save par and thus be crowned champion. “When I saw that ball come out of the sand I couldn’t be happier” the new king rejoiced.
And he continued: “There are no words. I worked very hard for a long time for this. I must admit that today I had a lot of patience. I told Billy (Foster, his caddy) that if he could play 18 holes today, I’d like to think I had a good chance. I almost did it. I was very solid.”
England’s Matt Fitzpatrick shows off the PGA trophy. Photo: AFP
Fitzpatrick had already obtained the 2013 US Amateur, precisely in Brookline, with which became the first non-American to win both pageants and tied the legendary Jack Nicklaus as the only players to win both tournaments at the same venue. He is also the fourth Englishman to win the US Open in the last century, having followed in the footsteps of the titles of Cyril Walker in 1924, Tony Jacklin in 1970 and Justin Rose in 2013.
“It meant the world to me. It is obvious that now I won twice here. I try to play every tournament on tour here. Staying with them relaxed me a lot. There is no pressure and I loved every minute”, recognized the Englishman, who stayed with the same family that housed him when he was crowned in 2013. Cabala?
Fitzpatrick, who has seven titles on the European Tour, had only managed to finish inside the top ten of the 2016 Masters and the 2022 PGA Championship as the best places in the majors.
“I don’t know if Jack (Nicklaus) is listening to this but he gave me a lift at the beginning of the year when I won a member competition at his club and he congratulated me on finally winning in America. Now I can go back and tell him I’ve already won twice,” Fitzpatrick said.
And he closed: “It’s what you dream of winning while you grow up and I worked very hard for a long time. I felt a lot of pressure on my back for not winning here. Everyone was talking about it and there is nothing better than having achieved it in a major”, insisted the Englishman.
Yes, it is more than clear: “It is good to be the king”.
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