Matt Fitzpatrick won the US Open last June at Brookline and has set his sights on adding to his major tally at the PGA Championship; watch the opening round live on Thursday from 1pm on Sky Sports Golf
Last Updated: 18/05/23 12:05am
Matt Fitzpatrick is excited by the challenge of trying to claim a second major title at the PGA Championship on the ‘testing’ Oak Hill course
England’s Matt Fitzpatrick insists he can win the PGA Championship at Oak Hill this week, believing that the “brute of a golf course” suits his game.
The 2022 US Open champion was a contender at last year’s event, playing as part of the final pairing with Mito Pereira on day four, before his challenge ultimately faded with a three-over final round to finish tied for fifth.
That experience at Southern Hills, however, proved instrumental in giving Fitzpatrick the belief to win the US Open a mere month later at Brookline and to challenge for more majors.
Highlights of the final round from the US Open at Brookline as Fitzpatrick claimed a one-stroke victory
“I know I can contend and win,” said Fitzpatrick. “I think that final round [at Southern Hills], there was a lot of talk about me playing a little bit too fast, looking a bit rushed.
“Obviously, at the time you don’t see that and I only really had like a week afterwards before I was playing the next run of tournaments, so I kind of didn’t get much time to reflect on it.
“But then I think when the time came Sunday of US Open, I felt like I knew exactly what to do.
“Statistically I didn’t even putt that well that week, so if I can play the same way again and putt as well as I know I can, then that’s also another level that I can kind of add to my performance. I think that’s kind of a big thing for myself, the confidence that I can do it.”
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It took a score of six under for Fitzpatrick to win the US Open last year and, although he was 17 under before beating Jordan Spieth in a play-off at the RBC Heritage last month, a tougher test has always been his preference.
“I’ve said it multiple times, I hate it when tournaments are 25, 30 under par to win,” the world No 7 said. “I don’t particularly feel like I play well in those.
Fitzpatrick beat defending champion Jordan Spieth on the third hole of a play-off to win the RBC Heritage
“I just like it when it’s hard and you’ve got to battle and par is a good score. I just enjoy it, for whatever reason.”
On the particular challenge posed at Oak Hill, Fitzpatrick added: “From the holes that I’ve seen, there’s so many tough, tough golf holes where you have to hit just good shots.
“I think that’s the great thing about it; it’s a proper test. You’ve got to play good golf. It’s just a brute of a golf course. Whoever does win this week, in my opinion, will thoroughly deserve it.”
Hatton: I feel more comfortable in my own skin
Fitzpatrick is not the only in-form Englishman who could challenge at the top of the leaderboard at Oak Hill this week, with Tyrrell Hatton heading into the PGA Championship off the back of successive top-five finishes at the Wells Fargo Championship and the AT&T Byron Nelson.
Hatton was also very nearly victorious at The Players in March after a back-nine birdie blitz saw him almost pull off the most spectacular of wins. Sadly, the surge came too late to deny Scottie Scheffler but a second-place finish was certainly not to be sniffed at.
After Tyrrell Hatton’s superb final round at The Players, Sky Sports Golf’s Andrew Coltart assessed whether the Englishman can go on and win a major
Hatton put his recent form down to a more focused fitness regime off the golf course.
“I think most of my game has been fairly consistent,” he said. “I’ve been driving the ball quite nicely, which goes a long way, and holing a few putts.
“I’ve been doing more off the golf course this year in terms of training and it’s been nice see some positive results.
“It’s just generally feeling better in myself. My main goal was really to be a bit more comfortable in my own skin.”
He added: “The course this week is going to be pretty demanding. The rough is pretty thick.
“I don’t think that the gym work will help me advance the ball any further out of it than we would have done before! It’s going to be a challenging week, for sure.”
Watch the PGA Championship throughout the week live on Sky Sports. Live coverage begins on Thursday from 1pm on Sky Sports Golf.