2022 US Open: Matt Fitzpatrick’s Exciting Win Reminds Why Golf Championships Are Unrivaled

BROOKLINE, Mass. – This US Open week in 2022 began with a discussion of the worst parts of professional golf and ended with a few moments that introduced the game in the best way possible.

Matt Fitzpatrick hit 68 at The Country Club on Sunday, beating Will Zalatoris and Scottie Scheffler when he won his first major championship at the same venue where he won the 2013 U.S. Amateur Championships.

It was a performance characterized by strength and presence that we were not used to seeing from Fitzpatrick, and a final hit worthy of the golf course on which it was played.

When Phil Mickelson stepped in front of the microphone on Monday morning to perform with the rebel LIV Golf League, which he helped launch, he missed one of the most spectacular weeks of the year. His sad shame penetrated the remaining assets and foresaw a future that remains undesirable.

Like it or not – and many have shouted out loud and obscene – LIV Golf is here to stay. This week in Brookline, it’s all about players, losses, agents, managers, the media and employees. It has shaken the piers on which professional golf is currently located.

However, Greg Norman’s pet project can’t (and probably never will) break into a fortress built about 16 days a year when it competes in major championships.

Thursday’s first round served as a refuge and also with 54 tracks following.

The ranking of this US Open over the weekend only exacerbated this reality. Collin Morikawa led the way in trying to become the first golfer to win three major tournaments in his first 11 such starts since the 1934 Masters. He dropped to 77 on Saturday, but was replaced by the top three players. world. At one point on Sunday afternoon, Scottie Scheffler (No. 1), Jon Rahm (No. 2) and Rory McIlroy (No. 3) were among the top four.

Rahm and McIlroy failed to take their chances and McIlroy wasted one of the great blows of his career, leading the field with almost 10 shots. Scheffler spent a lifetime trying to win a rare Masters-US Open double, and Fitzpatrick led Zalatoris with one, both of them catching the first major tournaments of their careers and winning the PGA Tour.

In the two hours that followed, there was a week that covered everything but golf was then perhaps the best golf we have seen this year. A shot at 11 with two shots led Zalatoris to a two-shot lead over Fitzpatrick. Zalatoris, now a three-time runner-up, grabbed his ball out of the cup and pumped a fist lustfully, rushing like a man of hell trying to redeem the loss of the PGA Championship playoff to Justin Thomas a month ago.

Fitzpatrick hit No. 13 with his right hook, which overturned the flatness he usually wears. The tournament was tied again. Pars No. 14 caused a long wait on Route 15 as fans pressed into a narrow alley and watched the final section, where turkeys (literally turkeys) often circled this week.

Fitzpatrick looked to the future. What was he thinking about being in the US Open standings with the man next to him? Maybe the past when he won the Sagittarius here in 2013. Maybe the future and the four holes he had left to break the deadlock. He explained after the event how difficult it is to stop imagining the trophy.

“You’re just trying to tell yourself, ‘Just stop.’ Just a break. Just stop thinking about it. It’s not here yet, “said Fitzpatrick.

See was not there still, but after that hole it was almost in his hands. Fitzpatrick splashed his ride to the right, but somehow climbed up and down 220 yards in the middle of a human horseshoe to reach 6 down, while Zalatoris made a pack to drop two.

“It was one of the best blows I’ve ever hit,” Fitzpatrick said. It was a great shot. It was fantastic to do that and take advantage of the break.

Fitzpatrick barely got home and that was enough. After a light 3: 4 run at No. 16 and 17, he hit his No. 18 shot in the fairway bunker. As he walked toward it, Boston fans broke into the police force behind them and surrounded their past and future champion.

Fitzpatrick then hit “one of the best shots” I’ve ever hit from this bunker, reaching a two-point pair and avoiding the Zalatoris almost missed a tick that would have led to the tournament’s two-hole playoff. As soon as Zalatoris’ putt ran through the August, Fitzpatrick caddy turned to Billy Foster, who was already crying.

Chaos followed, as it did at the end of the big championships. Rory McIlroy was there to hug his Ryder Cup teammate. Fitzpatrick’s brother Alex, who disappeared for him this morning in 2013, was in tears. Fitzpatrick hugged his father on Father’s Day; both could barely breathe.

It was symbolic of the extended finish of one of the great championship titles of the last decade. Although the main players may not become the main winners or future Ryder Cup captains, there was less praise at the end of the week, but more of what the most fake version of the game looks like.

It’s not a golf home, but in the United States, you can’t necessarily choose a better or more original hosting site than The Country Club. It is one of the five founding clubs of the United States Golf Association that hosted the tournament this week. The oldest venues often host the best golf game.

It’s hard for an inexplicable person to explain how playing for the $ 3.15 million front-end is somehow the purest sport form. However, competing in the last nine pairs of the last few pairs of the main championships on Sundays is probably the situation where money is meant the least. Boston’s gloomy gray background made the scene feel as raw as it looked.

Recent golf has seemed so manipulated and choreographed. It seemed impromptu and wild.

That seemed important.

It was also appropriate that during the year that players have been trying to put the system into play to figure out how they can work less and earn more, it was the player who worked. majority from his game who thrived in Brookline. Fitzpatrick has changed his body and game. The numbers don’t lie.

He finished this week on the T16, which doesn’t sound much until you realize he reached the T127 on the PGA Tour last year. He surpassed Thomas and McIlroy this week. He also punished the fairways, which shows a comprehensive game that is the best ever. Fitzpatrick has a career year in every category except puttying, which predicts a future where winning can become a habit.

He didn’t even have to rely on the putter he often relied on. He finished 42nd in Putting and McIlroy first. If you had said this statistic on Monday and won this event, you would have made a lot of money.

Jumping from interview to interview on Sunday night, Fitzpatrick proudly showed the US Open Cup everywhere. His answers were mostly benign and repetitive.

However, one comment stood out. It was the perfect setback for players who spent the week earlier defending their business decisions by joining LIV Golf and potentially giving up the opportunity to play in the upcoming Grand Championships.

“The feeling is out of this world,” Fitzpatrick said, holding the US Open Cup where he once held his cousin. “It’s such a cliché, but it’s the stuff you dream of as a kid. Yes, to achieve that, I can retire as a happy man tomorrow.”

The last two weeks have been around, as PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan said in a recent letter to players, “money, money, money”. We’ll get back to this conversation on Monday and beyond, because if you believe the rumors circulating in Brookline – some former big winners and potential future winners are planning to jump in and connect with a rival in the PGA Tour.

However, in four days – and especially on Sunday ‘s nine tracks – we shared an experience that could not be bought for the whole world: we fought for and won the grand title.

In a world where it seems that anything and everything can be bought, it is simply impossible to monetize the joy and complete enjoyment of this experience.

Rick Gehman, Patrick McDonald and Kyle Porter sum up the 2022 US Open. Watch and listen to The First Cut on Apple podcasts and Spotify.

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