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matt fitzpatrick

Matt Fitzpatrick: I don’t agree with sharing club information during tournaments

In professional sport, you need to take advantage of every marginal gain you can manage, but in golf, do the lines become blurred when it becomes to sharing information on the golf course?

 

At the Masters, a rather intriguing rules situation had the golf world pealed to their television screens.

The Committee at Augusta National decided no advice on clubbing was given or requested between Brooks Koepka and Gary Woodland on hole 15 and all parties were cleared of any wrongdoing.

Golf analyst and former player Paul McGinley was one person to express shock that a penalty wasn’t given to either party after the event, while also describing this type of thing as “common practice” on tour.

On Tuesday at the 2023 US Open, the issue cropped up in Matt Fitzpatrick‘s press conference in which the Englishman revealed players and caddies regularly use the rules to their advantage to prepare for certain shots.

“Guys come over to my bag to look at what club I’ve taken out. I go over to their bag, caddies go over to their bag, and caddies come to my bag. That’s the way the game works,” he said.

matt fitzpatrick

“Even though sometimes it’s picked up on TV, everyone does it, and they’d be lying if they said that they didn’t.

“I’ll be honest, I don’t want Billy saying we’ve hit 4 or 5 – I don’t agree with that. At the end of the day, I’ve got a lot of friends out here that I play with.

“I’m still trying to beat them, and they’re trying to beat me. You don’t want to be giving them advice.

“But at the same time, it’s glaringly obvious they can take 10 steps to the right and be like – he’s hit a 4-iron or a 5-iron. It’s pretty tough to marshal effectively.”

What Fitzpatrick has described here is within the rules. You may look in someone’s bag or in a player’s hands to see what club they’ve selected, as long as you avoid making physical contact.

Giving advice or asking anyone for advice during a competition could result in a two-stroke penalty, or loss of hole in match play.

Fitzpatrick arrived at Los Angeles Country Club as the tournament’s defending champion this week, having won his maiden major title at Brookline 12 months ago.

“I just can’t believe it’s been a year already.

“It’s just gone so fast, and to kind of look around and remember that all this buildup was the same at Brookline, it’s just very odd.

“I didn’t feel like I spent enough time with it (the US Open trophy).

“Probably the month right after The Open, after St Andrews, I went on holiday to Italy with some friends, so yeah, I took it there for a week. That’s about as exciting as it got.”

NOW READ: Are some rules of golf OK to break?

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Matt Chivers

Matt Chivers

Now on the wrong side of 25, Matt has been playing golf since the age of 13 and was largely inspired to take up the game by countless family members who played golf during his childhood.

Matt is a member at Royal Cinque Ports in Deal playing off a 5 handicap, just a pitching wedge away from his hometown of Dover where he went to school and grew up. He has previously been a member at Etchinghill and Walmer and Kingsdown in Kent.

Having studied history at the University of Liverpool, Matt went on to pass his NCTJ Exams in Manchester a year later to fulfil his lifelong ambition of becoming a journalist. He picked up work experience along the way at places such as the Racing Post, the Independent, Sportsbeat and the Lancashire Evening Post.

Matt joined NCG in February 2023 and is the website’s main source of tour news, features and opinion. He has reported live from events such as The Open, the Ryder Cup and The Players Championship, having also interviewed and spoken to the likes of Rory McIlroy, Tommy Fleetwood, Lee Westwood, Graeme McDowell, Henrik Stenson, to name just a few.

Consuming tour golf on what is a 24/7 basis, you can come to Matt for informed views on the game and the latest updates on the PGA Tour, DP World Tour, LPGA Tour, Ladies European Tour and LIV Golf.

What’s in Matt’s bag: Cobra LTDx LS driver, Cobra LTDx 3-wood, TaylorMade P7MC irons, Ping Glide 4.0 wedges, Odyssey putter.

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