How UK Golfer Matt Fitzpatrick Gets Over The Hump Of Missing Cuts

A pro golfer since June 2014, Matthew Fitzpatrick’s ascent hasn’t always been as conventional and polished as his golf swing; but now fully established on the circuit, he believes his debut Major win may not be too far away…

RSNG You’re becoming renowned as a golfer who doesn’t do things the conventional way – your route into the game was academic in nature and there was a real tussle between study and the sport, while you’ve spoken in the past about how it’s not how you start a tournament, it’s how you finish? MATTHEW FITZPATRICK, PLAYING WITH SHEFFIELD STEEL “I think when you come from Yorkshire you approach things in a different way to most people, haha!”

“I have a unique perspective on things and I’ve always been very much of a positive mind – there is always a chance to redeem yourself, and I never take anything too seriously until I am on the tee matt.”

“I had a really important qualifying event early in my career that I did brilliantly in, and that really gave me the platform to get noticed and go forward; yet leading up to it I was playing some of the worst golf I had ever played. Even my Dad beat me without me even giving him any shots, and he plays off six!”

“So I don’t take any of it too seriously – every shot is in isolation. That’s the way you have to think.”

**RSNG So if you were to have a later rally and finish high up the leaderboard, does that feel better than being in contention the whole way, but without winning? Because you’re finishing in the same spot, but had different routes to that result? MF ** “It’s an interesting perspective. I think sometimes it can, yeah. Obviously, you want to be consistent for a whole weekend and we all go there with intentions of winning an event, or else why would we bother?”

“If I was to be having a bit of a torrid time at a tournament, but be able to turn that around and finish in the top 10 – and that has happened a few times in my career, already – then it seems like you’ve proved something to yourself over those four days, instead of totally collapsing and going home on Friday night.”

“You are right, it ends up being the same thing if you start well and fade. I think the reality is a few days after the tournament you’ll just have a quiet moment where you realize you weren’t good enough. That will always come.”

Second places are no good to me – I want to win

RSNG What’s the mentality you require to get over missing cuts? MF “I missed about six cuts in my first eight tournaments, I think it was. But that first summer in 2015, something seemed to click. I finished third in Austria, then runner-up in Switzerland behind Danny Willett and it was that Omega Masters second place that really made my confidence zoom.”

“I just knew then that I had taken all of the pressure off myself, because it meant that I had ensured my place on the European Tour for the next year. It really helped me play better golf and being relaxed does make you do anything better.”

“So I guess the answer is to wait for things to change, then ensure you can keep pushing this momentum forward. I have often found in my career that the momentum of making cuts is just as easy to channel as the disappointment of not making cuts is there to paralyze you.”

“The truth is, everyone on the Tour is a good player, and when it comes to making cuts that is perhaps the one time in golf when truly you are up against other players – it’s not a battle with yourself.”

“Sometimes when you don’t make a cut you could forgive yourself in the sense that others may have played out of their skin.”

RSNG Although you want to win events, does it matter more or just as much that you are on the Tour and able to compete. Is that fair? MF “Yeah, it absolutely is, but I don’t think a lot of golfers will admit to that. This is sometimes that spectators, people watching on TV or even in the commentary box don’t take into consideration. My first thought is to do enough to play in next year’s Tour.”

“Of course, the best way to do that is get a win which will push you up the money list, or a few top five finishes or even a bunch of top 10s. The next time you see a player not going for the pin and playing safe, you may want to think deeper about what they are doing. They are ensuring their future and their career. I am no different.”

RSNG However… MF “Yeah, seconds are no good to me. I want to win. I’ve been lucky enough to do so five times on the European Tour and I want to win any event, regardless of the event. If I don’t actually want to win, why am I there?”

My dad had only booked the hotel for four days… no-one could ever accuse me of being over-confident!

RSNG Is it true your dad only booked your hotel for four days at Brookline in 2013? MF “Yeah, being in the top 50 in the world rankings, I didn’t have to qualify and my dad had only booked the hotel for the four days.”

“But you’re talking about an event which is probably the biggest amateur golf competition in the world, so no-one could ever accuse me of being overconfident, haha!”

“Luckily, we were able to find a family that put us up for the remaining days we needed, as the hotel was fully booked. That family – The Fultons – are still friends of ours, now. So, all’s well that ends well.”

RSNG Just finally, coming back to what Paul Azinger said that time after the CBS Sports graphic had both you and Tom Lewis as having zero career wins. Do you think too much is made of the PGA Tour? MF “I wouldn’t say too much is made of it, but I certainly think that the victories on other tours around the world – not just in Europe – shouldn’t be discounted. I mean, why do all of those other players in the world bother playing if they’re not on the PGA Tour, haha!”

“As I tweeted at the time when it was shown to me, I still feel the same. It’s a bit harsh. Obviously, Paul is entitled to say what he feels is right or what is on his mind and I can’t change that – nor do I want to. But it wasn’t just me who was a little miffed at his comments.”

“I know Poults [Ian Poulter] didn’t take too kindly to it and he mentioned something about Seve’s [Ballersteros] record and that you’d have taken about 80 wins off his career total, had you made the same comparisons. So, it is what it is really. But one thing is for sure – it hasn’t helped me get a win on the PGA Tour, yet!”

WHAT NEXT? Want to learn how to get over your own disappointment of making a bad shot? Then read these hacks from one of RSNG's golf psychology experts.