Matthew Fitzpatrick and Jack Nicklaus only players to win US Amateur and US Open on same course; Englishman triumphed in Brookline nine years after amateur success at the venue; Fitzpatrick’s caddie Billy Foster savours “shining jewel” of his career as he , too, clinches maiden major win
Last Updated: 21/06/22 8:08am
US Open champion Matt Fitzpatrick says sharing an honour with Jack Nicklaus is “incredible” as he revealed his remarkable bunker shot during the final round at Brookline “doesn’t feel real”.
Fitzpatrick became just the second man, after Nicklaus, to win both the US Amateur and US Open titles at the same venue when he clinched victory at The Country Club on Sunday, with the Englishman previously claiming the amateur crown in Boston in 2013.
The 27-year-old – who ended on six under par to pip Will Zalatoris and Scottie Scheffler by one stroke – says Nicklaus phoned him after he became just the third Englishman to win the US Open in the last 52 years, following in the footsteps of Tony Jacklin in 1970 and Justin Rose in 2013.
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Fitzpatrick wowed the crowds on the 18th hole with a 160-yard shot from a bunker and onto the green, before he two-putted from 18 feet to clinch a maiden major title.
The new world No 10 told Sky Sports’ Jamie Weir: “Any record you share with Jack is incredible. To share that one in particular is incredibly special.
“He called me after the round and congratulated me. It’s crazy to receive something like that from such a great golfing legend.
‘Winning the US Open is surreal’
“It’s hard to get my head around [the bunker shot], to be honest. It doesn’t feel like it’s me, doesn’t feel real.
“[Winning the US Open] is incredibly surreal. I was doing media after the round and genuinely had to question whether it was a dream, whether I was going to wake up.
“I have never felt like that. People say that and I don’t buy it, but it certainly felt that way [for me].”
Fitzpatrick’s victory at Brookline was his first on the PGA Tour after seven previous titles on the DP World Tour, including the British Masters once and DP World Tour Championship twice.
He said: “I’ve never really said it but one thing I pride myself on is that if I get a chance I genuinely feel I will take it. If I get a chance to win, I’ll go and win.
“If you actually look at my results, I don’t necessarily put myself in position to win enough. I am not always in the last group. This year I have been three or four shots back going into the final round and then had a good round to finish in the top 10.
“The times I have given myself chances to win, I have won most of the time. I pride myself on being a gritty competitor, just wanting to win badly and doing the right things.”
Fitzpatrick: I feel I have proved myself
Fitzpatrick’s attention will now turn to the 150th Open Championship at St Andrews, which is live on Sky Sports from July 14, with the Sheffield-born player saying his US Open triumph has given him tremendous confidence.
Fitzpatrick said: “It’s massive. I feel like I proved I have the ability to go out there. I won the US Open final round with 35 putts, which is not like Fitzpatrick at all.
“Hopefully that says a lot about where I have come with the other aspects of the game. I’m going to take that into the next few weeks and see what happens at St Andrews.
“[Friends and family] will keep me down to earth and being from Sheffield you can never get too high up as you will be brought back down. It’s something I will keep an eye on.”
Fitzpatrick’s caddie Foster: ‘Shining jewel’ of my career
Fitzpatrick’s caddie, Billy Foster, called his man’s win the “shining jewel” of his 40-year career as the veteran Brit also claimed his maiden major title.
Foster has previously worked with Seve Ballesteros, Lee Westwood, Darren Clarke and Thomas Bjorn but had never been able to land one of the game’s four most prestigious trophies.
[Fitzpatrick] said to me on the 18th green, ‘that’s the best I’ve ever played’. It’s as good as I’ve ever seen anyone play from tee to green. To hit 17 out of 18 greens on that course in a US Open under that pressure, it’s hard to top that. It was just brilliant.
Billy Foster, Matthew Fitzpatrick’s caddie
He said: “I’ve obviously had quite a few lovely days over the years with Seve and when Darren beat Tiger Woods to win the WGC Match Play. I’ve had a lot of great days at the Ryder Cup, but this is obviously the shining jewel, 100 per cent.
“I’ve got to admit I didn’t think it was going to happen for me. My time is running out. I’ve probably only got another two or three years of caddying left in me.
“Getting down to your last few majors, are you ever going to win one? Probably not. I’m so happy. I’m so happy for (Fitzpatrick), too.”
Foster was on Bjorn’s bag when the Dane squandered a three-shot lead with four to play in the 2003 Open Championship, and was working for Westwood when he three-putted the 72nd hole to miss out on a play-off six years later at Turnberry.
“There was a lot of heartbreak in there, a lot of scar tissue. Someone said I’ve got that monkey off my back. It felt more like a gorilla. I’ll enjoy it now and I’ll enjoy it all this week. It will be one long party.”
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