US Open champ Fitzpatrick learned major lessons at PGA
Reigning US Open champion Matthew Fitzpatrick said the crucial lessons he learned contending for a title at last year's PGA Championship helped him win his first major a month later.
Now the 28-year-old Englishman is back at the PGA Championship as a major winner and confident in his ability to add to his trophy haul.
Fitzpatrick won last June's US Open at The Country Club after a share of fifth in the PGA Championship the month before at Southern Hills, a near-miss that set up a breakthrough.
"I think I learned a lot from that," he said. "That final round there was a lot of talk about me playing a little bit too fast, looking a bit rushed.
"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 didn't get much time to reflect on it.
"But then when the time came Sunday of US Open, I felt like I knew exactly what to do -- just do the opposite of what I was doing at the PGA."
That victory gives Fitzpatrick the belief that helped him beat Jordan Spieth in a playoff last month to win the PGA Tour Heritage title.
"Just the confidence that I can do it, I think being the biggest thing," he said. "That week my game was the best it has ever been.
"Statistically I didn't even putt that well that week, so it's kind of a case of 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 add to my performance.
"That's kind of a big thing, as well, for myself that I feel like if I can do that, I know I can contend and win."
Doing so this week will mean conquering the dense rough and undulating greens of Oak Hill.
"It's just a brute of a golf course," Fitzpatrick said. "There are so many tough golf holes where you have to hit good shots. The great thing about it is it's a proper test. You've got to play good golf."
Fitzpatrick says he feels comfortable in more difficult conditions.
"It's a case of just grinding it out," he said. "I hate it when tournaments are 25-, 30-under par to win. 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."
Fitzpatrick said patience will be a key this week as it was in his Heritage triumph.
"My game feels in good shape. I just think this golf course is going to be tough," he said. "You have to do every single thing well. You can't get away with anything."