Sunday, February 25, 2024

First Englishmen in 50 years to win US Open

Rolex Testimonee Matthew Fitzpatrick has earned his place in U.S. Open history by winning the 122nd edition and claiming the first Major title of his career.

The Country Club, established 140 years ago and one of the most fabled courses in the United States, once again provided a tough challenge to competitors as it hosted the event for a fourth time. Fitzpatrick has a history of success at The Country Club, Brookline which was the stage where he first made a name for himself by winning the 2013 U.S. Amateur Championship. Now the story has come full circle with the English player claiming his maiden Major to become the first non-American to win both the championship and amateur titles – and do so at the same venue.

Fitzpatrick was rewarded for his precision and resilience, securing the winner’s Jack Nicklaus Medal with a final-round 2-under par, 68 at The Country Club to finish the tournament with a 6-under par total of 274. The 1-shot victory from fellow Rolex Testimonee, Scottie Scheffler at the second oldest men’s Major, of which Rolex has been the Official Timekeeper and Official Partner for more than four decades, means Fitzpatrick joins Nicklaus as the only players to win the U.S. Amateur and the U.S. Open at the same course. Nicklaus achieved this feat in 1961 and 1972 after securing victories at Pebble Beach Golf Links.

In lifting the coveted U.S. Open trophy, this win elevates the Englishman into an exclusive group of Rolex Testimonees who have etched their name on the trophy, including The Big Three – Arnold Palmer, Nicklaus and Gary Player – as well as Tom Watson and Tiger Woods.

Following Sunday’s final day of play, on becoming a Major champion, Matthew Fitzpatrick, said: 

It’s what you grow up dreaming of winning and I’ve worked so hard for such a long time. It’s ten million times better than I thought it would feel. Any time you share a record with Jack Nicklaus is unbelievable and for me to be able to have that is incredible.”

Fitzpatrick’s 17 top-10s without a win were the most on TOUR since the start of the 2019-20 season. Zalatoris, with 16, now moves to the top of that list. Fitzpatrick is the first player since Danny Willett at the 2016 Masters to notch his first TOUR win at a major.

Was it force of habit? Fitzpatrick has twice won the Omega European Masters in Switzerland, twice won the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai, and now twice won on this hallowed turf outside Boston, which grew blustery and decidedly chilly for the weekend rounds.

Or was it fate? The relationship between a player and a golf course can mean more than meets the eye. Jon Rahm captured the 2021 U.S. Open at Torrey Pines, the site of his first TOUR win and not far from the hiking trails where he proposed to his wife.

Similarly, Fitzpatrick summoned his old magic from 2013 this week in part by staying with the same host family, Will and Jennifer Fulton, and their three kids, Sam, Annabelle and George. Susan and Russell Fitzpatrick, Matt’s parents, and kid brother Alex stayed there, too, just like nine years ago.

“We each took the same bedrooms,” Susan said, adding that she, too, is a big believer in fate.

Then again, there were some new wrinkles.

“Matt had a chef from Sheffield who’s been with us for a couple of tournaments,” Susan said. “There’s so much work that goes into golf; I don’t think anybody quite realizes. I’m not a numbers person at all. It amazes me how he does it.”

Things to Know

  • Matt Fitzpatrick wins the U.S. Open by one stroke over Scottie Scheffler and Will Zalatoris, earning his first major championship title and first career win on the PGA TOUR
  • Entering the week, Fitzpatrick was the second-highest ranked player in the Official World Golf Ranking without a win on TOUR
  • Fitzpatrick is the first player to earn his first PGA TOUR win in a major championship since Danny Willett at the 2016 Masters Tournament and first to do so at the U.S. Open since Graeme McDowell in 2010
  • Fitzpatrick, who won the 2013 U.S. Amateur at The Country Club, is the 13th player to win the U.S. Amateur and U.S. Open (second to do so at the same course, joining Jack Nicklaus at Pebble Beach Golf Links)
  • World No. 1 and FedExCup leader Scottie Scheffler (T2) sets PGA TOUR record for most official money earned in a season ($12,896,849)
  • Zalatoris has finished runner-up in each of the last two majors (also runner-up at the 2021 Masters Tournament)


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