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February 2, 2016

Matthew Fitzpatrick

Dubai, United Arab Emirates

SARAH GWYNN: Thanks for joining us at the OMEGA Dubai Desert Classic. If you couldn't mind, just reflect on the first few weeks of the season and how that's gone for you.

MATTHEW FITZPATRICK: Yeah, they have been pretty busy, obviously EurAsia Cup was the first week and that was quite a fun week. I think everyone enjoyed it and obviously it was a great result for us. Then Abu Dhabi, I actually struggled that week but managed to have a decent finish and then sort of last week, played quite nicely, struggled on the greens. Hopefully that should be quite a bit different here this week because the greens are perfect.

SARAH GWYNN: Is it safe to say when you sat down and thought about your goals for the season, it's pretty different from this time last year?

MATTHEW FITZPATRICK: Yeah, my aim isn't to just keep my card this year, safe to say (laughing). Obviously I never expected to be in the position I'm in. But obviously to be here now, yeah, it's nice and I'm just looking forward to this week and every week I've got coming up now.

SARAH GWYNN: What are your first impressions back at the Emirates Golf Course?

MATTHEW FITZPATRICK: Everything is in brilliant condition as always. This is only my second year but everyone talks about how perfect the golf course is every year. So yeah, to come back and putt on greens that are already 13 on the Stimp and fairways just perfect, yeah, it's great.

Q. I just wondered, a couple of things, really, the logo on your left arm there, does that add any significance to what you're doing here this week? Do you feel a bit more at home here now? And secondly, if I can, do you have a target for this year? Do you write things down at the beginning of the season, what you want to achieve, like some players do, or do you just take it as it comes?
MATTHEW FITZPATRICK: The first one would be, yeah, it definitely does have more significance. Obviously they are a sponsor of mine and they have been very good with me during my time whenever I'm in Dubai. I think it's just a great week in general. It's one high on the players' priority list to play. It's a good week all-around and for me, obviously I want to do well.

And your second question about goals, I don't write anything down, no. I think for me personally, they change all the time with the position that I'm in. Obviously I'm hovering around the Top-50 right now, so it's maintaining that -- well, not maintain; obviously try and get higher than that.

And then other than that, it's just to try and -- obviously everyone is trying to win every tournament they play. That's my goal, and this year just happens to be a Ryder Cup year, as well, so that's another thing that I'll be looking for. It's not something try to get too caught up with. I just try and play the best I can each week and that's how sort of me and the guys that I work with are approaching it, really. Every week is a new week and just try and do the best we can.

Q. Every time you come to the desert you've got a cold.
MATTHEW FITZPATRICK: I think it was last week, yeah. Yes, I have.

Q. It sounds quite bad.
MATTHEW FITZPATRICK: Oh, no, it's fine. Ian Keenan, one of my managers came up to me and said, yeah, your mum says you're not feeling very well. That's a classic mum comment. I'm actually feeling fine. It's just standard cold.

Q. I see you're doing a clinic on Thursday on the range with fellow U.S. Amateur champions; how much do you feel as though you've progressed since winning that amateur? Do you feel your progression through the pro ranks?
MATTHEW FITZPATRICK: Probably say I'm ahead of where I expected me to get, got to admit. I think sort of, obviously I feel like I'm a much better player now than I was then. There's shots that I can hit now that I couldn't before, and vice versa, really.

I think just the experience that I've gained from playing, playing pro events and amateur, and playing last year on Tour and the year before on The Challenge Tour and stuff, I've just learnt a lot about my game and travelling and everything there is to do with professional golf. There's still tons for me to learn.

Q. Just wanted to carry on from that answer, really, about what you found about professional golf and living that life, is there anything that's really struck you as what you didn't expect to happen?
MATTHEW FITZPATRICK: Not that I can think of off the top of my head to be fair. I think there has been things that have happened that I've obviously not expected. I've got to admit, before turning professional, I've never had a job or anything like that. So this is my first job.

So the big thing that I've learned about this year is the tax man (laughter). That's probably the biggest thing that I've learnt.

Q. I was going to ask you, obviously you mentioned the EurAsia Cup there. What did you take from that, the team environment, and how much has that whetted the appetite looking forward to later this year if you're lucky enough to make the team?
MATTHEW FITZPATRICK: Yeah, definitely, it's made me definitely want to get there in September. Team atmosphere was great. Everyone was sort of having a good laugh and just enjoying themselves. I think that was the big thing that Darren tried to promote, as well, is that you just want to go out there and enjoy yourself and normally when that happens, you play your best golf. I think that's the sort of mentality that I'm trying to take personally into each week.

At the end of the day, I'm lucky to do what I do, and like to think I've worked hard to get here. But at the same time, I'm very privileged to do what I do. So just got to try and enjoy it while I can.

Q. And was there anything that stood out in terms of Darren and his captaincy; any little anecdotes or anything that you got from that that you thought that, you know, that shows how good he should be once you get to Hazeltine?
MATTHEW FITZPATRICK: I think the big thing is he brings massive playing experience from his individual time, winning The Open and all his tournaments that he has won, along with playing lots of Ryder Cups and team golf. So I think that's what he brings to the table. Yeah, I think he'll be a good captain come September.

Q. I think you finished tied for fourth in the DP World Tour Championship; does that give you confidence to come well here? You obviously do well in local courses in local conditions. How do you think that puts you in stead for this weekend?
MATTHEW FITZPATRICK: Yeah, I like it out here. The weather is perfect. There's very little wind and the greens are good. Condition-wise, you're not going to get much better golf out here. I think that obviously is nice to be able to play in that.

I think it just makes you feel a bit more comfortable. When you're playing in Scotland or England or Ireland, for example, you've got strong winds and rain that you've got to all calculate in, whereas here, it's sort of -- yeah, it's the same every day. So it makes it a little bit easier to play.

Q. Do you feel comfortable with all the nice things that have been said about you?
MATTHEW FITZPATRICK: Yeah, I do. I mean, obviously the big thing, it's obviously very nice to have them, have them be said about me. But at the same time, I've -- well, I don't have to live up to it; I'd like to live up to it.

It's one of those that I don't -- me personally, I don't want things to get out of proportion or whatever and everyone saying this about me. I'm just trying to play my own game and I try not to pay too much attention. People say, oh, so-and-so said this about you, and just yeah, try and -- I'll listen to it and then I'll just try and forget about it really.

Q. Who is your biggest critic? Yourself?
MATTHEW FITZPATRICK: My dad (smiling) who is in this room. (Laughter).

SARAH GWYNN: Matt, thank you very much and good luck during the week.

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