May 20, 2022
Tulsa, Oklahoma, USA
Southern Hills Country Club
JOHN DEVER: Welcome back to the 2022 PGA Championship here at Southern Hills Country Club, Tulsa, Oklahoma. We are once again joined by Matt Fitzpatrick. Matt put forth a 1-under par 69 today. He's 3-under for the championship. Looks like some crisp play from you again today in some really challenging conditions, but at the end of the day you're right in the thick of this thing going into the weekend, aren't you?
MATT FITZPATRICK: Yeah, I guess so. Obviously see how the conditions are the rest of the afternoon. I think it was forecast to sort of die down a little bit. I'm looking outside now, it's kind of not quite as strong, I guess, as it was this morning, and I'm definitely going to use that excuse.
Yeah, I think I'm really happy with the way I played the first two days. Really, really happy. Just got to build on it tomorrow, and yeah, looking forward to it.
Q. What do you like about what you've put forth two days in that you can take into the weekend with you? What about your game is spot on?
MATT FITZPATRICK: To be honest, I've done everything well in periods. I've driven it well. Today's round, for instance, I drove it well first 12, 13 holes and then hit my irons well the same kind of stretch and sort of scrambled well, chipping and putting on my last six or seven.
I'm really pleased with the way that that's been, and it's kind of all dovetailed well.
Q. What was the key sort of mentally with the round today? Was it being patient as the birdies weren't flowing, you had to sort of stick in there?
MATT FITZPATRICK: Yeah, I think that's the thing. I think that's the one thing that I've learnt more and more certainly over the last few years, particularly with Billy on the bag, as well, is just to stay patient and the birdies will come basically.
It's a case of -- it's very rare that anyone hits 18 greens in regulation, but if you do, you'd like to think you're going to hole one or two, three or four, and now that's sort of four birdies easy as that.
I think that's been the big thing for me this year as well as I'm hitting my irons better, but just giving myself more chances, not necessarily hitting it any closer, just having more opportunities, I guess.
Q. When you showed up to the course I presume on Monday, did you think this was the kind of place that would suit you?
MATT FITZPATRICK: No. No. My dad called me and he was asking how is the course looking, and no offense to the PGA here, but I was like, it's a typical PGA, it's long and tough and just not really my cup of tea.
I'll be honest, this year I've got a lot longer, and it showed a lot the first two days, the guys that I played with, the clubs that I've been hitting into holes. I don't know, hopefully it's a sign of things are changing a little bit for me and open a few more doors on other golf courses.
Q. Friday is a day typically when fans start looking at the cut line and wondering what's going to happen. When you look at this field, the golfers that do make that cut line, how possible is it for them to make that run, especially given the course conditions and not knowing what the weather is going to be like this weekend?
MATT FITZPATRICK: Yeah, it's tough. I think it's supposed to be cold, so I can't really comment on that, but I think if it stayed like this the next two days, I'll be honest, I think anyone who's probably not within five or six going into the weekend is probably going to be struggling at least, I guess.
I feel like it's difficult to string a bunch of birdies together. There is holes where you've got a few wedges in hand, but at the same time, I found out today, you can be out of position on those holes and you're scrambling for your par.
It is an interesting golf course because you can hit good shots, I think, on to the green and kind of get punished. It catches a slope and goes a little bit further away. But at the same time you can catch a few breaks and maybe you can make a couple.
But I think it's hard to really go crazy low if it stays like it is. Hopefully no one makes me eat my words there.
Q. I think this is the 28th major for you; just the one top 10 from the Masters in 2016. How do you feel about that major record and can you put your finger on why it hasn't clicked for you in the big ones?
MATT FITZPATRICK: Yeah, I'll be honest, I think probably 2016, 2017, 2018, I probably -- maybe my World Ranking was probably better than where my game was. I think probably that's why I never really kind of challenged hovering around top 50.
I think the last three years I feel like I've been closer. I feel like this is the best I've played ever in my career this year so far. I think it's sort of obviously big positives.
But I think the thing is it's like we go to all these different golf courses, and I've said it a lot this year, but golf courses in my opinion -- I play well at places that suit me or I enjoy playing, and I think some of the places that we go don't necessarily do that for me. That's just the way it is.
I look back at Harding Park, there was no way in hell I ever had a chance there. It's different. I'm hoping in what is it, like four weeks' time that I'm going to have every chance and everyone else is going to be terrible. We'll see.
Certainly in the last few years I feel like I'm getting closer to not necessarily challenging for a major but at least putting myself in contention a little bit more often.
Q. If this event had been two years ago, if it had been during the Harding Park year, would you have said I'd have no chance in hell?
MATT FITZPATRICK: Yeah, pretty much, yeah. I reckon -- I've not looked at any of the radar stuff this week, but I'm taking a guess that I'm probably getting plenty of drives out there at 177 -- almost 180 ball speed, and two years ago I'd probably be absolutely swinging out of my shoes to get 170.
I feel like that's just made a huge difference to -- probably just like my mental state, being able to play some of these long par-4s that we're playing and hitting 9-iron, 8-iron into them.
A good example for me was the 1st. I've stood on the tee and Billy has given me driver, and I'm thinking to myself, can we get too close here, and I ended up having 40 yards to the front. That's obviously never something that I've had in my head before. It's been a big positive in the last six, eight months.
Q. Obviously outside of the fact that you wanted to be longer, what was the impetus? What drove you to say, okay, we have to do this?
MATT FITZPATRICK: Just look at probably everyone around me, and realistically the stats -- I'm very analytical and that's what it shows. If you can put on 10 yards, I think it's almost worth half a shot or maybe even more. I'm not a hundred percent sure. That was kind of the common theme coming out of every report that I had. If you can hit it further but hit the same amount of fairways then you're laughing basically.
Yeah, the last two years I feel like that's what I've done.
Q. Your short game has been actually tremendous, 12 out of 13, getting up around here today you were I think eight out of nine. Can you talk about what you do around here because obviously there's not much Bermudagrass back in England, and I know you haven't been back in a while, but still, to get around this golf course you have to be able to have some short game and you did.
MATT FITZPATRICK: Yeah, you do. I think one thing I did this week, I changed my wedge. I got less bounce. I think that's been a big help. I've switched my grip off the fairway -- well, I was doing it for a couple years out of the rough. I switched my grip going left hand below right from the fairway now. I feel much more consistent. That's been the case all year.
And then bunkers I feel like this sand you've got to understand that it's just going to be the same every time. You're not going to spin it. It's going to be releasing.
I think it's helped that I've missed in the right spots, as well, and I think just sort of knowing that the shot is going to release in the bunkers, and having that consistent strike in the sand has helped me out, too.
Q. The left-hand low is what you were doing when you were chipping with that, right?
MATT FITZPATRICK: Yeah, I do that everything apart from bunkers, yeah.
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