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August 16, 2013

Matthew Fitzpatrick


THE MODERATOR:  Matthew is a 4 & 3 winner over Adam Ball of Richmond, Virginia.  Matt is from England and has had quite a summer, low amateur at the Open Championship at Muirfield, and now into the semifinals of the U.S.Amateur.  Tell us how that sounds when someone says that to you.
MATT FITZPATRICK:  Yeah, it's definitely a nice feeling, that's for sure.  It's been a great back end of the season for me.  Ever since I finished my exams, my golf rapidly improved really.  I put it down to just that I've had more time to play and practice and work with my coach and stuff like that really.  Just playing more golf has helped me a lot.
THE MODERATOR:  Give us an assessment of the way you played today and your match.
MATT FITZPATRICK:  To start with it was a pretty slow start, which is the slowest I've been all week, really.  And then after about five holes I sort of got it together a bit and just started trying to make pars, really, more than anything, and won a few holes, got back into it, made a couple of birdies, as well.
Then I think I had four pars in a row maybe and won all four holes, so that was sort of the big turning point in the match.

Q.  Is there a camaraderie amongst the international players?  Obviously there's no Americans now in the U.S.Amateur going forward, but is there a camaraderie amongst the international players even if you're not from the same country?
MATT FITZPATRICK:  I guess so, yeah.  I guess everyone is looking out for each other.  I think we're massively out numbered in this field this week, that's for sure.  But I'd probably say more than anything it's between the countries that everyone is from.  You've got the two Australian guys who are together, and there's the English guys, as well.  I know they play practice rounds with each other and stuff like that.
I think it's each to their own within the countries really.

Q.  At any point in the round could you feel the crowd going against you knowing that you were playing an American?
MATT FITZPATRICK:  Yes and no.  I've had a couple of occasions where maybe we've both hit a pretty similar shot and the other guy has got a bit more of a cheer, I guess.  But my mom and dad have been walking around all week, and they said that there's been so many American people that are rooting for me really, which is nice.

Q.  What do you know, if anything, about the guy you'll be playing tomorrow?
MATT FITZPATRICK:  Absolutely nothing.  No, I spoke to Neil quickly but only about himself really, nothing to do with the opponent really.  Just see what I get on the first tee.

Q.  When you face a guy with so much at stake and you don't really know anything about him, does that change your approach, change your strategy at all?  What's the mentality?
MATT FITZPATRICK:  Not really.  I think it doesn't make the match easier, but I think it makes‑‑ well, I feel it makes me feel easier about the game because I don't really know the guy, so there's no good feelings or no bad feelings towards him.  You just sort of play your own game and take one shot at a time and see where you end up, and if they play better on the day, then that's that.

Q.  Tell us about the experience at Muirfield and what that has done for your confidence as a player.
MATT FITZPATRICK:  I'll tell you, it has improved my confidence.  If I'm honest, I guess I do doubt myself quite a bit.  I wish I was asked that question the other day.  But it's nice to sort of do well and compete with the guys that I played with.  I think I beat a couple of the guys that I played with in my group throughout the week, so that was nice, along with beating some big names, as well, that didn't make the cut.  That is fairly impressive, so it does give you a bit of confidence.
But I don't want to get too overconfident and think I'm the next best thing, because I'm definitely not.

Q.  I was just wondering how tall you are, how much you weigh?
MATT FITZPATRICK:  I had this question yesterday.  I'm going to answer it the same.  I'd take a rough guess at about 5'9".  How much I weigh, about 9? stone, I think, which I couldn't tell you in pounds.

Q.  Do you get a lot of comments about‑‑ or doubts about you because you're not that big?
MATT FITZPATRICK:  Yeah.  I don't know if you managed to see anything from the Open, but I was constantly questioned whether I was either a ball boy or a caddie, just not a player.  Everyone constantly asked for my player's badge, and it's been the same here this week a couple of times.  Yeah, definitely Neil, he's a big guy and he's recently had a lot of facial hair, so he certainly looks like a player, whereas I don't have any of that, so I'm not going to be taken as a player.

Q.  How do you feel about that?
MATT FITZPATRICK:  I don't mind it, really.  I'm not too fussed with it.  It's just something on the side, and I'm just trying to get on with the golf, really.

Q.  You said you've doubted yourself in the past.  Can you just talk about that?  It doesn't seem like there's any reason lately to really doubt yourself.
MATT FITZPATRICK:  Yeah, I don't know what to say about that, really.  I wouldn't say I‑‑ I feel like a lot of people, in particular the English Amateur that I played a couple of weeks ago, I'm proud of the silver medal win.  I'm fairly certain that I was supposed to be the favorite to win it, and I can say now I never go into the tournament thinking I'm easily going to win this, I'm supposed to win it, I'm disappointed if I'm‑‑ because personally I don't think that's the right way to go about thinking, because I just don't think it is.  I guess that's really why I doubt myself.  I wouldn't say I doubt whether I can hit a golf shot or if you gave me one I reckon I could hit it.  But I guess it's more to do with finishing place or winning or something like that really.

Q.  You've raved about the experience you had at Muirfield this year and how great it was that week.  How difficult will it be for you to not think about the next two majors tomorrow, because a win tomorrow will get you into the next two?
MATT FITZPATRICK:  Good question.  Yeah, it will be difficult, yeah, obviously.  I'd like to think I can just stick to my game plan and just play the match as the match, really.  I'm also in a fortunate position with the World Ranking.  I've heard that if you manage to get to No.1, I think getting an invite to one of the majors is certainly‑‑ by the end of this tournament anyway.  Not 100 percent sure if I've done enough this week just to get the points in comparison to last year's British Boys, the world falloff, but if I ever have that sort of ‑‑ it's a backup, I guess, but I think just trying to take every match to the end of the match and trying not to build it up.  Obviously if I did get to the final, then that's a bit different.  You cannot sort of just say it's like the first round because it's certainly not.

Q.  You got to the ninth tee and the match was all square.  The next five holes, probably the most difficult part of the golf course, and that's where you put yourself in position to win.  Tell us how you played there, and was it more you playing better and Adam made some mistakes or more you beating him?
MATT FITZPATRICK:  Yeah, 9 I hit quite a good drive, and Adam just didn't quite catch one on 9, and I think that was‑‑ I hit a great‑‑ well, what I thought was a very good second shot into 9.  It's always a tough hole.  And for me I think that was sort of the turning point because I just sort of switched the momentum in the last three holes, I guess.
And then just tried to stick to my game plan of just carrying on making pars and just grinding it out and not trying to make any mistakes and just seeing how it went really.  Like I say, that is pretty much the toughest stretch of the golf course, so if you do make pars your chances of winning holes is increased.  Yeah, just trying to play steady and make pars, really.

Q.  I just Googled it, a stone is 14 points, so that would make you 133 pounds dripping wet.

Q.  You haven't been past the 15th hole in match play.  Do you remember what 16, 17 and 18 look like?
MATT FITZPATRICK:  Yeah, I've played them all twice this year, which is okay.  16 is just a normal par‑3.  When I say normal I'll probably mess it up tomorrow.  And then 17, I think everyone knows 17 for what it is, really.  And then 18 for me is‑‑ I wouldn't say it's straightforward, but you can see everything on the hole, so again, it's not simple, but you know where you're going and stuff like that.  But no, hopefully that run carries on until Sunday when obviously I've got to.

Q.  Your game somewhat resembles that of your countryman Luke Donald.  Has he been an inspiration or a role model for you, and have you talked with him at all about Northwestern?
MATT FITZPATRICK:  No, I talked very little at the Open with him.  That's the first time I met him.  I wouldn't say I particularly have a role model whose game I try and copy.  I mean, obviously growing up everyone wants to be like Tiger.  I don't really want to be like Tiger because he hits the ball everywhere off the tee.  But there's a lot of good players coming about nowadays, and for me the big one, I guess a lot of people would say, because he's recently come into good play is Henrik Stenson.  My coach coaches Henrik, and I've met him a couple of times, and he just seems very laid back and just a great all‑around player really, doesn't do anything particularly fantastic and doesn't not do anything poorly really.  He's just a solid player, I think.
If there would be anyone I'd like to be as good as, it would certainly be him, I think.

Q.  Who's your coach?
MATT FITZPATRICK:  Mike Walker, who works with Pete Cowan.  Pete has had numerous players, and Mike has got a lot of fantastic players, as well.  I don't know if anyone saw my Tweet, but I think he's the best in the world by a mile.  Those two.  I don't think there's anyone that comes close to them, really.

Q.  You said that you struggled, I guess, struggled on some of the front nine.  Can you explain why you seem to consistently come up short‑‑ there was a little more wind?  What was the reasoning do you think, on like 2, 3, 4?
MATT FITZPATRICK:  Oh, I don't know.  I'm not really sure.  2, I just didn't‑‑ I thought there was less wind than there was, so maybe just miscalculated that.  And 3 just wasn't a good golf shot.  4, again, just didn't hit it hard enough.  It wasn't necessarily just‑‑ I think it's one of those that I think just about every player probably goes through a round where they just hit three or four bad shots, and for me it was just sort of at the start of the round.

Q.  If he would have been able to convert some of the opportunities he had early and put a little more pressure on you, he could have gone 2‑up relatively easily, I think, on 4.  Would that have taken you out of your game plan a little?
MATT FITZPATRICK:  No, not really, because I know how tough the course is.  Like Pete says, the toughest stretch is toward the end anyway.  I've been fairly consistent throughout the week.  If I hit the fairways on the tough holes and if I manage to get a couple of holes back, maybe.  Once I've put pressure on by just hitting fairways and greens, it's always a lot harder to come back to that, really.

Q.  Outside of the fact that he hits the ball over the map, is there anything else that you don't like about Tiger?
MATT FITZPATRICK:  No, I like Tiger a lot.  I do like watching him play, and when I saw him at the Open, the aura that he had around him was just‑‑ you don't really see that around any other player.  What I would say is that he is a great player and he always will be, and I think pretty much everyone knows Tiger for his fantastic putting and short game.  I don't think if someone said who hits it the straightest on Tour, you wouldn't go to Tiger Woods straightaway, that's for sure, because the amount of time you turn on the TV and he's hitting a 50‑yard hook around a tree would be quite a lot.  But I mean, there's no question that he is the best player in the world for me.  Yeah, just needs to improving his driving, I guess.

Q.  You know how many times he won this tournament, right?
MATT FITZPATRICK:  Yeah, just three.  (Laughing.)
THE MODERATOR:  Well done, Matt.  Thank you.

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