2022 US Open: Matt Fitzpatrick’s exhilarating victory reminds why golf’s major remains unparalleled

Brooklyn, MA – The week of the 2022 US Open began with a discussion of the worst parts of professional golf and ended with a few moments that showed the game at its best.

Matt Fitzpatrick fired a 68 on Sunday at The Country Club to defeat Will Xalatores and Scotty Schaeffler with a stroke. He won his first major championship In the same place, he won the 2013 American Amateur Award.

It was a power and presence we’re not used to seeing from Fitzpatrick combined with a golf-course-worthy closing kick it’s been played on.

When Phil Mickelson stepped into the microphone on Monday morning to address the LIV Rebellious Golf League he helped launch, its shadows over one of the year’s greatest weeks vanished. dreary shame It penetrated into the rest of the property and foreshadowed a still undesirable future.

Like it or not – and many have spoken out loud and obscene – LIV Golf is here to stay. Players, codes, agents, managers, media and employees are all discussed this week at Brookline. It rocked the sidewalks on which the professional golfer currently sits.

Despite this, Greg Norman’s Pets Project can’t (and probably never will) house a castle that’s built around 16 days out of the year as the major tournaments are contested.

Thursday’s first round was a refuge, and so did the 54 holes that followed.


The US Open leaderboard that was produced over the weekend exacerbated this reality. Colin Morikawa led halfway as he attempted to become the first golfer to win three majors in his first 11 matches since he started the Masters in 1934. He faded with a score of 77 on Saturday, but in his place stood the top three in the world. Sometime on Sunday afternoon, Scotty Scheffler (#1), John Ram (#2) and Rory McIlroy (#3) were among the top four on the leaderboard.

Ram and McIlroy couldn’t capitalize on their chances, and McIlroy squandered one of the best performances of his career after leading the field with nearly 10 winning strikes. Holding on to his dear life along the way in a bid to achieve a rare US Open Masters double, Schaeffler led the Zalatoris with one in return as they pursued the first major of his career and won the PGA Tour.

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Over the next two hours, a week was all about it but Then golf presented perhaps the best golf we’ve seen this year. A two-shot swing at No. 11 gave Zalatores a two-shot lead over Fitzpatrick. Zalatores, a three-time runner-up, snatched the ball from the cup and pumped his fist with lust, strutting like a hell man bent on making up for that PGA Championship loss to Justin Thomas a month ago.

Fitzpatrick’s response to the 13th with a right hook belies the meekness with which he usually carries himself. The tournament was once again tied. The 14th-place Pars led to a long wait on the 15th tee as fans rushed into the narrow fairway that overlooks a stretch of finish where the turkeys (turkeys) have been spinning frequently this week.

Fitzpatrick stared into the future. What was he thinking there as he’s tied up at the top of the US Open with the guy standing next to him? Perhaps in the past, when he won the Am Here race in 2013. Perhaps the future and the remaining four holes he has to break the deadlock. He explained after the event how difficult it was to stop imagining the trophy in his fist.

“You’re just trying to say to yourself, ‘Just stop. Just take a break. Just stop thinking about it. It hasn’t materialized yet,'” Fitzpatrick said.

He. She has not been There so far, but after that hole, he was about to catch him. Fitzpatrick sprayed his drive way to the right but somehow climbed up and down a horseshoe of people from 220 yards to get to 6 under, all while making Zalatoris a bogeyman to drop two back.

“It was one of the best shots I’ve had all day,” Fitzpatrick said. “It was a great shot. To do that and take advantage of the break I got was great.”

Fitzpatrick was barely giving up his house, and that was hardly enough. After an easy 3-4 run at No. 16 and 17, he hit the tee at No. 18 at a bunker in Fairway. As he walked toward her, Boston fans broke their containment of the police force behind them and encircled their once-and-future hero.

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Then Fitzpatrick hit “one of the best shots I’ve ever had” from that bunker, putting the two on a par and avoiding a bird that nearly missed Zalatoris that would have sent the championship into a two-hole playoff. As soon as Zalatoris’ kick passed through the hole, Fitzpatrick turned to the pack of Billy Foster, who was already crying.

Chaos ensued, as it always does at the end of major tournaments. Rory McIlroy was there to hug his Ryder Cup teammate. Fitzpatrick’s brother Alex, who had a bag for him in a 2013 morning, was crying. Fitzpatrick embraced his father on Father’s Day; Both could hardly breathe.

He was emblematic of one of the greatest extended finishes for a major championship of the past decade. While core players may not become multiple winners or future leaders in the Ryder Cup, the weekend was not all about their liking and more than what a purer version of this game looks like.


It’s not the home of golf, but in the US, you can’t necessarily choose a better or more authentic host location than The Country Club. It is one of the five founding clubs of the United States Golf Association, which ran the tournament it hosted this week. The oldest golf courses often host the greatest golf.

It’s hard to explain to beginners how playing the $3.15 million first prize is somehow purer A form of sport. Being among the last few pairs on the back of nine to compete in a major tournament on Sundays, though, is probably the most unthinkable position with the money. The bleak gray backdrop of Boston made the scene seem as raw as it seemed.

Golf has lately been feeling like it’s been manipulated and designed. I felt this brutal improvisation.

It felt important.

It was also fitting that during a year where players were trying to manipulate the system to see how they could work less and earn more, a player might have worked bone In his game he flourished in Brookline. Fitzpatrick has changed his body and game. The numbers don’t lie.

He finished T16 in the driving distance this week, which doesn’t seem like much until you realize he ranked T127 on the PGA Tour last year. He beat Thomas McIlroy this week. It penalized the arcade as well, demonstrating an overall gameplay that is the best ever. Fitzpatrick has a career year in every category except Status, which foreshadows a future in which the win can become a rote.

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He didn’t even need to rely on a racket that he leaned on often. He finished 42nd in position, while McIlroy finished first. If you had talked about that statistic on Monday and who won the event, you would have made a lot of money.

Fitzpatrick proudly displayed the US Open trophy throughout the property as he walked from interview to interview on Sunday evening. His answers were mostly benign and repetitive.

One comment stood out, though. It was a great blow to players who spent the first part of the week defending the business decisions they had made in joining LIV Golf and possibly giving up the chance to play in major tournaments in the future.

“The feeling is out of this world,” Fitzpatrick said of holding the US Open in the same spot as her cousin once held. “It’s pretty cliched, but it’s things I dreamed about as a kid. Yes, to make it happen, I can retire as a happy man tomorrow.”

It’s been the past two weeks, “Money, money, money,” PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan said in a recent message to players. We’ll get back to that conversation on Monday and beyond – if you believe the rumors flying in Brookline – a few past and potential future major winners are planning to jump ship and link up with the PGA Tour competitor.

Over the course of four days – and especially for the last nine pits on Sunday – we shared an experience that all money in the world couldn’t buy: competing for and winning a major championship.

In a world where anything can be bought and anyone can buy it, it is impossible to monetize the sheer joy and exhilaration of that experience.

Rick Gehmann, Patrick MacDonald and Kyle Porter recap the 2022 US Open. Tune in and hear The First Cut on Apple Podcast And the spotify.

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