Dubai Desert Classic: Fitzpatrick’s disappointment at Tiger Woods withdrawal

Danny Willett and Matt Fitzpatrick were without playing partner Tiger Woods at the Dubai Desert Classic
Danny Willett and Matt Fitzpatrick were without playing partner Tiger Woods at the Dubai Desert Classic
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Matt Fitzpatrick admits to feeling bitterly disappointed at being denied the chance to play alongside his hero Tiger Woods for the second successive round at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic.

Former world number one Woods was forced to withdraw from the event after one round due to back spasms, much to the disappointment of scheduled playing partner Fitzpatrick.

“I don’t think disappointment is the right word,” the 22-year-old said. “I would have liked to play another round with him and talked a little bit more, watch him play golf.

“For me, growing up watching him, to be able to play with him on Thursday and have the opportunity to play with him today and not being able to was obviously disappointing.

“But obviously he has to do what’s right for him and hopefully everything is all right with him and he’ll be back soon.”

Fitzpatrick was drawn alongside Woods and fellow Sheffielder Danny Willett for the first two rounds.

The youngster made a special request to European Tour officials to keep his scorecard for the first round, which Woods has signed.

Woods’ withdrawal left a Steel City pairing to take on the difficult task of the Emirates Golf Club which was battered by the elements on Friday.

Fitpatrick said: “I have no doubt that the large crowd that turned up on the first tee, I would have thought the majority didn’t know he’d withdrawn and were waiting for him to show up.

“They will have been a bit puzzled when me and Danny only went off as a two.

“Hopefully everything’s all right with him and hopefully he’s going to be back for the next tournament.”

Fitzpatrick remained at three under par after five holes of his second round which was suspended due to high winds.

Willett had a little more difficulty in the conditions, carding two bogeys and a birdie to move back to level par for his round.

The pair will recommence their second rounds at 3.30am on Saturday.