Matt Fitzpatrick - US Open winner has done his city proud as Sheffield earns its second Major in six years

On the final morning of the 2022 US Open, only five Englishmen had been able to call themselves a post-war Major champion. On Monday morning we have six, thanks to Matt Fitzpatrick.

Monday, 20th June 2022, 12:19 pm

That two of those grew up honing their games at courses just eight miles apart is a thing of wonder and should serve as a source of immense pride for the people of Sheffield.

Fitzpatrick, a Hallamshire GC lad, was a name to be bookmarked when the green jacket settled on the shoulders of Birley Wood boy Danny Willett back in 2016, two years a professional and having earned the respect of the game already for an amateur record that had taken him to number one in the rankings.

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BROOKLINE, MASSACHUSETTS - JUNE 19: (L-R) Matt Fitzpatrick of England is congratulated on his win by Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland as he walks off the 18th green during the final round of the 122nd U.S. Open Championship at The Country Club on June 19, 2022 in Brookline, Massachusetts. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

And now after flirtations and blow-ups and the this and the that, Sheffield has its second Major champion.

There’s beauty to what happened at Brookline on Sunday evening, but there’s cold hard method, too. Golf is an increasingly scientific sport and it’s a side of the game that Fitzpatrick has embraced to an extent it has transformed his game.

Talented though he is he was too slight, they said, for him to scale these heights; golf these days is about length.

But tweaks have given him extra yardage, a commitment to chronicling every shot he has ever played an insight into the lengths Fitzpatrick will go to to squeeze everything he has out of his game.

Majors are different those same folk say – cruelly, Worksop’s Lee Westwood is one of many that could tell you that – but there was just a certain something to Fitzpatrick, to those you speak to that know him personally, that suggested this was going to happen. Thankfully, at the age of 27, with the steady hand of Billy Foster guiding him, it has.

As challengers fell away, unable to score too heavily early on, the battle became three-pronged.

Scottie Scheffler wobbled at the turn. Just as Will Zalatoris looked to be set to stretch a lead, he put balls in the tough stuff on both 12, which he bogeyed, and then 13.

And there a moment of majesty; a snaking monster of a putt that seemed to turn the tide. To that point it had been Fitzpatrick’s putting that had threatened to cost him, with every 50/50 seemingly going against him. It’s a funny game.

That Zalatoris saved par showcased the titanic tussle the pair were sharing, but where runs to Major success had fizzled out previously, the Englishman raised his game.

At 15, a truly world-class 225-yard in from gallery-flattened rough. From the thick stuff, closer to the fairway it should be noted, Zalatoris faltered to drop to -4. Fitzpatrick rolled in for birdie and a two-shot lead. A funny game indeed.

But the mark of class, of Sheffield steel, came at 18 with sand beneath the ball. His second, surely one of the greatest clutch shots in Major history, won the thing and put his name in lights forevermore.

Little Sheffield does indeed have its second Major champion, more than most countries can boast. Willett’s Masters win all those years back was something of a shock, but for Matt Fitzpatrick, the 2022 US Open was forecast long, long ago.

There’s a bit of golfing majesty in these hills, you know.