YOUNG EURO STAR OPENS UP ABOUT RY­DER CUP DE­BUT

Matt Fitz­patrick opens up about his Ry­der Cup de­but ahead of Bri­tish Masters ti­tle de­fence

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Matt Fitz­patrick’s de­but ap­pear­ance in the Ry­der Cup may have ended in dis­ap­point­ment, but the ex­pe­ri­ence has only proved to whet his ap­petite for fur­ther ap­pear­ances in the bi­en­nial com­pe­ti­tion.

The 22-year-old rookie was beaten in both of his matches in Hazel­tine as Europe fell to a 17-11 de­feat ear­lier this month.

How­ever, Fitz­patrick rel­ished the ex­pe­ri­ence and be­lieves the Euro­pean team on show in Min­nesota could be the same 12 that win back the tro­phy in Paris in two years’ time.

“It was fan­tas­tic,” said Fitz­patrick.

“It was a great ex­pe­ri­ence, one that I will never for­get. Your first Ry­der Cup, you don’t for­get it, what­ever hap­pens.

“It just makes me want to be on more teams and hope­fully in years to come I can make them. If I keep play­ing well and keep work­ing hard, I can have more ex­pe­ri­ences like that.

“The 12 who were there two weeks ago could eas­ily be the 12 in two years’ time. We have got some great play­ers on that team.

“To be on the same team as Hen­rik Sten­son, Lee West­wood and Ser­gio Gar­cia, and play in the Ry­der Cup with them, not just watching from out­side the ropes, was spe­cial.”

Hav­ing rel­ished the team en­vi­ron­ment in Hazel­tine, Fitz­patrick’s fo­cus is now back on his own game as he looks to defend his Bri­tish Masters ti­tle.

The young English­man (pic­tured with the Bri­tish Masters tro­phy) won by two strokes last year and is hop­ing he can re­peat that suc­cess this week. “It is ex­cit­ing, I am re­ally look­ing for­ward to the week,” he added. “This is the first time I can try and defend a ti­tle and it is all new feel­ings, but I am look­ing for­ward to it. “I have fan­tas­tic mem­o­ries [of last year], it was my first pro­fes­sional win and it’s such a spe­cial event, be­ing my home coun­try, home crowd. “I think the Bri­tish crowds are the best in the world. Ob­vi­ously, to have them here again, it will be ex­cit­ing. Hope­fully we can all play some good golf and then they will en­joy the week.” The Bri­tish Masters gets un­der way to­mor­row at the Grove, Hert­ford­shire, and will fea­ture a strong field in­clud­ing Fitz­patrick’s Ry­der Cup team­mates Lee West­wood, Danny Wil­lett, Chris Wood and Andy Sul­li­van. Two-time Masters cham­pion Jose Maria Olaz­a­bal will also re­turn to ac­tion af­ter 18 months on the side­lines due to rheuma­toid arthri­tis.

RIS­ING STAR: Matt Fitz­patrick is the de­fend­ing cham­pion at the Bri­tish Masters

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