By Tony Jimenez
VIRGINIA WATER, England (Reuters) – Matt Fitzpatrick is not one to panic and his inability so far this year to replicate the 2016 form that validated his reputation as one of the hottest young players in golf has yet to unduly trouble him.
The 22-year-old Englishman, whose boyish looks make it easy to mistake him for a teenager, has divided his playing duties between the European and U.S. tours this season but one solitary top-10 finish represents scant reward for all his traveling.
Fitzpatrick said he does not feel overburdened by expectation following his rise to number 41 in the world after winning twice last year and making his Ryder Cup debut in a losing cause in Minnesota.
“You reset, find new goals and you set out the things you want to work on and get better at,” he told Reuters in an interview after a third-round 71 left him down the field on one-over-par 217 at the BMW PGA Championship on Saturday.
“Obviously you don’t want to get ahead of yourself and think you can take on the world. It’s about putting things in perspective and doing things the right way.”
Fitzpatrick achieved his best result in a major by finishing joint seventh in last year’s U.S. Masters at Augusta National and feels his solid all-round game is good enough to make an impression in each of golf’s Big Four championships.
“I’m looking forward to next month’s U.S. Open,” said the calm, level-headed youngster.
“It’s really nice to hear comments that my game is well suited to U.S. Open courses but… I grew up on a windy course so that probably bodes well for the British Open too.
“I finished tied seventh in the Masters and the U.S. PGA Championship is always set up really difficult so that’s similar to the U.S. Open. I’d like to think I could challenge at all the majors.”
Fitzpatrick, who won the money-spinning DP World Tour Championship in Dubai at the end of last season, has been tinkering with his swing this year and believes it is getting close to where he wants it to be.
“The whole game has not been quite perfect this week, hence why I’m in the middle of the pack,” he said. “But I’m definitely getting there and it’s been a better week than previous ones.
“I think it’s probably a work in progress. Some stuff we found in my swing the other week we are starting to work on so hopefully that’s just going to take a bit of time.
“I’ve been given certain drills to help out my body action and to get in a better position at the top of the swing.”
Fitzpatrick missed the cut on his two previous outings, at the RBC Heritage in South Carolina and the Players Championship in Florida.
However, he refused to blame his mediocre performances this season on his globe-trotting exploits.
“I haven’t felt too great this week but I think that was just down to one bad night’s sleep on Tuesday,” he said.
“I’m privileged to fly business and first class so it makes it easy to fly here, there and everywhere. You can get a good sleep on a flight.
“The only thing you have to deal with is jet lag and you can deal with that mentally.”
(Editing by Ken Ferris)