With the way Matt Fitzpatrick dutifully prepares for tournaments and enacts proper course management, I’d expect his results at the Players Championship to be a bit stronger.
He’s made three cuts in six tries with one MC coming last year. However, he need only look as far back as 2021 to find a strong showing.
Fitzy carded 68-68-72-72 for T-9th and just six shots off Justin Thomas’ winning pace.
"“I think for me, it’s just a demanding golf course,” Fitzpatrick was transcribed by ASAP Sports in 2021. “In particular visually off the tee. I think some of the fairways are actually wider than they look once you get — yeah, wider than they look from off the tee, so I think it sort of plays a little bit like that, and I personally think the straighter hitters probably have a bit of advantage around here. Gives you more of a chance to hit more greens really.”"
This quote is interesting because Fitzpatrick has gained significant distance since 2022. He’s been in or near the top 50 in driving distance, but has now dipped down to 73rd (60.61%) in driving accuracy.
Finding that sweet spot of being top 50 in both is key while not losing his trademark accuracy to do distance gains.
I trust him to dial back at the right times this week to hit enough fairways and play well.
The Englishman’s dealt with some neck issues that resulted in some middling performances by his high standards of late. It likely has to do with the aforementioned stat dips. A T-7th at the 38-man Sentry Tournament of Champions is his top result out of three top-25s in six starts this PGA Tour season.
Fitzpatrick said he’s feeling better than he did back at the Genesis Invitational where he missed the cut. It showed last week at the Arnold Palmer Invitational. A Saturday 76 kept him from contending, but 70-69-69 otherwise was championship-quality golf. He finished T-14th.
If playing two weeks in a row isn’t an issue, I like Fitzpatrick to narrowly improve upon his career-best T-9th at TPC Sawgrass.