Fitzpatrick Given New Perspective After Call With Ex-Girlfriend From Ukraine

Plight of Ukraine has inspired a rethink in priorities for the Ryder Cup star

Matt Fitzpatrick has vowed to place less importance on winning after a harrowing phonecall with a Ukrainian ex-girlfriend
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Matt Fitzpatrick has revealed a call to a Ukrainian ex-girlfriend has helped to give him a new perspective on his golf career. A harrowing phone call to the Ukrainian-born former partner, whose family still live in Lviv, has made the 27-year-old think about the importance of winning at golf and the balance in his life.

He told MailOnline: “She was telling me about her gran who had a couple of strokes recently and can hardly walk, so she can’t go anywhere. Then she told me about her uncle who had just packed his bags and was off to fight tomorrow. 

“I was sitting there in Florida ready to practise and it hit me, the contrast between the fact he might never come back and what I do. I’d already decided to be a little easier on myself this year and appreciate all that I have but that phone call just emphasised I don’t want to be miserable for the rest of my life worrying about winning golf tournaments. Sure, I want to win but there has to be a balance.”

The Ryder Cup star admitted that he’s piled extra pressure on himself during Majors, and his form had suffered as a result, so he was already open to trying to place less importance on winning.

“I think 100% I’ve got too worked up about them in the past,” he said. “The people around me say that I’m different in a Major week and while I can’t see it myself it’s something that I need to work on. I feel that I’m a different player now to 2015-18, so hopefully I can relax in the Majors and it will start to show.”

Fitzpatrick has won seven times on the DP International formerly European) Tour, but is yet to taste victory on the PGA Tour. He’s in action this week at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, where he opened with a one-over-par 73 on Thursday. He came closest to breaking his PGA Tour duck at his very tournament back in 2019, when he finished runner-up to Francesco Molinari

Jeff Kimber
Jeff Kimber

Jeff graduated from Leeds University in Business Studies and Media in 1996 and did a post grad in journalism at Sheffield College in 1997. His first jobs were on Slam Dunk (basketball) and Football Monthly magazines, and he's worked for the Sunday Times, Press Association and ESPN. He has faced golfing greats Sam Torrance and Sergio Garcia, but on the poker felt rather than the golf course. Jeff's favourite course played is Sandy Lane in Barbados, which went far better than when he played Matfen Hall in Northumberland, where he crashed the buggy on the way to the 1st tee!