Fitzpatrick Reveals Why Hovland Foursomes Pairing Never Came To Fruition

The Englishman has revealed why a Ryder Cup partnership with Viktor Hovland never got over the line

Matt Fitzpatrick and Viktor Hovland
(Image credit: Getty Images)

US Open champion Matt Fitzpatrick has opened up about the recently announced Hero Cup, the match play event between Great Britain & Ireland and Continental Europe, and why a Ryder Cup partnership with Viktor Hovland never quite materialised.

The Hero Cup, which will take place at Abu Dhabi Golf Club in January 2023, shares similar characteristics to that of the Seve Trophy, which was last contested in 2013. Speaking of the event, the Englishman said: "I was talking with somebody earlier this year and said that it would be good to have practice of playing foursomes, playing fourballs with guys you potentially could play with in Ryder Cup."

The Hero Cup is designed at giving European players experience in the format, which then can ultimately transfer to the Ryder Cup. The teams will be selected by Luke Donald, who will preside over the event in his capacity as 2023 European Ryder Cup Captain, in consultation with the two team captains, who will be named in due course.

"I think that's definitely important because I think it just gives you that experience of not playing your own ball," Fitzpatrick said.

In the 2021 Ryder Cup, the 28-year-old had been tipped to form a foursomes bond with debutant Viktor Hovland, with the pair possessing a similar skill-set tee-to-green that has so often gelled in the past. That however, never quite came to fruition. 

"That's something I found I was really disappointed with and found difficult when we played at Whistling Straits. I was really up for playing with Viktor Hovland in the foursomes and that's kind of what we were down to do, and then we went out there, tried each other's ball, he hit mine and it was spinning all over the place and I hit his and there was no spin whatsoever.

"All of a sudden, that's a pairing that's just gone out the window without really knowing it. If we had known before about the ball, it probably would not have entered the conversation and things might have been different or we'd have played a different, played fourball instead or something. I think it's good to get that practice in and see what's going on"

Fitzpatrick would go on to partner Lee Westwood and narrowly lose out to the pairs of Brooks Koepka and Patrick Berger before Scottie Scheffler and Patrick Cantlay. Hovland instead paired with Paul Casey and Bernd Wiesberger, suffering the same fate.

The US Open champion is in the field at the DP World Tour's flagship BMW PGA Championship this week, his first event on English soil since the triumph at Brookline Country Club. He will then make the trip to Marco Simone Golf and Country Club on the outskirts of Rome for the Italian Open, and a first glimpse of the 2023 Ryder Cup venue.

James joined Golf Monthly having previously written for other digital outlets. He is obsessed with all areas of the game – from tournament golf, to history, equipment, technique and travel. He is also an avid collector of memorabilia; with items from the likes of Bobby Jones, Tiger Woods, Francis Ouimet, Arnold Palmer, Lee Trevino, Adam Scott and Ernie Els. As well as writing for Golf Monthly, James’ golfing highlight is fist bumping Phil Mickelson on his way to winning the Open Championship at Muirfield in 2013. James grew up on the east coast of England and is the third generation of his golfing family. He now resides in Leeds and is a member of Cobble Hall Golf Club with a handicap index of 1.7. His favourite films are The Legend of Bagger Vance and Tin Cup.