Full Swing Season 1 Episode 5 Recap: American Dreams

American Dreams follows, and contrasts, the careers and games of Matt Fitzpatrick and Dustin Johnson, building up to Fitzpatrick's crowning moment

Netflix Full Swing screenshot of Matt Fitzpatrick entering stats into his laptop
(Image credit: Netflix)

Episode five of the PGA Tour's Netflix docuseries 'Full Swing' takes in the US Open at Brookline and follows Englishman Matt Fitzpatrick and former World No.1 Dustin Johnson. Stop reading now if you wish to avoid any spoilers!

It follows Fitzpatrick and frames him as an "accomplished British" golfer who is small in stature but gritty as a competitor and the hardest worker in the sport. He's won a lot in Europe but never in America. A "gaping hole in his resume" it's called.

He is compared to Dustin Johnson, an alpha-male of the professional golf world at 6ft,4in with two Majors, 24 PGA Tour wins and over 100 weeks as World No.1.

"I've been in Sheffield for a week now and have not been recognised once. I told you, nobody knows who I am in Sheffield"

"I've been in Sheffield for a week now and have not been recognised once. I told you, nobody knows who I am in Sheffield," he says as he's back home. Full Swing really paints the picture of Fitzpatrick as this shy, unassuming, polite young man who hasn't quite reached stardom yet, but that is all about to change.

We get introduced to Matt Fitzpatrick the statistician and how he has kept notes on basically every single golf shot he has hit since his amateur days. We see a glimpse of his notebook and his beefy excel spreadsheet. "I can show you 7,000 shots if people want to see that."

This is also the second time in Full Swing we get to see and hear from Fitzpatrick after he briefly features in Episode 3: Money or Legacy when taking down Ian Poulter at the WGC-Match Play.

As well as his stats-keeping, we also start to see how the Englishman has been working on increasing his distance via speed training and that later gets compared to Dustin Johnson as the pair play together at the US Open. Fitzpatrick more than holds his own against DJ's big hitting.

'THAT TOUR'

The Netflix crews are at Fitzpatrick's rental home the night before the PGA Championship final round, where he plays in the final group on Sunday as he goes for his first Major victory. Fitzpatrick is house-sharing with Thomas Pieters and his close friend, and Barstool Sports journalist, Dan Rapaport is also at the house.

Pieters and Fitzpatrick bring up the 'that tour' comments made by Paul Azinger towards Tommy Fleetwood, which golf fans will remember from 2020. "You can win all you want on that European Tour," Azinger once said, hinting at how much better the PGA Tour is compared to its European counterpart.

Pieters also brings up how Daniel Berger once said one win on the PGA Tour is comparable to four wins in Europe. This was a fascinating look at how these small niggles from Americans clearly do bother the Europeans.

Fitzpatrick doesn't quite get it done at the PGA Championship but we all know what transpired at the US Open the very next month.

Dustin Johnson to LIV

We then get to hear from Dustin Johnson and his move to LIV Golf. The American has remained fairly coy following his departure from the PGA Tour but he really does get across his reason for joining the Saudi-backed circuit. Money.

"The decision to join LIV I mean it finally just came down to you know the offer that they made me," he explains.

"For me it was playing less, making more money. Pretty simple. Someone offers anyone a job, doing the same thing they're already doing but less time at the office and they're gonna pay them more. Pretty sure you're gonna take it. And something's wrong with you if you didn't."

Image of Dustin Johnson with a quote about why he joined LIV Golf written on top

(Image credit: Future)

DJ and his team are also filmed watching a hilarious social media clip of some of the LIV players' faces edited onto a funny video of them dancing in a hotel room. It's a spoof video that fans might share in their Whatsapp group chats, and seeing that pros watch them too is a funny insight.

He comes across as a very likeable, family man who is very proud of his resume so far and thankful for all of his PGA Tour victories. He just couldn't turn down the money, with his LIV offer reported to be north of $125m.

We see Team Johnson around the table discussing how the first LIV event went and his wife Paulina Gretzky confirming to the cameras that he is just as motivated as ever to continue winning Majors. Good to hear.

Johnson's cameo is substantial but certainly could have been bigger, but Matt Fitzpatrick and his incredible US Open win mainly see out the episode.

FITZPATRICK AT THE US OPEN

Fitzpatrick turns up at the US Open and it's clear his stature in the game is growing following his PGA Championship close-call, extra distance and rising world ranking.

We get to see a number of press conference clips, from Mickelson's first one back from his four month hiatus, to Brooks Koepka getting annoyed with reporters for LIV questions (he hadn't been announced as a LIV signing yet) and Matt Fitzpatrick joking that his reason for more attention was due to everyone leaving the PGA Tour and "the dreggs" having to be dug up.

The US Open was the week after the inaugural LIV event and the entire week's build-up was completely dominated by talk of the rebel tour.

The episode follows both DJ and Fitzpatrick at Brookline and it's clear that Fitzy can hang with him. He gets into the final group for the second-successive Major and the cameras even manage to get some great footage of that Sunday morning in the house with the Fitzpatrick family as they watch the early coverage on TV.

The US Open is where Netflix introduces the audience to Matt's younger brother Alex, who is now also a pro. Alex was on the bag at Brookline during the US Amateur win and is staying with Matt and their parents, being followed by the cameras whilst watching Matt go on to win Major number one.

"Ten million times better than I ever thought it would be. It's a validation of all the work I've put in through the years."

The final round is fully documented as Fitzpatrick and Zalatoris go neck-and-neck, with Full Swing conveying the drama of Sunday at Brookline very well. Fitzpatrick's family and Dan Rapaport are all mic'd up during the final round, too, so we get a great perspective of how his team were feeling throughout all the ebbs and flows of the superb final round.

His incredible bunker shot on the 72nd hole, arguably the best shot of the 2022 professional golfing calendar, perhaps wasn't conveyed to be quite as difficult as it actually was but the footage and music as he approaches the green really capture the enormity of the event and his crowning moment. The scenes that follow are superb, including his and his family's reaction, a congratulatory hug from Rory McIlroy on the final green and a short speech from legendary caddie Billy Foster in the clubhouse. It's goosebumps stuff and fitting for the Englishman to get an episode dedicated to his maiden Major triumph.

"This is what a lifetime of work looks like," Paul Azinger on commentary is heard. "All that work pays off, I'm so happy for you," Rory McIlroy says as we see footage of Fitzpatrick's family in tears and him lifting the trophy.

What a conclusion to the episode.

Matt Fitzpatrick holds up the US Open trophy at Brookline

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Full Swing Season 1 Episode 5: American Dreams

Elliott Heath
News Editor

Elliott Heath is our News Editor and has been with Golf Monthly since early 2016 after graduating with a degree in Sports Journalism. He manages the Golf Monthly news, features, courses and travel sections as well as our large Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages. He covered the 2022 Masters from Augusta National as well as four Open Championships on-site including the 150th at St Andrews. His first Open was in 2017 at Royal Birkdale, when he walked inside the ropes with Jordan Spieth during the Texan's memorable Claret Jug triumph. He has played 35 of our Top 100 golf courses, with his favourites being both Sunningdales, Woodhall Spa, Western Gailes, Old Head and Turnberry. He has been obsessed with the sport since the age of 8 and currently plays at West Byfleet Golf Club in Surrey, where his handicap index floats anywhere between 2-5. His golfing highlights are making albatross on the 9th hole on the Hotchkin Course at Woodhall Spa, shooting an under-par round, playing in the Aramco Team Series on the Ladies European Tour and making his one and only hole-in-one at the age of 15 - a long time ago now!


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