Merger A 'Tough One To Swallow' For Players Who Turned Down LIV - Matt Fitzpatrick

Matt Fitzpatrick was sympathetic towards those players who said no to the lucrative offers from LIV Golf

Matt Fitzpatrick
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Matt Fitzpatrick warmed up for his US Open title defence next week with a solid four-under 68 but the line of post-round questions centred less on the five birdies that he had just made in Canada and more on what he made of this week’s news.

The World No. 8’s opinion was always going to be sought after and he was playing it straight with his thoughts on the proposed deal with the PIF. Fitzpatrick is back playing some of his best golf and that’s what he wants to focus on, doing what he did at Brookline, beating the best.

“Obviously I knew this was going to happen. I knew I was going to get a million and one questions. I thought long and hard on how I'm going to answer them. And that's not really my job. I spoke to a few close friends of mine and listened to what they had to say, successful businessmen. All I can do is go and play great golf myself,” the 28-year-old explained. 

“Whether everyone comes back and plays in the field, I've still got to beat them in front of me. Everyone in this field, I've got to beat them in front of me. So obviously there's a potential sour taste in there for some guys coming back. But at the end of the day you're trying to beat the course and that's what I'm going to try and concentrate on.”

Of all the big names to be constantly linked with the LIV Golf League Fitzpatrick’s was never one of them. He’s always been vocal about welcoming the possibility of the LIV players featuring in the Ryder Cup but his interest never went beyond some initial conversations. 

“I never really got a formal offer. It wasn't something I was interested in from the start. I purely spoke to them purely out of being nosy as to what they're going to do, what's the set-up going to be. So, yeah, for me it didn't really make a difference. I was always going to be on the PGA Tour. Obviously for the guys that did turn down significant amounts of money then that's probably a tough one to swallow and I feel for them.”

Fitzpatrick has one win this year, at the RBC Heritage at Harbour Town where he knocked a 9-iron to a foot at the third play-off hole against Jordan Spieth. This week RBC are the title sponsors in Canada and Fitzpatrick, who is always good for a considered view on things, was asked about the affect that Tuesday’s news might have on this week’s tournament.

“Obviously a lot of sympathy, arguably the best sponsor for the PGA Tour. They have done a fantastic job coming into Harbour Town. I remember when knowing that event so well and I know at times when it was looking for a sponsor and it was struggling to get a field. And RBC to come in and just take it over and pump the money that they have pumped in, like I say, pretty much second to none out here, in my opinion. So I think, I'm sure it was a tough one to take. 

"But at the same time part of me understands where Jay's coming from and that it's got to be confidential and that it's got to be quiet and secret. Because the moment of any news of a deal got out, the whole world was going to explode, like it has. So I also have to understand that side as well.”

Fitzpatrick was playing alongside Ludvig Aberg who is making his PGA Tour debut after recently turning pro and the Englishman was suitably impressed by the Swedish sensation who opened with a three-under 69.

“He drove the ball very, very well. And yeah, he's a good player. I'm very excited that he's a European.”

Mark Townsend
Contributing editor

Mark has worked in golf for over 20 years having started off his journalistic life at the Press Association and BBC Sport before moving to Sky Sports where he became their golf editor on He then worked at National Club Golfer and Lady Golfer where he was the deputy editor and he has interviewed many of the leading names in the game, both male and female, ghosted columns for the likes of Robert Rock, Charley Hull and Dame Laura Davies, as well as playing the vast majority of our Top 100 GB&I courses. He loves links golf with a particular love of Royal Dornoch and Kingsbarns. He is now a freelance, also working for the PGA and Robert Rock. Loves tour golf, both men and women and he remains the long-standing owner of an horrific short game. He plays at Moortown with a handicap of 6.