'Nobody Knows What's Going On' - Matt Fitzpatrick On 'Confusing' Merger

The Englishman admits he has been left in the dark over the merger that was announced between the PGA Tour and the PIF

Matt Fitzpatrick of England looks on during the Golden Bear Pro-Am prior to the Memorial Tournament presented by Workday at Muirfield Village Golf Club
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Matt Fitzpatrick insists he knows nothing about the shock merger between the established tours and the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia ahead of his US Open title defence.

The PGA and DP World Tours announced a framework agreement had been reached with the PIF, which bankrolls LIV Golf, to combine their commercial assets as part of a new, for-profit entity and unify the men's professional game.

It was news that very few saw coming, not even Fitzpatrick, the reigning US Open champion.

"I'll be completely honest, I literally know as much as you," Fitzpatrick said, when asked for his opinion on the matter. "I'm sure everyone has gotten questions about it. I found out when everyone else found out. Yeah, honestly, I know literally nothing."

It comes almost a year after LIV Golf launched just outside of London and at the end of a bitter war of words that had spilled into the courtrooms. However, rather than providing clarity on the matter, this latest chapter in the ongoing saga has led to more uncertainty over the future, with the legality of the agreement already under scrutiny from the US Senate.

"The whole thing is confusing," Fitzpatrick added. "It was confusing last year. I seem to remember just last year just thinking about the tournament, just the US Open. It was obviously different because I had the tie to the golf course and the history there, so probably was easier for me to mentally focus on that and be in a better place than obviously all this confusion that's going on this week.

"I don't think anyone knows what's going on. Are we signing with the PIF, are we not signing with the PIF? I have no idea. Even though I guess it is confusing, it's pretty clear that nobody knows what's going on apart from about four people in the world."

Despite the confusion, it will be business as usual for the Englishman when he gets his title defence underway. Los Angeles Country Club is the venue for the third men's Major of the year and has been raising eyebrows as anticipation builds.

In particular, the course's par-3s are receiving plenty of attention, with the 11th listed at 290 yards and the 7th at 284 yards. That places them among the longest 'short holes' in US Open history. However, the USGA also has the option to set the par-3 15th up to play just 78 yards, something Fitzpatrick is relishing.

He said: "I think that's amazing. I know there's par-3s here that are 293 yards, I think. Might be able to play a bit longer. I don't know the ins and outs. Yeah, I would argue that at 78 yards, stood there with a lob wedge in your hand, you're going to be a little bit more intimidated than stood there with a 3-wood in your hand. 

"I would probably say that's pretty truthful amongst everyone in the field. I imagine that the target is going to be very small and you're going to have to hit a good shot. I think we need more short par-3s that are challenging, so I'm excited to see what that looks like."

Also among the topics of discussion during a wide-ranging press conference was the proposed golf ball rollback recently announced by the governing bodies to limit hitting distances in the men's professional game. It's an idea that has split opinion, with Fitzpatrick stating his opposition of bifurcation between pros and amateurs.

"I think my opinion is if you're going to roll the ball back, I think just do it for everyone so everyone is playing the same ball, and if it's going 30 yards shorter, then great, whatever. I just don't think you should have a ball for the pros that might be used some tournaments, might not be used some tournaments, then amateurs can buy different golf balls. I don't think that would work.

"I don't understand the ins and outs. But I don't understand why they can't be like, we've done a bunch of testing with this shorter ball and it looks great, we're doing it, or not.

"I don't understand why it's not that straightforward. But that's why I'm not doing that job."

Fitzpatrick gets his title defence underway alongside Cameron Smith and Sam Bennett at 1.32pm local time on Thursday (9.32pm BST).

Andrew Wright
Staff Writer

A lifelong golf fan, Andy graduated in 2019 with a degree in Sports Journalism and got his first role in the industry as the Instruction Editor for National Club Golfer. From there, he went on to enjoy a spell freelancing for Stats Perform producing football reports, and then for RacingNews365 covering Formula 1. However, he couldn't turn down the opportunity to get back into the sport he grew up watching and playing and now covers a mixture of equipment, instruction and news for Golf Monthly's website and print title.

Andy took up the game at the age of seven and even harboured ambitions of a career in the professional ranks for a spell. That didn’t pan out, but he still enjoys his weekend golf at Royal Troon and holds a scratch handicap. As a side note, he's made five holes-in-one and could quite possibly be Retief Goosen’s biggest fan.

As well as the above, some of Andy's work has featured on websites such as goal.com, dailyrecord.co.uk, and theopen.com.

What's in Andy's bag?

Driver: Callaway Mavrik Sub-Zero (9°)

3-wood: TaylorMade Stealth 2 Plus (15°)

Driving iron: Titleist U500 (17°)

Irons: Callaway Apex Pro '19 (4-PW)

Wedges: Titleist Vokey SM9 (50°, 54° and 58°)

Putter: TaylorMade Spider X

Ball: TaylorMade TP5x