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Matt Fitzpatrick is drawing plenty of acclaim for his performances in 2022, particularly in Majors, and as his stock has risen, attention has increasingly turned to some of the more unconventional methods he’s using for his success.
For example, after impressing in the PGA Championship, where he finished tied for fifth, it was revealed that Fitzpatrick has tracked every single shot for the last 12 years. It’s also been noted that the 27-year-old putts with the pin in, which he does because he thinks if the ball hits the flagstick, it offers a higher chance of the ball finding the hole. It's not just his short game that he's sought to improve, either, with the length of his drives increasing - an improvement attributed to the work he’s put in with biomechanics expert Dr Sasho Mackenzie since teaming up with him in 2020.
One of the most noticeable quirks of Fitzpatrick’s game, though, is his cross-handed chipping, another technique he’s employed since 2020. Before the final round of the PGA Championship at Southern Hills, Fitzpatrick explained why he uses the technique, which places the left hand low (for a right-hander). He said: “I had a tendency to sort of drive the handle and then the ball would fall off the face, whereas with this, if I did that, I would just shank it. I feel like it's just much more consistent in strike, flight and spin.”
The advantage of the chipping technique is that the dominant hand (in Fitzpatrick’s case, his right hand) helps propel the club without interfering with the clubface. Nevertheless, it’s certainly raised eyebrows on the course. In an interview with PGATour.com (opens in new tab) before the 2022 US Open, Fitzpatrick explained how he handles the reactions from the crowd to his unorthodox method. He said: “I find it hilarious. I’ll hear in the crowd: ‘Oh, my God! What’s he doing?’ Really, it’s hilarious. But it’s worked really well for me. My chipping stats are 100 percent better from this year compared to last. It’s a good start.”
Fitzpatrick then expanded on exactly how he thinks the technique is helping his game. He said: “I just found it more consistent. The ball comes off the face much more consistently. It’s the same every time. You know what’s coming. When I was chipping normally, it’s not like I had the yips. I was just getting a lot of inconsistency in the strike, and the release. I started doing it a couple of years ago in the rough, because I felt the technique really got the clubhead out. To me, I can’t drag my hands across, because I’ll shank it if I go cross-handed. It helps me throw the head in, and I feel I have way more control over it. I just got so comfortable with it, and now I really like doing it.”
As to whether Fitzpatrick is bothered about the reaction his sometimes quirky techniques attract, for him, it’s all about the results. Speaking after his second round 70 kept him well in contention in the US Open at The Country Club, Fitzpatrick said: “If it's better and it works and it helps you win, may as well do it. I'd rather win than worry about looking stupid.”
Mike has 25 years of experience in journalism, including writing on sports such as golf, football and cricket. Now a freelance writer for Golf Monthly, he is dedicated to covering the sport’s most newsworthy stories. Originally from East Yorkshire, Mike now resides in Canada, where the nearest course is less than a mile from his home. It’s there where he remains confident that, one of these days, he’ll play the 17th without finding the water. Kevin Cook’s acclaimed 2007 biography, Tommy’s Honour, about golf’s founding father and son, remains one of his all-time favourite sports books.
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