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England’s Matt Fitzpatrick mastered the chopping technique with hands

Matt Fitzpatrick will hit his wedge after missing out on the green, rehearsing some training flips and pausing the predictable hums, murmurs, and chirps of the crowd that will inevitably begin spreading through the show’s ropes. He and pack veteran Billy Foster will look at each other and laugh. They have come to expect some real gems.

“I find it funny,” Fitzgerald said of the reaction he gets as he prepares to throw or cross-display. “I will hear in the crowd, ‘Oh, my God!’ what’s he doing?’ Really, it’s funny. But it worked well for me. The slicing stats are 100 percent better this year than last year. It’s a good start.”

It’s not as if Fitzpatrick, 27, a player with seven wins in Europe and 23rd in the world golf rankings before entering the RBC Heritage site this week, was a great player when he used a traditional style. He simply thought he could be better and saved a few hits. and has. Fitzpatrick has used the cross-cutting drill for a number of years, and has always liked how his shot was so consistent when he did it. So why not put this technique into practice during the tournament rounds? According to Foster, it’s been cracking mostly crosswise for a year or so.

“People think he might have the hops or something,” Foster, who held the case for World Golf Hall of Fame cef Ballesteros, said during the last Florida Swing game. “He doesn’t. He flakes brilliantly.”

Foster said Fitzpatrick tended to “cut” the ball only a little when conventional (his way through the ball coming inside). So far in 2021-22, Fitzpatrick’s play about the Greens has been a real asset. He missed 14 greens in his first three rounds at Valspar, and went up and down 12 times, finishing second in the scramble (finished week six). Fitzpatrick tied for third in a scramble at the Masters last week.

Overall in 2021-22, he placed 15th in strokes earned: around the green and 3rd in the scramble, lifting his ball up and down 68.93% of the time. Two years ago, by comparison, he ranked 138 in strokes earned: around the green and 99 in scrambling (58.79%).

Playmates might do a double take the first time they see Fitzpatrick going to work around the Greens, but they shouldn’t underestimate him. In a group playoff against Scotty Scheffler at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play last month, Fitzpatrick had a slide from around the world to prepare Byrdie on the fifth playoff hole, nesting a slick test on the slopes (with a tree close to him) to a foot. Scheffler won the playoff on the next hole, on his way to winning the championship, and is the most exciting golfer in golf. Fitzpatrick has been going strong lately too.

With the exception of THE PLAYERS Championship – where Fitzpatrick was on the wrong side of the tie in horrific circumstances and shot a hard-earned pair of 74s – his other five-game start in 2022 resulted in a T14 finish or better. (T14 was at the Masters last week.) He tied for fifth at Valspar, tied for sixth at AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am and tied for ninth at the Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by Mastercard. Last fall on the DP World Tour, Fitzpatrick also won the Estrella Damm NA Andalucía Masters and was the runner-up at the DP World Tour in Dubai.

He enjoys the challenge of Harbor Town Golf Links, where the green space is very small and a short game can be pivotal to the competition. A year ago, Fitzpatrick tied for fourth place in the RBC Heritage. Why has his short game gone up in quality with his unconventional style?

“I’ve found it more consistent,” Fitzpatrick said. “The ball comes out of the face more uniformly. It’s the same every time. You know what’s coming. When I was slicing normally, it wasn’t like I was eating potatoes. I was getting a lot of inconsistency in the strike and release. I started In doing it two years ago in harsh conditions, because I felt that technology really made (the club) move forward.

“For me, I can’t pull my hand, because I’m going to hit it if I walk. It helps me throw my head off, and I feel like I have more control over it….I felt comfortable with that, and now I really like doing it.”

Fitzpatrick still uses a traditional fist when in dugouts. (He said, “Bugs are not a problem.”) He generally uses his crosshairs from 30 yards and inside. On some shots — say, a failed shot, or a shot where he needs to make a high spin, like the pitch he faced to a forward hole position from behind the left pool at Augusta National 11 hole last week — he’ll still use the traditional grip.

Fitzpatrick certainly isn’t the first player to mess around. Tour winners Vijay Singh and Chris Koch smash and even hit the vault this way, and Korn Ferry Tour player Josh Broadway game Cross from tee to green. Golf is an imitation sport. Could Fitzpatrick, given his newfound slicing prowess, start a new slicing trend with his criss-cross style?

“Oh, I don’t know about that,” he said with a laugh. “I am happy with the start of the year; I have been playing really well. I think the changes I made in the off-season have been positive. I think it is a matter of time before I put everything together and hopefully I can get some (wins).”

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