U.S. Open: Fitzpatrick 'can retire a happy man' after maiden major win in Brookline

By Sports Desk June 20, 2022

Matt Fitzpatrick declared he can "retire a happy man" after taking victory in the U.S. Open to clinch a first career major.

The Englishman came in one stroke ahead of Scottie Scheffler and Will Zalatoris, finishing 68 and six under par to secure success on Sunday.

Victory at the U.S. Open signified his second career win at The Country Club in Brookline, having lifted the U.S. Amateur trophy there in 2013 by edging out Australian Oliver Goss.

It also brought an end to the 27-year-old's wait for a first major and, while there's still plenty to play for in his career, Fitzpatrick has declared he can now retire happily.

"The feeling is out of this world. It is so cliche, but it's stuff you dream of as a kid. To achieve it, I can retire a happy man tomorrow," he told reporters.

"I think there were expectations, but I didn't feel them, in my opinion. The field's such a strong field, so many great golfers playing.

"But I think for me, the expectations were for me to play well, but I feel like having won the U.S. Amateur here as well, I just felt so comfortable around this place. Know where to hit it; know where to miss it."

While he could relax after his win, Fitzpatrick outlined his intention to secure six honours in his career in order to attain legendary status in golf.

"Six is the number. That's the number that we all agreed on. I've got a bit of a way to go, but it's a good start," he added.

Fitzpatrick will now turn his attention towards The Open Championship at St. Andrews, a course he loves to play on, though he looks forward to a well-deserved break first.

"It will be great. I love playing St. Andrews. It's a great golf course," he said of the final major of the year.

"It's going to be interesting, obviously, with the length and everything. And now I'm a bomber, I'll probably be driving most of the greens.

"I'm looking forward to it. I've got two weeks off now, which I couldn't be happier about. I'll get my head around a few things, and then I guess we'll go to St. Andrews."

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    Xander Schauffele believes Rory McIlroy is under tougher scrutiny when he loses and empathises with his need to take time off from the sport.

    McIlroy came within touching distance of winning the US Open on Sunday but disappointingly fell short as Bryson DeChambeau claimed the title by a single shot in North Carolina.

    The Northern Irishman bogeyed three of the last four holes in the last round at Pinehurst, including a woeful miss from a short putting distance on the 18th allowing DeChambeau to take the win.

    McIlroy, a four-time major winner, has not won one of golf's top events since 2014 at the PGA Championship and announced on Sunday in a post on social media that he would be taking a few weeks away from the game following the event.

    Schauffele, who was grouped with McIlroy and Scottie Scheffler for the US Open, understands why the 35-year-old has chosen to take a break.

    "As a competitor, all of us have had our highs and lows to a certain degree. It's a tough spot.

    "I'm sure him and his team are discussing what happened, and sometimes you just need to step away from it all and really try and be as objective as possible, because you're very much in the moment there and it obviously didn't go his way.

    "He needs some time away to figure out what's going on."

    The American won his first major in May, beating DeChambeau to the PGA Championship title at Valhalla, finally ending his reputation for struggling to close on final-round leads.

    "It's different for everyone. It's hard for me to compare my losses to his losses," Schauffele added. "I would say his, he's under a bit more of a microscope.

    "When things are going really well, people are all over him, and unfortunately, when things don't go your way, people are all over him.

    "So, there's a microscope on him on why he didn't win and things of that nature, and he's going to have to answer those questions at some point, and he will, because he always does.

    "I wear them pretty hard, but sometimes it's nice to just get back on the horse and compete."

    McIlroy will return in time for The Open Championship in July, where he will look to end his decade-long major drought.

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    Rory McIlroy intends to take a break from golf after his US Open collapse as the Northern Irishman bemoaned the toughest day of his career following further major disappointment at Pinehurst.

    The four-time major champion has not triumphed in one of golf's top events since 2014 at the PGA Championship.

    McIlroy came within touching distance of ending that decade-long wait on Sunday but fell short in disappointing circumstances as Bryson DeChambeau claimed the US Open title by a shot in North Carolina.

    The 35-year-old McIlroy managed to bogey three of his final four holes in the last round at Pinehurst's No.2 course, including a woeful miss from a short putting distance on the 18th.

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    "Firstly, I'd like to congratulate Bryson. He is a worthy champion and exactly what professional golf needs right now. I think we can all agree on that.

    "As I reflect on my week, I'll rue a few things over the course of the tournament, mostly the two missed putts on 16 and 18 on the final day.

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    "The one word that I would describe my career as is resilient. I've shown my resilience over and over again in the last 17 years and I will again."

    McIlroy was expected to play in this week's Travelers Championship in Connecticut.

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    "I'm going to take a few weeks away from the game to process everything and build myself back up for my defence of the Genesis Scottish Open and The Open at Royal Troon," he concluded.

    The Scottish Open does not start until July 11, leaving McIlroy with almost a month to recover from this setback.

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