Matt Fitzpatrick: Partnering brother Alex in New Orleans was a no-brainer

Matt Fitzpatrick: Partnering brother Alex in New Orleans was a no-brainer

Matt Fitzpatrick believes it was a “no-brainer” to use one of the perks of being a major champion to partner his brother Alex in the Zurich Classic in New Orleans.

Ten years after Alex caddied for his older brother as he won the US Amateur title at Brookline, the siblings will contest the PGA Tour’s two-man team event at TPC Louisiana.

The tournament offers a first prize of £1million to both members of the winning team and, crucially for Challenge Tour player Alex, a two-year exemption on the PGA Tour.

“I think winning the US Open you get a few extra perks, people kind of want to help you out and want you to come play the tournament,” said Matt, who defeated Jordan Spieth in a play-off to win the RBC Heritage on Sunday.

Matt Fitzpatrick
Matt Fitzpatrick holds the championship trophy after winning the RBC Heritage (Stephen B. Morton/AP)

“Obviously this was an opportunity to play with my brother and you don’t know how many of those you’re going to get. I’m going to have to admit it now in front of everyone, but it was a no-brainer for me.

“It was always one I was looking to try and play.”

Asked if he would feel any additional pressure to help his brother claim a potentially career-changing victory, the world number eight said: “No, I wouldn’t say so.

“I want him to enjoy it. I think it’s a great experience for him. It’s a great experience for us, for my parents.

“I already knew I was going to have two great weeks at Augusta and Harbour Town, two of my favourite weeks of the year, and then obviously this as an additional just makes it even better.

Alex Fitzpatrick
Matt Fitzpatrick (right black cap) watches his younger brother Alex during day one of the 2019 Walker Cup at Royal Liverpool (Peter Byrne/PA)

“I’m just excited to get going. I know the golf that Alex can play is high level, and I think if I can keep my form going and we can gel well, you never know what might happen.

“It’s crazy really to think that it’s 10 years this year (since the US Amateur). Obviously a lot has changed in that time. My golf has improved considerably since then.

“But I think in terms of Alex, I have to give him a ton of credit. Normally the younger brother or brother of a player, it’s not always easy for them to have success or play well or be up there or make it, whereas Alex came out last year and finished top 25 in the majority of his European Tour starts, got a Challenge Tour card.

“He’s played well already this year in the Challenge Tour events that he’s played.

“I’m really proud of where his game is at and how much he’s improved. I do believe that he’s got a lot of talent, and hopefully soon he’ll start showing that.

“Alex is a very good iron player and he’s got a great short game, and I feel like my strengths are driving and putting.

“I think he’s very good at making a lot of birdies. If I can kind of just steady the ship, I’ll just let him loose at trying to make some birdies really.”

A total of 80 teams will compete in fourballs on Thursday and Saturday, with Friday’s and Sunday’s rounds played in foursomes.