With insight from a loyal hometown fan of Matt Fitzpatrick living in Bermuda we saw a side of Matt Fitzpatrick that gives reason to believe he feels at home in Bermuda.
Beaming with confidence following a win on the European Tour immediately after the Ryder Cup he revealed a target score of 4 under daily as a benchmark. A great indication of how the best players in the world set their sights on winning rather than surviving the cut.
As the #26 ranked player in the world it was refreshing to hear a player speak ever so fondly of his respect for his home course in South Yorkshire, England, Hallamshire Golf Club and learn that he – like many of us in Bermuda – has a special spot in his heart for football, his beloved Sheffield United Football Club.
However, on this occasion, the love for the Sheffield Community overrides the typical local football club rivalries that exist in the UK and especially in his hometown of Sheffield. And also that his formative years grooming at his home course Hallamshire Golf Club in Sheffield is the foundation that helped develop him as an emerging star.
Thanks to Bermuda based Sheffield Wednesday supporter James Needham, we were moved by the admiration and pride that was evidenced as we got a look at Matt Fitzpatrick through the eyes of a true fan from their beloved Sheffield, ironically a Sheffield Wednesday supporter.
Question from Kim Swan:
♦ Thank you and good afternoon, Matt Fitzpatrick. So glad to have you in Bermuda. Have you picked up already that you have a number of fans here in Bermuda. There’s also a Bermuda connection, via Brian Waites formerly from Notts Golf Club (Hollinwell) who was very familiar with Bermuda as I with Hollinwell. Have you picked up that you have a few fans here already?
MATTHEW FITZPATRICK: Yeah, I have, yeah. Everyone’s incredibly friendly and made me feel very welcome, so it’s been great so far.
♦ Do you like it when you get local hometown support as you travel around the world even if it’s a Sheffield Wednesday supporter?
MATTHEW FITZPATRICK: “It’s very nice to have the fans, wherever we are in the world, to have them come out, and particularly to support me individually is, it’s always special, it means a lot. I’m very grateful for all the support. I feel like I am very lucky that I’ve been to a lot of places now and I’ve managed to have a lot of support at each of these spots. It’s always nice to go back to them. I’m looking forward to obviously having some special support this week as well.”
There was a warm calm confidence ever present during the interview and there is no denying that Matt Fitzpatrick appeared very much at home at Port Royal, Bermuda for the 2021 PGA Tour Butterfield Bermuda Championship pre tournament interview.
It well known that there are many football enthusiast in Bermuda and it is no secret that the two professional football teams from Sheffield are renown FA Cup Giant Killers but there is no love lost between United and Sheffield Wednesday fans until Matt’s arrival in Bermuda.
English Football is huge in Bermuda, and many of the same football rivalries exist here in Bermuda as well. Ironically, the unofficial head of Matt Fitzpatrick’s fan club in Bermuda is staunch Sheffield Wednesday supporter James Needham who has granted him amnesty for his loyalty to arch rival Sheffield United during the 2021 Butterfield Bermuda Championship and we are grateful for him sharing his admiration and respect for a hometown hero.
♦ Who were the great influences for you in what I consider that great golfing area out there in Sheffield with your home club (Hallamshire) and Hollinwell and all the others that are not too far away in Yorkshire and the like?
MATTHEW FITZPATRICK: “For me growing up, my dad was obviously a big influence. Both my mum and dad took me everywhere, but my dad helped me with my game, course management and knowledge of how to get around a golf course. Not only that, but I was very lucky that I had Mike Walker and Pete Cowen, both two world-class golf coaches, that live 20 minutes away from where I live, so I would work with them regularly and see them and pick their brains and knowledge. That was definitely a big thing.”
The foundation of a player is most poignant and hearing Matt Fitzpatrick passionately share about the impact of his childhood golf course Hallamshire Golf Club while refreshing, gave us an indication that he feels comfortable here knowing the winds can blow and make this course unpredictable.
♦ Question from Cindy Swan:-
Welcome to Bermuda, Mr Fitzpatrick. We’re happy to have you. We couldn’t help but notice that you’re from Sheffield, near where the famous Notts Golf Club, Hollinwell is located, but we’re told that you grew up playing the famed Harry Colt masterpiece, Hallamshire Golf Club. How did that great golf course help shape your game as a young person into the golfer before us today?
MATTHEW FITZPATRICK: Yeah, the big thing about my home course, Hallamshire, is very windy. It was very tight off the tee, so there’s lots of rough and trees and you had to keep it in the fairway, which made it difficult. So growing up, those were the big things that you had to do. And then the greens are quite small, too, so you have to have a good short game because it’s not easy to hit them.
Yeah, there’s obviously a large mix of things, but the big thing I say when I talk about Hallamshire is it’s always windy and the greens are really small. So it’s difficult to hit them, so you’ve got to have a really good short game. I would say those two things are the things that help me the most I think playing at Hallamshire.
♦ My next question to you today, are you aware that your UK fans call you the baby-faced assassin because of your style of play and boyish looks?
MATTHEW FITZPATRICK: “Yes, I’ve been told that a few times before. It’s pretty amusing to me. It’s a good thing to be known as baby faced, I know that. The assassin thing, strictly golf, of course.”
Indeed we have an unassuming tactician in our midst stalking a second successive victory on the trott at Port Royal Golf Course in Bermuda.
Our correspondent at the PGA Tour Butterfield Bermuda Championship are Former PGA European Tour player Kim Swan from Bermuda and his wife Cindy Swan