Other than that, the pair worked on taking a lot of “set” out of Fitzpatrick’s left wrist, a move that has revolutionized his iron play. His driving meanwhile has retained its consistency and accuracy, even as he has gained yardage through the speed work he has done.
“It has made him a world player and he just proved it,” says Walker. “With Matt’s game is it almost like spinning plates. Last year he played OK, driving it great and putting really well. But his iron play wasn’t very good. Nor was his chipping. This year he’s been a bit more streaky with this putter. He’s had bad weeks and good weeks. But his approach play and chipping are now on a level with the rest of his game. He’s strong through the bag now, after plugging the two gaps in his game.”
Still, another factor in Fitzpatrick’s success is caddie Billy Foster, yet another Yorkshireman. Like his boss, this was Foster’s first major championship victory after a string of near things alongside the likes of Seve Ballesteros, Lee Westwood and Darren Clarke. But his biggest disappointment came alongside Thomas Bjorn in the 2003 Open at Royal St. George’s. Three shots clear with three holes to play, the Dane needed three attempts to escape a greenside bunker at the 16th and contrived to lose by a shot to Ben Curtis.