Matt Fitzpatrick manages Masters expectations after injury-plagued season

Fitzpatrick started 2023 with a tie for seventh place in the Sentry Tournament of Champions, but then suffered a neck injury before his next event on the PGA Tour.

The 28-year-old duly missed the cut at Pebble Beach and also had early exits from his two most recent stroke play events before failing to advance to the knockout stages of the WGC-Dell Technologies Championship.

“A cut would probably be a good place to start,” Fitzpatrick joked when asked what his expectations were for Augusta National.

“That’s something I’ve been working on myself a bit to try to say, well, it’s early in the season. Here I am with my game. My expectations have to match.

“My expectations over the past few years throughout my career have been very high. Given the work I put into my game, I felt like I wanted to be there.

“Physically, I’m definitely feeling better. I definitely feel better mentally. I feel like my game is slowly getting there, but at the same time I’m effectively still in a rebuilding phase where I’m getting stronger and swinging it better.

“I think it’s kind of trying to keep my expectations at the right level to keep up with my game where I’m at right now.”

Fitzpatrick admits the timing of the injury was extremely frustrating as he tried to build on his landmark big win at Brookline last year, scene of his US amateur win nine years earlier.

And the world number 15. also revealed that becoming a major champion was no longer so easy for him from his sponsors.

“Obviously it changed my life massively,” he said.

“My time is now being taken up more, both by the media – this is my first press conference at the Masters apart from my time as an amateur – and then by sponsors. You want to use the time.

“Before the US Open I had a lot of great sponsors and they had time with me in their contract that they could use and I never did. They kind of didn’t want to follow it up, which was great for me at the time.

“Now I understand it completely and it is not a problem at all. I’m just trying to manage my time as best I can and that was kind of the biggest change.” Matt Fitzpatrick manages Masters expectations after injury-plagued season

Russell Falcon

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