Ryder Cup talk fails to distract rising star Fitzpatrick

New British Masters champion Matt Fitzpatrick could push into Darren Clarke's team.
New British Masters champion Matt Fitzpatrick could push into Darren Clarke's team.
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NEW British Masters champion Matt Fitzpatrick returned to action this morning in the company of American Ryder Cup player Patrick Reed in the first round of the UBS Hong Kong Open.

It appears more feasible than fanciful that the pair could tread the fairways in opposition in next year’s staging of the biennial event between Europe and the USA.

Sheffield golfer Fitzpatrick is embracing talk of him possibly making Darren Clarke’s team at Hazeltine in Minesota rather than viewing it as an unnecessary burden draped around his shoulders by media speculation.

“I expect I will get that (talk of possible qualification) from now until the Ryder Cup, but it is a nice goal to have,” said the Yorkshireman.

“But it is not my main focus; my main focus is trying to get into the world’s top 50 (he is 61st) and get to the majors and the World Golf Championship events and stuff like that.

“If I can keep climbing the world rankings, as long as I do that I know I will be in a good position. If I play the best I can, and win again, it (possible Ryder Cup qualification) will all come with it.

“It is not like I’m desperate to do this or desperate to do that. I would love to do it, but I’m just more worried about playing well.”

Fitzpatrick has already shown himself to be a fine exponent of match-play golf, having lifted the US Amateur title in 2013 before winning three out of a possible four points in the Walker Cup that year.

“I love match-play and it is sad that we don’t get to play more,” he said. “The Paul Lawrie match-play tournament this year was great. I really enjoyed playing that and if the schedule is right I would love to play it again next year.

“There might be a few more match-play events come along over the next couple years, which would be cool.

“Hopefully, I can get a place in the EurAsia Cup team next year at the start of the year, so that would be a great experience for me as well.”

Clarke will also captain Europe against Asia in Kula Lumpur, Malaysia, in the middle of January.

The first contest was played in March 2014 at the same venue and resulted in a 10–10 tie.