Ryder Cup 2021: Matt Fitzpatrick leaves 'Hazeltine hell' in the past

Matt Fitzpatrick endured ‘Hazeltine hell’ on his Ryder Cup debut but the Englishman believes he’s ready to deliver for Europe at the second time of asking.

Matt Fitzpatrick gets a playful hug from Bernd Wiesberger as Ian Poulter looks on during a practice round prior to the 43rd Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits in Kohler, Wisconsin. Picture: Richard Heathcote/Getty Images.

Despite being one of the automatic qualifiers for Darren Clarke’s side for the Minnesota match in 2016, Fitzpatrick only played two games over the three days.

He didn’t play at all on the opening day then lost alongside Henrik Stenson in the morning foursomes on day two before being dropped again then losing 4&3 to Zach Johnson in the singles.

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“I tried to forget Hazeltine pretty quickly,” he admitted of that experience, but the Yorkshireman is feeling confident about what he can contribute for Padraig Harrington on this occasion

“Yeah, definitely,” replied Fitzpatrick to being asked if he felt more comfortable heading into this week’s appearance. “I think a few things, my game, I didn't feel like was as good as it is now, then.

“I also think just knowing the guys in the European team better. I had only had my card in 2015 and 2016, so I only got to spend a little bit of time with the guys on the team and other players during regular weeks on Tour.

“This is my eighth year on Tour, so I know everyone really well now. I think that makes a big difference, being able to feel comfortable, just talking about anything with them, really.”

While feeling that Hazeltine didn’t suit him “one bit”, he reckons that it didn’t help that he wasn’t involved in a fourball match over the opening two days.

“I would have liked to have played a four-ball match before my singles just to play my own ball, to see what it is like in competition.

“I played one foursomes on the Saturday morning. It's like the equivalent of playing nine holes, really, and there's no flow or rhythm to it, so you never really get what it's like.

“That was the big thing I took away was that I made sure that if I ever played again I’d speak to the captain and say I feel like it would benefit me to play a four-ball to have that experience of what it's going to be like Sunday with the crowds and the pressure.”

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