Perfect Fitz

DP World Tour player Chris Paisley updates us on his own game, and offers his take on Matt Fitzpatrick’s sensational US Open victory

I am going to dedicate much of this column to talking about Matt Fitzpatrick’s win at the US Open, but I do have some news on my own golf first. I’ve decided to start working with my long-time coach Andrew Nicholson again. I had a year off from working with Andrew and, long story short, it has not gone well! So, I’m excited to be back with him and after five minutes of our first session, I knew I had done the right thing. I’m confident he will get me back on track shortly. 

With that out the way, what a win for Fitzy! I have long been an admirer of his. Having thought about it, I am not sure there is anyone in the game that works at their craft more diligently than Matt. He has been a good player for a long time and seems to have been getting better and better over the years, culminating in a major win for someone who few people would have picked a few years ago. 

I am fortunate to work with Edoardo Molinari on my stats, which Matt does too, so I have got a bit of insight into how he goes about things. 

What essentially won Matt the US Open was the gains he has made off the tee. He was always a very straight hitter, but not the longest. His ball speed was always around 165mph, so not short but certainly not long either. After identifying this as an area of improvement, Matt is now at 175mph-plus. Anyone who has tried to gain speed will know how impressive that is. What is even more impressive is that Matt didn’t add a single yard of dispersion (left or right) and gained around 30 yards of distance. Edoardo told me he has never seen anyone gain distance and maintain their dispersion pattern. Matt is now in the top-10 in driving on the PGA Tour, which is allowing the rest of him game to take advantage of holes that it couldn’t before. 

Getting better at golf is tough. When you make an effort to improve one aspect, there are risks involved. Are you going about it in the right way? Could it effect another aspect of the game negatively? Edoardo told me that whenever he identifies an area for Matt to improve, it gets better in three months… every single time. It sounds simple and easy, but it really isn’t! That ability is why Matt is now genuinely one of the best players in the world and he epitomises the phrase “1% better every day”. He has earned his success and I am delighted for him.