Matt Fitzpatrick wins the US Open: glory is not for sale | Sports

Golf needed a Sunday like this. Full of passion, suspense and big hits. A handful of stars playing for glory at the US Open. The talk in the game and not in the Saudi league millions. There, in the pure competition, in the sweat of the players and the breath of the fans, is the essence of sport, an elixir that is not for sale for many petrodollars that come out of the pocket.

The poster was perfect for golf. Until the last shot of the last hole the champion was not decided. While discussing the figures that stay and those that go, the glory went to a 27-year-old Englishman from Sheffield who until now had not celebrated any victory on the American circuit. Matt Fitzpatrick conquered his first big as the finishing touch to a fast-paced, tachycardic finale, in which he beat the Americans Scottie Scheffler and Will Zalatoris with a one-shot lead (-6). Jon Rahm dismounted from the firecracker to be 12th with +1 and only nine players fell below par in the field in the aggregate.

The checkbook does not play when so many emotions are mixed. Fitzpatrick, a baby-faced golfer with braces, can tell there was a lot of heart in his win. Nine years ago, in 2013, on this same Country Club course in Brookline (Massachusetts), the Englishman won the US Amateur. He then stayed with a family, the Fultons, with whom he maintained friendship. To the point that it has been his home these days, the same room he returned to this Sunday with another trophy, the first non-American player with that double in the American Open. So it was his brother Alex who played him caddie. This time it was Billy Foster, a veteran who carried Seve’s bag of clubs (for him it was also his first big one) and who ended up kissing the red flag on 18.

It was a beautiful fight. Fitzpatrick tamed the wind and cold that hit Brookline and with birdies in 5 and 8 he made it clear that his legs were not going to shake. Zalatoris, his fellow patroller, had bumped into bogeys on 2 and 3, while a few meters ahead Scheffler had unleashed the hurricane. He kicked like the angels the number one in the world, unstoppable with three birdies in the first four holes to climb in a snap of fingers. Curiously, he let the simplest chances go by, 5 and 8, like the striker who misses some sung goals. On Saturday the leads had melted with a double bogey on hole 11 and three bogeys in 12, 13 and 14. And when that puddle approached the cold golfer reading the Bible, his pulse quickened. Already in 10 he visited a bunker and suffered with the bogeyin the 11 failed a putt single that revived his nightmare and in the 14th he repeated a stumble when he touched the birdie. He had to wait for a miracle, and the putt seven meters from 18 looked the other way.

Facing each other, Zalatoris and Fitzpatrick launched a superb arm wrestling match. As soon as one overtook the other. At 11, par three, birdie of the American and bogey of English. On the 13th, I hit Fitzpatrick from 14 meters. Tied with five holes to go, success was measured in inches. Until on the 15th Zalatoris chained bunker and rough, and his rival fastened two strokes of difference that he managed with the calm of a champion, including a great escape from the bunker in the 18th. Once again Zalatoris was left at the gates of heaven: there are already six positions among the top 10 in a big in nine contested appointments. His last hit, which would have forced the tiebreaker, touched bingo.

A Rahm choked on the first ramps. After a few pairs of book, in the 4 option birdie mocked the emboque. No mess and no streamers until you reach 5, candy for a puncher like the Basque, a short par four that allows one to land. Not this time. Rahm walked away from the green and not only did he blow the bargain but he missed a short putt and charged the bogey. He didn’t hit the 6 from five yards either, and on the next good showcase, the par five 8, he lost focus on the second shot, got tangled up with the rough and added another stone to the backpack. He closed the first nine holes with two more strokes, dismounted from Zalatoris, Fitzpatrick and Scheffler, who alternated their surges. The title folder was closed with bogeys in 11 and 13, two blots with a birdie in between that was a fleeting smile. The new slip on the 16 and a putt salvador in the 18th placed him in the 12th position (four up on the day, +1 in the total), on the verge of collecting his tenth top ten the greats in 23 participations. “It hurts with how well I’ve played this week. I have found myself comfortable with no part of the game”, summed up the Basque.

The war drums don’t turn down. The Saudi league prepares the counterattack and he wants to announce this Monday the new stickers that he will paste on his album. Another illustrious signing may be falling. The Rebels have barely shined at this US Open (Dustin Johnson finished +4 and Sergio Garcia and Phil Mickelson missed the cut), but theirs is another matter. In Brookline they played something else. They fought for a glory that cannot be bought.

US Open qualifying.

The biggest prize of the Grand Slam

The mountain of gold that LIV Golf Investments has put on the table to create the Saudi league has blown the board up. They are 255 million dollars (243 euros) to be distributed among eight tournaments. The check has provoked some reactions in world golf leaders. For example, this US Open raised the purse to 3.15 million dollars (2.9) for the winner, which is the highest individual prize in the history of the Grand Slam. This is a significant increase from the 2.2 million (2) in the previous edition.
Closed the third major of the course, the war for power returns to the stage. From June 30 to July 2, Portland will host the second Saudi stop, which will coincide with a tournament on the American circuit, the John Deere Classic.
And on the horizon, the last big one of the year, a very special one. The British Open celebrates its 150th edition from July 14 to 17, and the Scottish cradle of Saint Andrews is decked out. Tiger Woods wants to compete there, absent this week due to his physical problems.

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