After winning last year’s US Open in Brookline, Matt Fitzpatrick may have been seen as a contender at the Masters this week, but the Englishman’s hopes are dwindling after an injury earlier in the year .
Fitzpatrick said he suffered a neck injury before January’s Pebble Beach Pro-Am and then shoulder and chest pain at the PGA Genesis Invitational at Riviera led him to performed an examination that revealed a “slight disk bulge.”
The Yorkshireman admits he underestimated the seriousness of the injury and as he tries to regain his strength and fitness, his results have suddenly taken a hit. e.
“That’s when I was put right behind the 8-ball. All of a sudden, the work I did in the off-season just paid off,” Fitzpatrick said.
“I wasn’t moving as well as I needed to, swinging as well as I needed to, and it was just a combination of mistakes, really, because I bite my neck, so I can’t swing. then change my swing, it’s a reward.”
Fitzpatrick missed the cut at the Players Championship and the Valspar Championship last month.
“It’s tough, I’ve never had an injury like this,” he said. “Usually if my neck is swollen, it takes two or three days and I’m back to normal, the truth is that this has been quite a while.
“Obviously, I’m feeling good right now and I’m here.
“Now we’re back to the bottom but we’re just slowly trying to recover. It’s going to be slow, but it’s going to take time.”
Not surprisingly, the 28-year-old is keeping his sights set on the Masters.
“Making a cut is a good start,” Fitzpatrick said. “But I think that’s something I’ve done a little bit of work on myself to try to say, ‘Well, this is the start of the season, this is where I’m at in my game.’ Your expectations should match that.
“My expectations in the past years, throughout my career, were very high, I felt that the work I put into my game, this is what I want.
“I definitely feel better physically. I’m definitely better mentally. I feel like my game is slowly getting there, but at the same time I’m at the beginning of the restoration of strength and improvement.
“I think it’s kind of just trying to keep my expectations at the right level to match where I am now and my game.”